There are certain situations in which nobody should have to pay full price. Know when to ask for a discount, and do so politely.
If you find yourself in any of the following situations, don’t hesitate to ask for a discount. Talking about money can be awkward, but this isn’t so much about “getting a deal” as it is about ensuring better service and quality products. By pointing out a company’s shortcomings and asking for a discount, you provide the company with an opportunity to improve for next time.
1. When service or food is unsatisfactory
When you go out for dinner, it’s fair to expect a certain standard of service and food quality, and if you’re unhappy with either, you should ask for a discount. At the very least, the manager will likely give you dessert for free, or something similar.
Be reasonable in your expectations, however, and be sure that any complaints about poor service are not due to it being a busy night when your server is stretched to their limits.
2. When something is dented, damaged, or broken
You should not pay full price for something that is dented, damaged, or broken, even if it is going somewhere that’s not easily visible and its function is not impaired. In fact, you’re probably doing the business a favor by offering to buy such items, since it takes the burden off them to repair or dispose of these items.
3. When you buy the floor model
A floor model is used, no matter what the business staff may tell you. Of course their preference is to sell it at full price, but it doesn’t make sense when you consider that the floor model is handled all day, every day, sometimes for months on end. Speak with the manager and ask for it to be reduced beyond the sticker price.
4. When you pay in cash
If you offer to pay for something in cash, you’ll likely surprise the seller, since it’s such a rare thing to hear these days. It’s a tempting offer, when someone says, “How much will you reduce the price if I pay for it right now in cash?” Most sellers will find it hard to resist.
As Paul Michael writes for WiseBread, the exception to the rule is when buying a car. “Dealerships get big incentives for financing offers, and you take that away from them if you offer to pay cash. In fact, you may pay more if you pay cash, so don’t do that. You can always pay off the loan a week or two later.”
5. When it’s closing time
This advice has several meanings. You can usually get a discount at the end of the workday at farmers’ markets and flea markets, when sellers are packing up their goods to take home, but would prefer to sell anything leftover at the last minute.
Final closing sales are a good time to ask for additional discounts, too, especially if it’s an independent business that’s shutting down and will be unable to honor a warranty.
Remember always to be polite, to smile, and to be respectful.