Talking salespeople down in price


Senior Member
I don't care for it, but I do it because, well, I need the money. I try to maintain some respect (for myself and the other party) by simply making one fair offer and very politely saying something like, 'This is the best I can do. If you can't do the deal, I understand.' Sometimes I'll accept a counteroffer, but usually, I try to stick to a price I had in mind, or walk away. Sure, I walk away a lot, but I never get ripped off (at least from what I think something is worth). I think a lot of people who think they are great negotiators are fooling themselves. They're confusing closing deals (which they always do at some price), with getting good value.
I don't think I'm a 'great negotiator' (I don't really have any idea about how to 'talk people down' other than my one offer), but I either get a fair deal or no deal. This system works great if you have a lot of patience. Another deal will come another day. I'm very happy with some of the deals I've walked away from.


Pioneer Member
Ya - when it comes to used stuff and there's a 'best offer' or something similar, it says to me they want to play the game, so I'll go along with it a bit.
I always have a highest amount I'm willing to go, as they have their lowest amount they're willing to take. Sometimes the two match up.

Speaking of Best Buy - ha ha, don't remind me.
I was in there constantly scoping stuff out when they were dropping the musical instrument department.
Picked up some pretty sweet deals.
I would rather have them still around though. The store here had a pretty decent selection of stuff if you needed any incidentals in a hurry.
Oh yea, got huge deals around here when BB music tanked. DW double pedal for 75 bucks. Booya


Platinum Member
Having spent many years working behind the drum counter, I could go on all day.

I never quite got why people would never haggle at the grocery store, but for some reason, it's open season at the music store.

In on thread, people will say they want the best price, but in another thread people complain about the lack of customer service or knowledge of the guy behind the counter. And it goes hand in hand.

I get if it's a big purchase, I get you want to be armed with knowledge and not get ripped off. But in my experience, some people just liked to talk the music store guy down just for the sake of talking him down. It had nothing to do with saving money, or can't afford it, it was simply for the sport of it.

As I've told the story before, my last straw was some guy beating me up over the price on a $20 tambourine. At a certain point, it's just became no longer worth my time to spend hours haggling over such trivial amounts.

So go ahead, and have the guy who doesn't know a Remo head from an Evans head serving you next time, because the guy who could have explained the sonic difference between every shell and cymbal and head in the store left to do something better with his life.

And of course, most of those stores are now out of business, because it was no longer worth the shop owners time either.


Silver Member
Have some unknown almighty authority declare that "Our prices are not negotiable". A classy gold plated sign on the wall is sufficient. 90% of the buyers won't ask the question if they see the answer in front of them. And for the other 10%, just point at the sign and tell them "I might get fired...".


Silver Member
I am a Dane that have lived the last almost 20 years in Asia. I dislike haggling, its not in my culture as Larry have also said.
In Asia bargaining is the norm, so I have my maid or driver doing the shopping.

When I worked in India, I tried on a couple of occations to compete with my driver, who could buy the highest qty of bananas for 10 rupees. I never won and the difference was shocking. My driver used to tell me I have to pay for my white skin -)

At work I head a large organization. For purchases with local companies I let the local employees do the dealing and wheeling. I would get flogged if I even tried.
If its a multinational, I might get involved.

Most of us earns money the hard way and there is no harm at asking 'what is your best price?' when we buy drums.


Platinum Member
I dont haggle in owner occupier shops, as long as the price is ok, these people dont make a lot of money. I always haggle with chain stores as they have the muscle to get stuff cheaper from the manufacturers so they are making a bigger profit anyway.

Anyway, I am English and it is unseemly and grubby to haggle, and not something a gentleman will do willingly.

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I feel for the local mom and pop music shops. They are struggling for survival against the big stores and online music companies. I like their service and having them local when I need them. So I buy from them if possible, and pay more sometimes. I won't pay more to buy from the big companies though.


Gold Member
The "worth" of anything is purely subjective. Even on Craigslist I wont haggle. If the price listed is what I am willing to pay, then I will pay it. If its too expensive I wont bother to call. I dont have the time to meet somebody and try and talk them down in price. If I am selling something I will usually tell the person that I am not negotiating. If I spend my gas and time to meet somebody I am not going to waste more time haggeling. I price my stuff at the price I want, not at a higher price hoping to get less. Seems like a pretty easy way to do business to me.

Starship Krupa

Senior Member
If I see in the Craig's List ad "FIRM," then I won't bother them.

If the price is smokin' I won't bother to counter; they asked a low enough price and that's what they'll get from me. I don't want another shopper to swoop on it.

If the price is in the haggle zone, or at a store that I know will deal sometimes, or if I'm not sure, I just ask the person in a friendly voice "is there any wiggle in that?" or "can I get a deal if I buy multiple items?" Either they'll say "no" or "well, what did you have in mind?" and we're either off and running or not. I leave it up to the seller whether they want to work something out, and they can leave it up to me whether I want to pay the asking price.

When putting things on Craig's List, I think of what I would consider a fair price for the item and then add 10% or so. That will allow someone who doesn't really care much about the exact price to just buy it for a decent amount, or if someone likes to bargain, I can let it go for just a little less. Either way, it's still a good deal for all involved.

I try never to offend, and never to take it personally. If I make a fair offer that's not accepted, well, there are other Acrolites out there, and I just nod and politely thank the person and move on. I'm not going to be the one to educate them about how one in that condition is not worth the $225 they are asking; they will find out soon enough. One thing I might do is leave my number in case they change their mind.

When I make an offer that is accepted, I try to express positivity to the person, gratitude for giving me a good deal. It's just nice. And more than once, after expressing friendliness, I have had people dig up other stuff that they wanted to unload and cut me even better deals on that. It's the idea of catching more flies with honey than vinegar. The long game.

Intimidation and anger might get a person one improved deal, but it's more work.

The whole getting offended (or feigning getting offended), all that, it's just not worth it. I don't mean to insult someone by offering them a lesser amount of money, and they should not take it as such, and I believe that they are not insulting me by standing fast either. If anyone tried to pull that with me while I was trying to sell or buy something, I'd just shut it down, because I don't want to do business with people like that.

I'm always ready to walk. There are few goods and services that can't be provided by someone else, and for those, well, if I were the seller I wouldn't bargain either!

ron s

Senior Member
I work as a salesperson for a distributor. We have a lot of competition, and we sell a lot of national brands that the other companies have as well.
I deal with price issues every day. I'm usually not insulted if someone asks for a better price if he has to work closely on his end, but sometimes it ticks me off that the guy is asking me for a 5% discount on something he is going to double the cost on when he sells it. I try to provide advice and service so that my customer profits by doing business with me.

craigslist, ebay , etc, you don't have that repeat business relationship, so why not haggle.

In Larry's case, I might pay more if I was convinced that he did a better installation, and/or used better materials.

Since I discovered a local shop here in RI where they work on drums, refurbish vintage gear, and also sell new and used drums, I go there for everything. If he might be a bit higher on some small stuff, it is worth it to look around at all the interesting drums that you won't see at the big box music stores.
When my snare cord broke, he fixed it free of charge and gave me a spare piece so I would be able to fix it myself if it happened again. It cost him little to do that, but stuff like that builds a relationship. I might ask if he could do a bit better on a piece of used gear, but I would not be upset if he said he couldn't.


"Uncle Larry"
Lol, thanks for that wombat. Waste of my time haggling. It's not classy or gentlemanly IMO. This thread is proving to be more interesting than I initially envisioned. I thought I was going to get skewered for being such a wuss when it comes to this, but more people share my dislike of haggling than I thought. Money just drags things down to a certain level and it's not anywhere near the be all end all for me. It's kind of sad to me that the pursuit of money and the saving of money at the expense of someones paycheck is the pinnacle of some peoples lives.

Stuff I will bargain for, new or used cars, houses, anything used (if I feel it's overpriced)

I don't mind paying a few bucks more as long as I'm not getting hosed and the person I'm dealing with isn't scummy.


Senior Member
i've got one for you.

one time i bought a stomp box at a pawn shop. the price was $25.

i said ok and proceeded to pay for it. the salesman said to me "What are you doing ???? You're supposed to haggle." i said ok...(tentatively) how about $18 ?"

he said "That's good" and rang it up.

and i went home with an $18 stomp box.


Platinum Member
Stores and their sales have warped everyone's perception of prices.
Particularly things like Black Friday.
You scoop up what you think are super deals, because price points are normally way higher during non sale times.
This makes you think that if buying during non sales times, you're getting gouged or ripped off.
Adding insult to injury is the knowledge that in most cases, they're making a decent profit at the sales price.

There's also the rare occasion of greatly reduced prices when a store closes or changes directions.
Best Buy was brought up already, but there was also a chain store here a while back called
Mars Music. I got some great deals there when they closed down.
If you become accustomed to getting those types of deals, regular run of the mill prices seem a little out of line.

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I always haggle.Guitar Centers managers office is right when you walk in,and has a huge window.Everytime I go there he just looks at me and shakes his head no.Ha!
And their prices are no different than their "specials",just have to know how to work it.
$400 mixer,$200 out the door.I first deal w/ the knucklehead behind the counter,then say get the manager.
Craigslist I haggle unless they deliver it.
Ebay I always use up my 3 offers unless/until they accept one.
And I thoroughly research prices,so I set a price and wont go a penny more.F bidding wars.
I even haggled my local boutique guitar shop down $800 on a $2000 Jackson that was a special order.Had to wait 9mos for it to be built.

Gramps was a picker and sold at swap meets,so I know all about dickering.Plus the old man owned 2 car dealerships before they moved out west.