Asking For A Discount

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I learned early in my life, from my father, that you can ask for a discount for anything.  My father always did this and seemed to enjoy the challenge of getting discounts on anything he bought.  He once got a 10% discount off of a stove because there was a scratch on the back of the stove!  It was not visible and certainly not visible once the stove was put into place.  But, my father presented the scratch as a defect and wanted a discount.

Having worked in sales for many years before my switch to academia, I know that most people that are selling products have the authority to lower a price or they can find someone that can.  I was surprised at how often people simply did not ask for discounts that would have been quite reasonable requests.

I was buying a ream of paper at Staples one day when I noticed that the outer paper cover was torn.  Not a single sheet of the 500 in the ream were damaged but when I spotted an assistant manager I asked if I might get a discount for the damaged cover (the cover I would be removing and throwing away when I got home.)  The manager marked the ream down 50%.

The more expensive the item the more likely you are to get a discount as there are more profit (margin) dollars available for lowering the price.  Even items that are on sale can be discounted by the salesperson or the store manager.

Just ask.  The worst possible outcome is that the store employee will say "no."  You will be surprised at how often you get discounts.  Believe me, the store employees are used to this and they have no problem helping you if they can.  In fact, most seem pleased to be able to help you and you should express your thanks and gratitude for the discount as they is the gracious thing to do.  

If you have a good discount story please share it here.



erick99 posted Feb 20, 2012
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22 Comments
Zoey2011
I enjoyed reading this! I often want to ask but I feel embarrassed. I think I will try more often now.
Zoey2011 (rep: 30) posted Feb 20, 2012
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Sophialove
Nice!
Sophialove (rep: 59) posted Feb 20, 2012
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gangstabarbie
I was shopping at Bebe and tried on a dress missing a button. I asked the manager if I can get a discount and he gave if to me but said final sale. I didn't care, I went home and sewed a button and wore it to a nice dinner out. :)
gangstabarbie (rep: 9.67k) posted Feb 20, 2012
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encorez
my dad was a salesman, which made him the worst costumer....
encorez (rep: 9.96k) posted Feb 20, 2012
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fluffy
I thought that a lot of stores won't give an on-the-spot discount for damaged merchandise because it creates an incentive to deliberately damage merchandise. Instead, they would periodically discount such merchandise when they had accumulated enough.

I remember Radio Shack having a particularly draconian policy of literally smashing to bits even slightly damaged merchandise to prevent the above mentioned activity, and because offering discounts was seen as competing against their own full-priced sales.
fluffy (rep: 2.17k) posted Feb 20, 2012
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erick99
I worked part-time at Radio Shack two Christmas' ago and we could discount though it was not encouraged.
erick99 (rep: 17.4k) posted Feb 20, 2012
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MrBklynW
fluffy is actually right, i have sister that works for a store. any damage merchandise is sent to be smashed into pieces.
MrBklynW (rep: 413k) posted Feb 20, 2012
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FibroMom
Awesome Article! 50% off on that ream of paper = WOW! I will start trying the asking for a discount practice Every Time I shop from now on! Nothing to loose - but from the sound of it - A LOT to GAIN!
FibroMom (rep: 175k) posted Feb 21, 2012
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barang_square
That is the "culture" in asia. Basically, sellers just mark up the price as they expect buyers sleah it down.
barang_square (rep: 627) posted Feb 21, 2012
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nimrodboy3
this works at a lot of places..not just for for discounts..but for upgrades too..
nimrodboy3 (rep: 68k) posted Feb 21, 2012
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erick99
I am sure some stores do destroy damaged product but not every store. But, the point is to get used to asking for discounts because, in the long run, you will come out ahead :)
erick99 (rep: 17.4k) posted Feb 21, 2012
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igetadeal
Nice one
igetadeal (noob) posted Feb 07, 2013
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LisaNtom08
This is great! I enjoyed reading this. I am embarrased doing this though :/ I will have to get my husband to give it a try lol
LisaNtom08 (rep: 1.57k) posted Feb 07, 2013
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DealLeader
This is a great article. Thanks for sharing it! It is easy enough to ask for a discount. All they can say is no (and you then walk away--which can get the discount for you many times).
DealLeader (rep: 7.68k) posted Feb 07, 2013
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lilywow
Very nice article. Thank you for bringing it up. I always thought about it but never dared ask for a discount. I am going to give it a go
lilywow (rep: 8.33k) posted Feb 07, 2013
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LokaFreeThings2
It does pay to ask. I remember receiving a few discounts just by being polite and real with people. Often times the managers, owners don't mind giving discounts you just have to catch them at the right times and moods;)
LokaFreeThings2 (rep: 2.96k) posted Feb 07, 2013
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nthsll
I was in Albertson'e grocery store one night after finishing an evening shift at a hospital. I needed a dog kennel. One of those airline crates? They had one about the size I needed for less than anybody in town, so I stopped on my way home, pulled the thing off the shlef and walked to the register. It rang up $5 higher than what the price on the shelf showed. I wasn't looking for a discount...just the price marked. I told the cashier about it and he said he had to go check the price. He came back and said "well, you get that item for free"? I said "what?" He pointed to a store policy posted at the register that said that if the scanned price and the posted price don't match, the item was free.

Pretty good discount that time.
nthsll (rep: 12.4k) posted Feb 08, 2013
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helloamy1977
@ nthsll I wish they had that in stores where I live. Ive noticed many times the scanned price and advertised price are different
helloamy1977 (rep: 2.53k) posted Feb 10, 2013
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LindaKNor
The best discount I got was when I was buying a car right out of high school. My dad was with me and playing games with the salesman and irritating him. It seemed like the deal was getting worse. Dad had to
leave. I smiled at the salesman and asked if he would forget what had just happened and start over with me. By the time we were done, I got the car for $800.00 less than asking (a pretty good deal on a $4000.00 car in the 80's), a factory air conditioner installed at no additional cost, a new set of quality tires of my choice for free, a full tank of gas for free, a full detail and a free upgraded rental with the mileage limit waived while the air conditioner was being installed and the rest of the promised items done. Sometimes it just pays to be nice.
LindaKNor (rep: 12.8k) posted Feb 10, 2013
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Acidbaby
You need to stand your ground and save yourself money. There is no reason to feel embarrassed. Its your money.

I think the best one I pulled off was back when LCD tv's first came out. Office Depot had an amazing deal on a 42" LCD, back then it was like $1300 new for a 42". They had the tv on sale for $799 which was a pretty great sale at the time. And I came to find out that Staples had a customer appreciation sale going on. 25% off a single item over $500 or something it was. Office Depot coupon matches competitors. I got the tv went to the register had a trainee at the register so I was like oh yeah this is going through no problems. Of course I was wrong. She calls the assistant manager over. Hes like we cant take Staples coupons. I pulled out my cell and showed him that OD accepts customer coupons. He then changed the story to Staples doesnt sell tv's. To which I showed him some tv's online. He calls a local Staples and they have no tv's in the store. He refuses to take the coupon because they dont sell tv's. I continued to argue the fact that I am not price matching the tv, I am matching the coupon. Doesnt matter what Staples sells, he wont budge. I call OD customer relations while in line get some dude I cant understand so I play along and just say what I want to say. Such as OH so you do coupon match and the item itself doesnt matter. The assistant manager calls the store manager out from the back. He says he cant take it that they are already taking a loss on the tv with just the sale and used the staples doesnt sell tv's thing. Im like ok, I still want it. Pull out a coupon from Best Buy for $150 off any tv over $700. He tries to tell me Best Buy isnt a competitor to which I showed him the OD website where it says they are. He basically breaks down and looks like he was going to cry. Calls BB they have the same tv in stock for $999. Me walks out the door with about a $600 discount. The stock boy brings the tv to the truck loads her in and gives me a high five and laughs.

You need to haggle folks. Its your money and dont take their shit.
Acidbaby (rep: 6.83k) posted Feb 10, 2013
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taratstock
I agree ~ why not ask? You have nothing to lose except keeping some of your money!!
taratstock (rep: 45.7k) posted Feb 11, 2013
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dealwagger
It is always worth asking. For example, at Kay Jewelers and all Sterling stores (Goodman's, Jared's, etc.) they can give you 10% off anything that isn't already a featured price (like the catalog prices). Just ask! Whenever I ask and get a no, I will either shrug it off like no big deal if it is no big deal or ask for a manager.

I will also reiterate what others have said be polite! I've worked in retail quite a few years and have not given rude people discounts (when it was up to my discretion rather than they had a valid coupon etc). My polite customers not only got better service but if I could do something extra, I would do it of my own accord. (It never ceases to amaze me how little people think of sales people and cashiers.)

Good luck with your discounts everyone! :D
dealwagger (rep: 10.2k) posted Feb 11, 2013
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