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Retailers: not as desperate as you think
Old 07-05-2009, 10:05 PM   #1
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Retailers: not as desperate as you think

I saw an ad in the paper this morning for a flat screen TV that I had been wanting to buy at Fry's. On sale for $1500 - a very good price (I know, $1500 is more than I wanted to spend, but this model had everything we wanted). So I go down to the store and the display is tagged $1750. I say to the sales clerk - I'm interested in this TV you had advertised for $1500. He says, no, that price was yesterday. I'm confused, so he shows me the advertisement - I was looking at the July 4 flyer on July 5 (I read the paper a day late). Then I ask him if he'll honor yesterday's price. His response: oh no, we could never do that! So we walk out. No effort made by the salesman to begin to work out a deal.

I guess there's enough people willing to spend $1750 on a TV that they can dismiss customers with cash in hand. Our current TV works fine, so I'm content to wait until the thing is down to $999 if that's what it takes to get a deal.
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:14 PM   #2
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I saw an ad in the paper this morning for a flat screen TV that I had been wanting to buy at Fry's. On sale for $1500 - a very good price (I know, $1500 is more than I wanted to spend, but this model had everything we wanted). So I go down to the store and the display is tagged $1750. I say to the sales clerk - I'm interested in this TV you had advertised for $1500. He says, no, that price was yesterday. I'm confused, so he shows me the advertisement - I was looking at the July 4 flyer on July 5 (I read the paper a day late). Then I ask him if he'll honor yesterday's price. His response: oh no, we could never do that! So we walk out. No effort made by the salesman to begin to work out a deal.

I guess there's enough people willing to spend $1750 on a TV that they can dismiss customers with cash in hand. Our current TV works fine, so I'm content to wait until the thing is down to $999 if that's what it takes to get a deal.
Despite all the reports of unemployment, most people have NOT lost their jobs. Most people who still have their jobs shouldn't even realize there's a recession. So, yes, there are a lot of people with money to burn. I won't spend $1750 on a TV but I could and I make less than most people.
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:28 AM   #3
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It will go on sale again sooner or later, I know I'd wait no matter how long it takes. May be another store, but who cares?
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:35 AM   #4
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If retailers are desperate, I don't see it either. Bargains? What bargains? Sale prices here don't seem any lower than normal sale prices.

Sometimes I wonder if the recession isn't just being used by some retailers as an excuse to trim the fat and close unprofitable locations that they wanted to close anyway. Guess I am becoming a budding curmudgeoness with an attitude like that.

In New Orleans, we have always been able to bargain at retailers, even at many of the chain stores. In a case like you mention, it might have helped to talk to his manager or boss. Or, maybe not. But that is what I usually do.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:27 AM   #5
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Wait until the holidays, they seem to run a lot of sales on electronics around then. Also - I bought my 46 inch flat screen from Amazon last December. Their price was the best I found and they threw in free delivery. I was a little hesitant to buy a TV online but their delivery service was great, they brought it inside, took it out of the box, plugged it in and made sure it was working, and then removed all the packing material with them. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:32 AM   #6
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Boy does this sound familiar! We've been in the market for a new desktop computer system, a big LCD flat screen and new leather chairs for the living room. Purchased everything but the TV and found that you can't negotiate price with anyone. Maybe this would work at a small locally owned business but not at the big chains like Best Buy, Kanes, Haverty's, Costco, etc. I guess they are not hurting as badly as we thought. The stores are packed. Went to the local mall Saturday and you could hardly find a parking space. Maybe it was all the old people getting in their daily walk in the A/C. Saw a lot of them.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:37 AM   #7
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Part of the problem is that retailers are pinched, but like many of us are feeling, costs are still rising. That may put a limit on how much some of them can deal. That probably isn't true for all of them, but I'd bet the "lower end" retailers with smaller margins are feeling pinched by many of the same expenses that are rising for us (utilities, taxes, insurance, et cetera), and have relatively little wiggle room on pricing.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:46 AM   #8
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Another thought -- If you shop at a publicly-traded retailer, they may have pressure from Corporate to move product to hit their numbers before the end of a quarter to satisfy Wall Street. You may be able to drive a harder bargain in the last week of a quarter in those cases.
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:00 AM   #9
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That probably isn't true for all of them, but I'd bet the "lower end" retailers with smaller margins are feeling pinched by many of the same expenses that are rising for us (utilities, taxes, insurance, et cetera), and have relatively little wiggle room on pricing.
And, I'll bet folks who would have previously shopped at a higher-end store are now going to the small-margin places. If so, the tight-margin places have more buyers and don't see a need to deal.

I am seeing favorable financing deals from the mid-range stores. Apparently, the appeal of "enjoying it now, pay later" stil sells things.

In my experience, the salesperson in a big chain store seldom has freedom to bargain on price--that has to be done with the manager, and even there the pickings are slim. It is sometimes easier to get something else thrown in (free delivery, maybe some cables or other accessories, favorable financing, etc) than to get a concession on "the number."
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:56 AM   #10
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It also usually depends to whom you are speaking. The first level guy you talk to ususally has a "script" that they are not allowed to deviate from. Not that they do not want to help you, or are being difficult. This is what their management has told them to do. Remember they are trained specifically, "not to think", just to do. You can usually get a better deal when you are in a smaller privately owned place. I love dealing with small businesses whenever possible. When you are closer to dealing with the actual owners of a place, they are usually willing to give you a better deal because they WANT your business. Sadly a lot of the time I have run into sales people that really did not get the concept of if the store you work for is not making sales, then your job might be in danger.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:05 AM   #11
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Maybe take the ad to another retailer and ask if they will match the $1500 price on the same TV. I don't know what size TV you were looking at but you can get a 32" at Costco for around $500. The prices have really come down and they will again before Christmas. I plan to buy one for my bedroom in early December.
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:15 PM   #12
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Maybe this would work at a small locally owned business but not at the big chains like Best Buy, Kanes, Haverty's, Costco, etc. I guess they are not hurting as badly as we thought. The stores are packed.
I would think Best Buy might be a special case in that Circuit City folded. So I've just taken most of my electronics business online, not hard to beat Best Buy that way. From what I've read, the big ticket (cars, houses, boats, RV's etc.) and luxury items are not selling, many stores at lower price are doing OK.
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:53 PM   #13
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I thought about asking for the manager, but why should a customer have to beg a store to take his money for a luxury good?
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:16 PM   #14
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I thought about asking for the manager, but why should a customer have to beg a store to take his money for a luxury good?
That's not begging. That's asking for someone with the authority to give you what you want. Negotiation 101....
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Old 07-07-2009, 04:19 AM   #15
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That's not begging. That's asking for someone with the authority to give you what you want. Negotiation 101....
Certainly doesn't work all the time, but I have gotten discounts at stores that you'd never think would negotiate at all. As my Father always told me, 'it never hurts to ask, the worst thing they can do is say no...'
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:26 AM   #16
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Certainly doesn't work all the time, but I have gotten discounts at stores that you'd never think would negotiate at all. As my Father always told me, 'it never hurts to ask, the worst thing they can do is say no...'
Some people are better at that than others. I can't stand to haggle over price. I'd rather go to the dentist.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:28 AM   #17
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Some people are better at that than others. I can't stand to haggle over price. I'd rather go to the dentist.
I'll make you a deal - I'll negotiate for you if you'll get my root canals.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:43 AM   #18
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Some people are better at that than others. I can't stand to haggle over price. I'd rather go to the dentist.
Absolutely. I'd rather do without than go to the store and haggle.
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Old 07-07-2009, 08:45 AM   #19
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I ALWAYS ask for a discount, even at Walmart. I usually get more off, particularly on demo models or stuff not in a box.

I have my eye on a 52 inch LCD, probably Samsung. DW won't even come near the store when I am negotiating, she says I embarass her. Once I went with her to a women's clothing store (I know, weak moment), and got her another 25% off. She was not amused.........
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:54 AM   #20
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Some people are better at that than others. I can't stand to haggle over price. I'd rather go to the dentist.
Then don't go to my dentists--they are open to negotation re root canal price--torture all around for Ziggy!
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