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NY: shopping... does one discuss the price?

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Oct 7th, 2011, 08:23 AM
  #1
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NY: shopping... does one discuss the price?

Hi to all,
I was just wondering... and then thought I should ask it to you... ;-)
Does one bargain , discuss the price, ask for a rebate, when shopping? I can imagine it is frowned upon at Barneys, but in other less 'formal' shops and boutiques...
Does one get angry looks when proposing cash with a 3% rebate instead of credit card ?
Just wondering...
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Oct 7th, 2011, 08:37 AM
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In stores, you'd probably get a "no, I can't do that." If you can point to a defect in the item (smudge of dirt on an item of clothing,e.g.) a manager might discount 10 percent or so.

With street vendors, though, bargain away!
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Oct 7th, 2011, 08:37 AM
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That sounds incredibly tacky. Try it and get back to us
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Oct 7th, 2011, 09:23 AM
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It's not so much tacky as just not done. This isn't Egypt or Morocco. You can certainly bargain in an antique store or a flea market, but it's just not done in traditional retail outlets, and I think kayd is correct. They'd just look at you and laugh.
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Oct 7th, 2011, 09:30 AM
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You do NOT bargain in stores - unless you are buying extremely expensive artwork or antiques.

In regular shops the price is the price. And trying to bargain could be considered insulting. (You are implying that Macy's is no different than a guy selling meat from the back of a truck.)

With street vendors - absolutely.
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Oct 7th, 2011, 10:25 AM
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nytraveler,
No, I'm not implying that. Frankly I was thinking about vintage shops. Shops where the price of the goods are not fixed by a general distributor or producer, but are rather an appreciation of a 'residual' or second market value.
I don't want to bargain at Macy's nor at the butcher's nor at Prada on 5th Ave, not at all.
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Oct 7th, 2011, 11:25 AM
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In a small store if you are considering buying multiple (4, 5, 6...) items, you might ask if there are any deals. For one or 2 things, no.
Vintage shops wouldn't necessarily be a special case. Merchandise still has to be purchased, and the owner has to allow a reasonable markup. I wouldn't assume that a vintage shop's markup is any more or less than a "regular" store.

I don't know if you are fom the U.S. or not, but here it's also not true that the "price of the goods ... fixed by a general distributor or producer". Generally, retailers can charge what they want--less or more than "suggested" retail
(though I think they may have to disclose the suggested retail if they are charging more. at least in some states or cities )
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Oct 7th, 2011, 11:52 AM
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nyer,
no, I'm not from the US, I'm from Switzerland. Retail prices are also mostly suggested here, and the retailer can charge what he wants. In 'normal' places, I think he'll mostly stick to the suggested price, in posher places they might do otherwise.

But as I said in my opening post, I was just wondering. I promise, I won't bring shame and scandal on my family!!!
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Oct 7th, 2011, 11:56 AM
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Baldrick, I feel that anyone who asks about local etiquette is asking so he/she can feel comfortable and "do the right thing". Absolutely no shame in asking.
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Oct 7th, 2011, 12:29 PM
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Now that I'm thinking of it, there are more places where you can bargain. I remember thinking that buying eyeglasses at Cohen's Optical was akin to buying a used car, where bargaining was not only expected but also necessary. And there are probably some more traditional shops on the Lower East Side and Chinatown (mostly Jewish and Chinese merchants) who might haggle if given the chance. I've haggled on a refrigerator before and an air-conditioner. And the example of a vintage clothing shop or any store selling used goods ... well, actually yes.

Still not in a traditional retail store or upscale boutique. Not in Macy's, but also not in Louis Vuitton, for example, or Prada. At some stores, if you are buying volume, you might ask for a best price.
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Oct 7th, 2011, 12:39 PM
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Tempting, Doug!!! ;-)
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Oct 7th, 2011, 01:05 PM
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Look, you'll probably never see these people again so there's absolutely no shame in asking if anything can be done to the price. Just don't be surprised by the answers!

You can ask for a discount coupon at Macy's. Also, if you forget to do that or you're in another store, such as Lord and Taylor, don't be afraid to ask if the salesperson or cashier has a coupon that can be used for a discount. It's only money, for crying out loud. So Ask!
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Oct 7th, 2011, 01:29 PM
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Yes, definitely take advantage of the discounts foreign travelers get at some stores (ask if they have a foreign traveler discount). But in truth, since you are from Switzerland, shopping at Louis Vuitton here may feel like shopping at H&M back home.
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Oct 7th, 2011, 01:50 PM
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Quote - But in truth, since you are from Switzerland, shopping at Louis Vuitton here may feel like shopping at H&M back home. - Unquote

Oh dear, this part is not for everyone's eyes...
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Oct 7th, 2011, 04:04 PM
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In large stores the staff has no ability to adjust prices for anything - unless you find something damaged. I have seen a person ask for a reduction on a damaged item in Bloomies - and it was removed for stock and they were given an undamaged one to buy at full price.

If you are in an individual's boutique you can ask - but it might get you invited out of the store. Esp the most upscale stores do NOT negotiate - part of what they are selling is the exclusivity of the high price.

There are sales all over the place all the time - and you can certainly ask the info booth at the store if they have discount coupons for foreign tourists - but the individual salesperson has no control over these things.

Also - expect everything to be MUCH cheaper than in Switzerland.
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Oct 7th, 2011, 04:31 PM
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I'm not in NY, but I have asked for a discount before when I found something I really wanted but couldn't pay full price. I start, "I really like this coat, but I think I will have to wait until it is marked down. Is there a sale scheduled?"

I made a new cousin that way. A clerk said, we have a friends and family sale today so I can give you 10% off. I've had Macy's clerks offer a coupon.

I have never been treated rudely for asking politely.
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Oct 8th, 2011, 05:51 AM
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No - but if you went in and asked for 3% off for paying cash you would just be stared at. (This is NOT a concept that stores - or other businesses - have in the US. Prices are predicated on almost everything being bought via CC - again except street vendors.)
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Oct 8th, 2011, 06:39 AM
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In an antique shop or gallery or place that deals in used but higher end merchandise (i.e, watches) it is perfectly acceptable to ask "is this your best price?"

If you are a dealer or decorator, you may certainly ask what their price would be "to the trade." You cannot just have business cards printed and call youself a dealer or decorator. An American would require proof in the form of a Federal tax identification number, and I am fairly certain a seller would want something similar from an overseas national.

In some areas -- jewelry and diamonds, for example -- the asking price is just the beginning of discussions, though not, sorry to say, at Tiffany's or Harry Winston unless you are having custom work done. Then I would go and discuss what I wanted, what my rough range for the price would be, and ask them what they can do.

Offering discounts for paying cash gets US businesses in HUGE trouble with their credit card companies, by the way, and if someone offers it to you, they may be skirting other regulations as well. Buyer beware.
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Oct 8th, 2011, 03:56 PM
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This is NOT a concept that stores - or other businesses - have in the US

It was tried in the early 70s but never took.
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Oct 13th, 2011, 09:32 AM
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In smaller, stores where you're dealing with the owner, you're more likely to be able to negotiate. If you're buying volume, you can definitely ask for a discount.

If stores like Macys or Lord and Taylor are having 20% off promotions and you dont have a coupon, they will often just scan one by the register if you're nice to them. Last year, a woman at Macys gave me 20% off for nothing.

Also, there are wholesale districts that have signs on the doors that say "Wholesale Only" and some of them will sell retail. Particularly for beads, trimmings. I found a great one in Paris. As long as I was willing to pay cash, they let me shop.

And, google "NYC sample sales" before you come - and sign up for the email alerts. You never know what you will find.

This isnt France - it is OK to talk about money in NYC. Except at places like Louis Vuitton at Saks, where you look through the price book instead of asking prices (French co - coincidence?)

suitcaseready.com
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