Walk Away. Sometimes You Got To.


   Since we talked about haggling last week, lets talk about something related. Walking away. In this business, you have to be willing to walk away from something. Even if you want it real bad.

    I once had an opportunity to buy a bearskin rug. I’ve talked briefly about him, I was calling him Bearington. It was for sale at an antique shop, the dealer, an eccentric lady I’ve bought from before and have after, had this bearskin rug, marked for $650. I really wanted it, but $650 was out of my budget. So, I made an offer. $500. She said the lowest she’d take was $600. I really, really, really wanted it. She wouldn’t budge. So, I walked away. Bearington is gone from her booth now, I don’t know if she sold him or removed him, but I am sad about it. I really wanted him. 

    You have to be okay with walking away sometimes. Every time you haggle, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to make a deal. There’s etiquette here too, don’t be snotty or nasty to the dealer. It’s their inventory and they have the final say. Just use my tried and true, smile and say “I’m sorry we couldn’t make a deal.” Shake hands, and walk away.

    Remember, they have to make a profit too. If its too much, just let to go. Don’t argue, because if you, as I like to say “show your ass,” they’ll remember you acted like an ass and any deal you might be able to make could be gone. On the other hand, if you were polite, they’ll remember that too. You might be able to get a better deal on something else. 

    People have long memories, I am the Princess of Petty. If you show your ass dealing with me, I’ll remember you. If you’re polite about the situation, I’ll remember you too. I know in a perfect world it wouldn’t be that way, but It is. 

    If you’re in this business long enough you’ll do your fair share of walking away. My favorite thing in the world is wooden fish. I once encountered a lady who was selling a wooden fish. It was at a decent markup. $30 for a wooden fish that isn’t even folk art, is more than I’m willing to pay. I asked if there was any wiggle room in the price. She said 10%. That was still too much fr me so I made an offer of $15. Was that a lowball? Yes. But were talking about a mass produced decorative piece made for the consumer market. The Made in Taiwan sticker was a dead giveaway. She wouldn’t accept, so I thanked her for her time and waked away. Fun fact: She’s still trying to sell it. She said she’s owned it for years, and she’s continuing to own it. 

    I know I said that dealers have make a profit too, but this is a clear example of the market will determine the value. That fish is still there at the posting of this blog, so clearly, the market has spoken.

   Update: Just yesterday (4/22/18) Brent and I decided to go to the flea market. We got a few things and went into a booth where nothing was priced. It's not uncommon for that to be a thing. In this situation you take your finds and go up to the counter and make an offer. So I found a few things, a nice wooden spool, a lovely family photo on a cabinet card, and a 48 star flag.

   I out everything on the counter and the proprietor looked through what I had picked out, and from the get go he treated me like I was stupid. He felt like he needed to explain that what I had was a 48 star flag, which I was well aware of that. That's the whole reason I picked it out. I just smiled and said "I know." He also gave me a quick history lesson, and again, "I know."

   So I made an offer of $15 for everything. He came back with a counteroffer, which was expected, of $20. I took the $17 I had in my wallet and said "How about $17? That's all I've got left." That man, had the nerve to look at me and say "You came to the flea market you should have brought more money." I lifted up the bag of stuff on my arm and said "I started out with more."

   He wouldn't budge. I showed him my empty wallet and said "$17 is all I have left." He said "It'll probably be here next week." I said "Okay then." I put my money back in my wallet and walked away.

   What can we glean from this? He'd rather keep his stuff then take my money. If your profit margins are so razor thin that you sweat $3, you might consider making some changes to your business model. 




Brooke Gilbert