How to Score a Deal

This is a reprint originally seen in the Register-News some time ago.


Today in our world of online sales, overnight shipping, ship to store, and direct-from-China orders the art of haggling for a deal seems to be a thing of the past. About the only time people negotiate today is for a car or maybe a house. Even those classic examples are fading with value lookups on the Internet.

Everyone seems to think that any price at a retail store is set by corporate and nothing can be  done to save some money except for a sale. For the most part, they are right. Corporations set prices and the chains can do nothing to offer a better deal even if you beg and plead.

The exception to this example happens when there is a return or discontinued item. When these conditions happen then the rules change and haggling can begin. Each place has their own rules and your results may vary, but here are tips that I’ve learned over the past few years.

My first example is Best Buy. You can check their stock online by location at including their open-box returns and closeout merchandise. If you are in the market for a certain kind of product then you can check your closest stores for that product and then negotiate in-store for an even lower price. This method saved me $500 on the purchase of a TV a few years ago.

Up next is Lowes Home Improvement. I’m sure most of us have seen products that were returned or mildly damaged on Saturdays with bright yellow reduced price stickers. If you didn’t know, these prices can be negotiated even lower than what is on the tag. We have negotiated $30 returned paint to $10, and a $500 dishwasher to $175. Be sure to check behind the top right corner of the tag – that’s where the markdowns and dates are written down. The longer something has been on the floor, the better chance you can get a great deal.

Finally, our local Sears is closing, but they do offer some great deals on scratch, dent, and closeout as well. Sears also has a closeout (outlet) location on their site where you can check what is available by department. Sadly, Sears does not allow employees to drop prices in my experience but you can use the online site to check by location for your needs. We scored a great deal on a high efficiency washer and dryer set using this method. Watch for their prices to be updated or dropped every Sunday morning if you find something you like.

You have to be sure you’re comfortable buying something that may have a ding, scratch, or have been repaired. Our appliances were all brand new and we had the benefit of the full warranty. This made it easy for us to take the savings with little to no risk. I would imagine that any loss the company takes on these product discounts is written off as damaged merchandise for tax purposes.

Go out and get back to haggling! Your money should stay in your pocket as much as possible, right? Have tips or comments? Tweet me @DanVoyles or email me using