Bargaingin in America - Can you do it - How does it work

Can you Bargain in America ? Buying Cars, Clothes, Shopping on Street ?

In Living in US by KumarUpdated : 5 Comments

Some of you, who grew up in Asia and countries like India, Thailand might be used to bargaining before you buy something or hire something….It could be as simple as bargaining the rate for taxi or auto rickshaw…Also, it could be in instances like buying stuff on the street…sometimes, it could be like buying stuff in a fancy clothing store with fixed price tag on it….Things work slightly different in America…Let me share some of my experiences…

Bargaining vs. Concept of Sale and Outlet malls and stores in America :

In general…as I mentioned in article Why NOT to buy clothes in Fancy Malls, it is not a good idea to buy clothes in malls around down town or upscale neighbourhoods in America…you should go to outlet malls for discount…the whole point of outlet malls and sale is simple in America, they do not want to put consumer at disadvantage…if they reduce price, it should be for everyone….no concept of gaining more because you are better at bargaining for regular consumer goods…. In general, for the most part people do NOT bargain in America. If you are going to buy clothes, utensils, electronics, sporting goods, etc., from standard stores or branded outlets, you cannot bargain….because it is all fixed. Do NOT even think of bargaining, all you can do is carry a coupon or sign-up for something stupid to get some discount, that is considered as your bargain…

Can you Bargain ? Where can you Bargain in America ?

Yes, you can bargain for some stuff in US…For instance, buying Car, House, Big electronic item, buying stuff at Garage Sale , buying stuff on the street (especially in places like China town, Desi areas, sometimes in big cities like New York)….it is about place and the stuff you plan to buy…

How to bargain in America ?

You will not believe it, I bargained at Guitar Center to buy my electric Guitar. I bought a $350 guitar for $250. Here is how I did it. I talked to the Manager and told him the market price of a similar guitar and said I would buy it online. He was hesitant. I said to him, it is very simple for me…I will buy it from there, nobrainer for me. He just matched the price and gave me the stuff. It was about leverage.

  • Rule Number 1 to bargain, you should know the least available price of certain stuff in Market…not necessarily same brand, but same class brand or item….if you know that, you have leverage to bargain.
  • Rule number 2, you need to simply ask, can I talk to the Manager of the store. Never indulge in bargaining with some store guy, waste of time.
  • Rule number 3, No one wants to lose business…you just have to tell the guy in simple terms, what if he does not give the deal…what would happen…you should come to a common ground….

Also, one other way to bargain is to buy more number of pieces. For instance, if you are planning to buy a Camera or TV and let’s say your friend also want to buy the same thing, you can always say, we plan to buy two pieces or more, can you give us a discount. It has worked for us in few places. So, worth a shot…

If you do not get a deal, it is OK. it is worth a shot…if you never ask, you never get anything…simple right ?

What was your experience Bargaining in USA ?

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Comments ( 5 )

  1. Tongan

    “Some store guy” does not care about losing your business. They get paid the same minimum wage either way. They’ll be glad to see you go. We don’t treat service workers like dirt, unlike in some other countries. If you’re set on scoring a certain price, then shop somewhere were you can afford the item. A cashier is not going to risk getting fired so you can get an extra 10% off.

  2. Omoshiroi

    You forgot Rule Number 4 in Bargaining.


    We, as Americans are not obligated to bargain for ANY reason for ANY costs, but being nice and thankful helps greatly.

  3. Ellen

    The things I bargain for are cars and of course garage sales (aka lawn sales). You can also get items “price-matched” meaning they will give you the same price as another store.

    What I find is the best idea is to check sites like for items that are on sale and how to get them super cheap. While you can ask a manager for a lower price, getting something on sale and using a 10-20% coupon is a much better idea.

    I have gotten a ton of free shampoo, medicines, personal items etc. by doing this. And of course black friday is the best day to get electronics and computers inexpensively 🙂

  4. Tobster

    Always bargain about rent too. Most landlords charge a lot more than what you should be paying. Check the average rates in that area and negotiate. I recently had an argument with my landlord since most Americans are averse to bargaining if they are trying to sell something.

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