September 26, 2004, 08:38 PM
It's time to admit I have a problem........I suck at gun show haggling :cuss: . I've only bought two guns from gun shows. Just bought a 586 and can't help but feel I should've been able to get him down more from his asking price. You guys got any tips?

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Standing Wolf
September 26, 2004, 09:03 PM
As with shooting, the best way to learn to haggle is practice, practice, practice.

I never start haggling unless I'm ready, willing, and able to walk away from the gun without a second thought if I don't get a good deal.

September 26, 2004, 09:41 PM
Rule number one:
Be prepared to walk away if the price doesn't come down to what you want to pay.
Rule number two:
Check back later to see if the owner is then ready to deal. If not refer back to rule number one.

September 26, 2004, 10:01 PM
Ah the fine art of haggling, I got my 101 introductory course in Korea 25 years ago, Nike Tennis shoes should cost $4.00 US, my Army roomates usually paid over $20.00. Other items I learned to bargin for over there Art's Grandma would cuff me for even mentioning.

Then to Southern Italy, again nothing has a price tag and you haggle over everything. That was my 102 course.

Slightly after that it was off to the middle east for 10 years. Now the Arabs have haggling down to a fine art, really its a national pastime. They have been traders for over 2500 years and trust me guys it shows. The interesting part about it is if you pay the original asked price they are dissapointed almost to insult. These guys sit in shops all day bored out of their minds and haggling really makes there day. If they don't haggle they don't get to talk to anyone, they like it and it is business and life as usual.

A good haggle starts buy asking how much is something ( cum ha tha ). Which you will be told $100.00, you reply thats nice, but his goods are inferior, and look used and counter offer that you'll buy it for $5.00 and take it off his hands because it obviously is going to be a slow mover.
Forty five minutes to an hour later you should have the price down to $20-25 dollars, you pay and thank them for their time. If you do it right most will acknowledge you are shrewd and actually want you back as a customer. There is a art to it, you must always be pleasant, its a game, they know it and you know it, and how you play by the rules is very important. You won't get anything by POing the shopkeepr.

Some other rules: Always have the cash in your pocket, and the will to walk away. Usually I do the walk away part at least twice on a earnest haggle.

One last item haggling over items that are extemely rare, remember if its something you see once every 10 years, find out the bottom line on the item before you start. Trying to haggle over a 1914 Navy Colt in excellent condition and offering $1000.00 just ended all negotiations.

September 26, 2004, 10:04 PM
Here are some general pointers:

Know what you are talking about and know what you want. Knowledge is power.

Have a figure in your head that you are willing to spend on the item.

Don't insult him with an outrageous lowball

Don't act like a jerk. Be friendly, it can pay off. It is a whole lot easier to tell a jerk to take a hike.

As Standing Wolf said, be prepared to walk. Don't think they are going to try to stop you either.

Be persistent, but not overbearing.

Remember that he has something that you want, and you have something he wants. He has the advantage in that there is a large "pool" of buyers. You can counter his advantage somewhat with cash in hand.

Go to shows early to find the good deals, go to shows late to haggle. The last three hours of the last day of the show is a good time I have found.

There are many dealers that refuse to haggle. Some are rude about it. You must accept this.

September 26, 2004, 10:12 PM
...and to rub it in a little more, be willing to walk away, without hard feelings.

September 26, 2004, 10:24 PM
I usually have a bottom $ when selling. Had one guy ask me the bottom dollar, and told him. He tried to get me down, and I started giving him price incriments in 10$. He got the message fast.
Usually ask the price, ( knowing what it should be ) , and if they are high, ask, would you be willing to take less? Friendly always helps.:D

September 27, 2004, 05:43 PM
Good advice - My son walks away from me (as in I don't know you) when the show begins... he knows well that I will at least get 10% off for being old, and 20% for being old and nice in my dealings with the vendors.

September 27, 2004, 06:24 PM
Haggling is half the fun. I worked a musicial instrument shop for several years, and got quite good. If you're doing it right, the item and the price become almost unimportant, you just want to "win".

If you really want to learn to haggle, watch Monty Python's Life of Brian.

"10 for that? You must be mad.":D

September 27, 2004, 06:28 PM
I'm going to try a different strategy next time. I"m just going to repeat his statements in the form of a question and stare at him with a raised eyebrow. Until he caves in and offers me a ridiculously low price.

September 27, 2004, 06:47 PM
There really is a varied reaction to haggling. Growing up, there was a swap meet that I used to go to, and some people would get really mad if you tried to talk them down.

One time I remember a guy selling used CD's, and I had seen a couple of the same ones at a guy 2 booths down for cheaper, which was still more than I wanted to pay. I mentioned to the guy that the other guy 2 booths down had some for cheaper, and he yelled at me, "Well, good for them!". Maybe it was because I was a punk kid, I don't know, but I know it's not because I was disrespectful in any way. I wasn't raised that way.

Some people will haggle, some won't, and you can usually tell who is game for it right off the bat.

September 27, 2004, 08:43 PM
Schromf's got it down -

1. Do your homework, know your price and what you're willing to pay.

2. Be polite & professional, friendly is good, too.

3. Self-discipline is key, be willing to walk away if you can't get to where you need to be. There will be other deals on other days.

4. Cash talks, timing counts.

5. If they don't want to deal, move on, it isn't personal.

Good hunting.

September 27, 2004, 10:02 PM
I’ll third that schromf is right. In the few trips I made to Dubai I bought my wife some gold from the gold souk. You were absolutely not supposed to pay the asking price. The way it worked there was that a savvy buyer knew the going rate for gold by the ounce. If you wanted a necklace you would estimate how much it weighed so that you could start negotiations. Eventually you’d ask how much it weighed, and the shop owner had a scale and would show you, but you didn’t want to start out saying that you’d pay X amount per ounce and that’s it. They wouldn’t give you the best price unless you played along a little bit.

Keep in mind that’s it is terrible manners to negotiate if you don’t actually want to buy the item or are not ready to buy on the spot.

You need to know what the item is really worth. You don’t need to let the seller know that you know the real value, that ruins all the fun. You should start below the real value because the game is that you are trying to get a deal and the buyer is trying to rake you over the coals. If you are just plain ridiculous, however, the seller will lose respect for you and will not deem you worthy of the best price. Keep in mind that this is business and that asking for a good price is not rude. The way we do business in places such as WalMart is completely unusual in many parts of the world.

At gun shows people should be willing to entertain a little negotiation when they are asking prices that are not in line with the real value of what they are selling. Be bold about suggesting that you’d buy the item if the price were a little more reasonable. Note, you aren’t suggesting you want some special favor, but that you’d buy the item for a more reasonable price.

The funniest thing I saw in the gold souk was that every time a shop would strike a deal they’d say that it was a special price just for you. One time when a buddy of mine had finally finalized a deal the guy told him that and right then another sailor walked in (I didn’t know the guy, but we were in Dubai so I knew he was a sailor) so I say to the shopkeeper “It’s a special price just for him?”
“Yes,” he says.
“So you’re saying you won’t give this guy that price?” I say pointing to the new guy.
“Oh no, special price for him too.”
“Oh okay,” I say as we leave.


September 27, 2004, 10:18 PM
How much? Quick.
It's for the wife.
Oh. Uhhh, twenty shekels.
There you are.
Wait a minute.

Well, we're-- we're supposed to haggle.
No, no. I've got to get--
What do you mean, 'no, no, no'?
I haven't time. I've got--
Well, give it back, then.
No, no, no. I just paid you.
This bloke won't haggle.
Won't haggle?!
All right. Do we have to?
Now, look. I want twenty for that.
I-- I just gave you twenty.
Now, are you telling me that's not worth twenty shekels?
Look at it. Feel the quality. That's none of your goat.
All right. I'll give you nineteen then.
No, no, no. Come on. Do it properly.
Haggle properly. This isn't worth nineteen.
Well, you just said it was worth twenty.
Ohh, dear. Ohh, dear. Come on. Haggle.
Huh. All right. I'll give you ten.
That's more like it. Ten?! Are you trying to insult me?! Me, with a poor dying grandmother?! Ten?!
All right. I'll give you eleven.
Now you're gettin' it. Eleven?! Did I hear you right?! Eleven?! This cost me twelve. You want to ruin me?!
No, no, no, no. Seventeen.
No, no. You go to fourteen now.
All right. I'll give you fourteen.
Fourteen?! Are you joking?!
That's what you told me to say.
Ohh, dear.
Ohh, tell me what to say. Please!
Offer me fourteen.
I'll give you fourteen.
He's offering me fourteen for this!
Seventeen. My last word. I won't take a penny less, or strike me dead.
Done. Nice to do business with you.
Tell you what. I'll throw you in this as well.
I don't want it, but thanks.
All right! All right! All right!
Now, where's the sixteen you owe me?
I just gave you twenty.
Oh, yeah. That's right. That's four I owe you, then.
Well, that's all right. That's fine. That's fine.
No. Hang on. I've got it here somewhere.
That's all right. That's four for the gourd.
Four? For this gourd? Four?! Look at it. It's worth ten if it's worth a shekel.
But you just gave it to me for nothing.
Yes, but it's worth ten!
All right. All right.
No, no, no, no. It's not worth ten. You're supposed to argue, 'Ten for that? You must be mad!' Ohh, well. [sniff] One born every minute.

ken w.
September 27, 2004, 10:33 PM
I'm a vendor and a haggler.I no longer get upset when people offer me unreasonable offers for my stuff.I know the products and my prices very well and can get deals and let things go for bargains when I want to.However,if a person is just being an a$$ ,I just wont sell it to them and put it under the table untill he leaves the show,just for spite:evil: . Most of the time you can't take it personally.

September 27, 2004, 10:54 PM
I am in the car business....I make my living haggling!

Everything is negotiable in my opinion...except groceries. Did you know you can negotiate your:

Medical Bills
Car Insurance (just throw the I got a better quote by 10 bucks at them)
Shoes (finer retailers)
Appliances (yep, even at Best Buy)

Trust me, if a floor sales rep says no, politely ask for a manager.

The key to good haggling is finding a middle ground quickly. There is no sense wasting anyones time with offers that are way below realistic. It fries me to no end when a customer offers us less than true invoice price for a car...and they know it. The people that make reasonable offers get what they want, and get it much quicker.

September 28, 2004, 12:31 AM
Lots of fun. Every situation is unique. IMO NEVER pay full price at shows or any store other then groc/major discount. (I even have done it at Sears.) :) :)
At gun show find what you want then look around and see who else has same thing. Make reasonable offers and ask if he could throw in accessories at his price. I.E. ammo/holster/scope rings.
On my wifes wedding ring I saved the price of a NIB Glock doing this. AFTER their low discount pricing for dang nice ring with VERY clear stone.

September 28, 2004, 02:56 AM
NEVER insult goods, prices or compare the dealer to someone else to try to haggle. Think about how much you'd like being on the other side of the table when someone uses this on you.

"$500!?!? But this is crap! I can get this same worthless junk online for blank..." How is that supposed to motivate someone to come down?? Are they supposed to suddenly do a Perry Mason and say "You know, you're right, this is overpriced crap. How about $100!?" :rolleyes:

What a stupid way to haggle.

Start by talking to the dealer about the product, tell him you're really interested but are looking for the best deal. That's a good start. Then, you'll see if he's ready to be haggled. He may even start pitching prices to you right then.

Say something like "You have a bit of wiggle room on this? I'm not swimming in money at the moment but I really want it". That tells him he needs to come down to make the sale, you're eager, and if he does come down the item's sold. Much better than insulting him.

When he pitches a price, it probably won't be low enough, so then the door is open to say "How about $XXX.XX?".

I may not always win the best deal, but I'd bet my way will win more often than not.

joe sixpack
September 28, 2004, 04:25 AM
Good thread and a lot of good advice already offered here.

In my experience as a buyer, I usually just pay whatever it is that's
being asked. Dealing with my wife is entirely different - she must have gone to Akmad's School of Haggling, and when we need a price break on something, she works them over like a true pro.

I've also been in sales (probably why I just cave to whatever the price
being asked is) and sometimes the seller is genuinely insulted by such a lowball offer (I know I have been) and other times it's all part of an act.
In fact at times when people of certain known haggling persuasions would
come in to buy, my partner who said he couldn't deal with it would leave
and it would be up to me. I would generally raise the price and negotiate with the larger cushion and we would end up at about the same price that
everyone else who bought it paid for it.

cheers, js

joe sixpack
September 28, 2004, 04:28 AM
I also wanted to include this:


One day a gentleman walked into one of Ben Franklin's book stores. As one of the clerks went to assist him, the gentleman asked the clerk the price of the book he wished to purchase. The young clerk looked at the price posted on the book and said, "That book is one dollar, sir."
The gentleman began to haggle with the clerk over the price. The clerk assured him that the correct price for the book was one dollar and no lower. As the man realised that his efforts to haggle with the clerk were going nowhere, he insisted on speaking with Ben Franklin directly.

Franklin stopped his work, walked out to the storefront and the gentleman asked, "What is the price of this book?"

Franklin answered, "One dollar and a quarter."

The gentleman was confused and replied, "Your clerk just said it was a dollar."

Franklin looked at the book again and answered, "Yes, it was a dollar. But now you're wasting my time."


September 28, 2004, 05:16 AM
Read The Art of War by SUN SU and use it as guideline for buying and selling. it's standard reading for sales people to learn how to sell but works for buying as well.

September 28, 2004, 10:44 AM
One ploy that has worked for me is to chat up the sales person about the piece in question and allowing as how I'd like to add one to my collection. I ask them the price if it's not marked (or best price if it is).

Assuming the price is beyond what I want to pay, I'll add that I've seen it online for $XXX, but I'll have to add on shiping, inurance & xfer fees, which brings it up to $XXX+., and ask them if they can come close, as I prefer to do business locally. More often than not, they can.

I figure there is value in doing business locally, having the gun in hand vs waiting, and I get to inspect it thoroughly before I lay my money down. But the song remains the same, if they can't/won't get close to what I'm willing to pay, I thank them for their time and move on. FWIW.

September 29, 2004, 05:35 AM
Excellent thread

I learned the art of Haggling from my boss who can actually Haggle at Wal-Mart. Amazes me every time I see him in action.

One time at a gun show I got to dealing with a guy for a 22 rifle I very much wanted and would have paid the marked price easily and he actually took my starting lowball price. I was ALMOST disappointed.

September 29, 2004, 12:22 PM
Allright guys next gun show I'll be prepared, thanks. This past gun show I shot myself in the foot, I started thinking a year from now will I be happier if I have the $30 or the gun? AFter I thought it about it that way I was a dead duck. Oh well at least I like the dealer, and can count it towards building a relationship with him. He also saved me $40 and an hour drive on my last transfer.

September 29, 2004, 01:28 PM
I, like that texas guy, sell cars all day long. There are rules to trying to get a better price.

1. Never jump right in to negotiations. If its possible, build a little rapport with the seller before you talk about money. Its really easy, all you have to do is find some common ground. Get his name. Use his name, there is no sweater sound in the world than a person's own name.

2. Never be disrespectful to anything, including his first price. Keep in mind that if you look at him and say "$400! THIS IS B.S." you've just lost all that nice rapport you built. Instead, word it like, "boy, that's a little more than I was hoping to spend." Keep treating him like an old friend, you give better deals to your friends, don't you?

3. If you do have to say no, smile. I always liked to say, "Jim, you're killing me. I just can't pay that. You sure you can't let me have it for $325?"

4. If he accepts your offer you better have the cash to back it up. I can't count the times i've had someone come onto my lot and make an offer then, when I accept it, they have to think on it. Talk about pissing me off.

5. If he says no, thank him for his time and say you'll keep it in mind. Stop by on the way out and make sure he won't sell it for your offer.

Rule number one is the most important one here. You can say about anything you want as long as its respectful and as long as you respect him and his product.

September 29, 2004, 03:09 PM
OK, a bit OT, but for you car guys, what is the difference between "invoice" and "true invoic"?

I always figured there was something beyond 'dealer's invoice' when I see local dealers advertizing "$100 under invoice" (yeah, we lose a little on each one, but make it up on volume:what: ???). So, how do ya know, really?


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