Do you pay the price shown for merchandise in stores or do you bargain every time you made a purchase? I'm not talking about online sales; I'm talking about retail stores where you buy household goods, supplies, electronics, clothes, furniture, toys, food, or who knows what else. In some countries and cultures, bargaining is a standard part of the purchase process. In the U.S., some people pay the listed prices for items in a store without thinking about it, while some people regularly negotiate for lower prices and probably save a lot. Almost everyone expects to do some bargaining when buying a car (that's often part of the unpleasantness of that experience), but I think most people pay the listed price for most types of store purchases. I've read that you can bargain anytime anywhere for anything, but I'm never sure when you could really get away with it. It takes a bit of nerve to challenge a price, negotiate, hold your ground, and be wiling to abandon a purchase if you can't get the price you want. Not knowing if you got the best possible deal is the nature of bargaining. You might not get every last penny you could have gotten, but you do better than if you don't bargain at all. Chances are, a store is unlikely to refuse to sell you an item because of a low offer. They'll either accept it, counteroffer, or stick to the initial price, which puts you no worse off than when you started. Doctor Q Gets a Lesson Last month I watched a friend of mine, who loves to bargain, go into action at a furniture store. He asked for the salesperson's best offer (and got it, below the listed price), then asked for the manager and asked him if he could do better (he did). Then my friend made a still-lower offer. The manager complained that he didn't have room to cut that much, but my friend didn't relent. He introduced himself and told what business he is in, shook hands, and promised to tell friends about the store, but stood firm on the price until the manager agreed (somehow he magically DID have room to cut the price), and with a bit more shaved off the price too. I was already impressed, but my friend, who was polite but unbending, didn't stop there. He "thought about it" and then wrote the guy a check for even less than the previous offer. The manager looked at it, scowled, went away, and then came back with the paperwork for the purchase. He took the deal! Both of them were perfectly friendly as the manager did the paperwork; no hard feelings. I'm sure he still made a profit, or he wouldn't have sold it for that price. All in all, my friend saved about $350 on an item listed at $1200. I was fascinated and at the same time a little embarrassed to watch it transpire, because it felt like he was "mean" to repeatedly question their "best offer". But I could see it was just "doing business", not something personal, and it made me feel a bit ashamed for all the times I've thought getting "$20 off because I'm a nice guy" from a salesman was a great deal, without asking for a better one. * * * What about the rest of you? Do you bargain? Where have you been successful or unsuccessful?