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November 18, 2010

44 easy asks (part II)

...continued from yesterday. Final installment coming tomorrow:

16. When you're buying the floor model:

"If I get the floor model, what kind of discount could you give me?"
"I'm on a budget, but I'd be willing to buy the floor model if you gave me a better deal." (Show you're giving something up -- deliverance from hundreds of fingerprints -- for a better price.)
17. When the number is easily down-roundable.

Farmer's market peaches, $2.12: "Can we make it $2?"
Used bookstore, four books, $22.99 total: "Would you accept an even $20?"
Adorable coral colored sandals at a small boutique, $74: "How about $70?"
(Less likely to work at big box or department stores, but far from impossible at boutiques, smaller stores.)

18. When you're paying cash:

Vague: "Could we do a cash discount?"
Specific: "Argh, I only have $32. Would that be ok?"

(At the start of the Daily Asker experiment, I sometimes used the cash line to avoid paying sales tax, which can certainly add up on bigger ticket items: "Can you skip the sales tax? I can pay cash if that makes it easier." But I've stopped. I live in California, where the budget is in such a shambles it feels kind of dirty to skip out -- especially since the state,  unlike a merchant, isn't standing at the cash register and able to make a counteroffer when I ask for no tax.)

19. When you're buying on Craigslist:

"Since this is Craigslist, would you take $80?"
(I usually offer 20 to 25 percent less than the asking price.)

20. When a sale just ended or is about to start:

Apologetic: "I just found out your sale/monthly special/2-for-1 dinner promo ended Wednesday but I totally thought it was still going on! I looooove this divan/salon/restaurant but I was really drawn to the discounted price. Is there anything you can do?"

Forward thinking: "I love this table, but I was wondering, do you think I could get the sale price already? I'm not going to be in town next weekend and I'd love to buy this now."

21.  When the askee has a supervisor:

"Could you give me yesterday's sale price, today?"
"I'm sorry, but the sale is over."
"Would you mind asking your manager? You can tell her I'm really interested in this table, I don't need delivery and I'd be really grateful!"

"Could I have free text messaging for the next six months, since you guys overcharged me for the new line I added?"
"I can't, I'm sorry. Once we removed the mistaken charge, there's nothing more I'm authorized to do."
"I see. Well, could I ask your supervisor? Not to complain about you, don't worry -- I'm just a big believer in asking!"

22. When a product has been sitting on a shelf so long there's a blanket of dust around it:

"Wow! I've seen these earrings here since last winter! Is that the same pair? I tried them on right before Christmas. Don't you want to finally get rid of them? I can't afford $400, but if you can work with my budget I'll walk out with them today."

23. When they roll out new merchandise (or discontinue an old product):

"Your new cameras are in! Perfect! So would does than mean you're dropping the price of old models by half?"
"Um, no."
"How about 20 percent?"

"How sad you're closing. I loved Circuit City. [small talk, then ask:] Could I have these shelves for $50 -- two for one?" (Beware that some liquidators drive hard bargains -- so talk to the manager or combine with other techniques. Don't give up. Let your inner asker roar.)

24. When demand is generally low and/or supply is high:

Examples: a garage sale where nothing has sold for hours (and you know since you drove by that morning); a craigslist item, from a mirror to an apartment, that has been posted and reposted; a late model car when new inventory has rolled in. No need to say anything explicit about the high supply, though you can.

"Hmm, this belt piqued my curiosity, but I can't decide if I just want it or truly need it [targeting seller's desire to finally land a buyer]... Do you think you could drop the price to $20?"

25. When they're out of a product you want:

"I'd like the grilled salmon/maserati/queen master suite/merlot/toshiba."
"I'm sorry, we're sold out of that."
"Oh noooo! I love that salmon/car/room/wine/gadget. Hmm... Let me see your other options... do you think I could get this instead?"
"Of course."
"For the same price?"

26. When there's a special occasion:

"It's our anniversary. Do you have any special discounts or perks to help us celebrate?"

27. When you have an expired coupon:

"I realize this just expired -- but can you still apply it, please?"

28. When the merchant might have a coupon you don't:

"Do you have any coupons behind the counter you could apply? Anything to help get the price down a little?"

29. When you're buying two (or more) items at a huge price differential.

"Since I'm getting this laptop, printer and desk chair, would you throw in a cartridge for free?"

30. When you're the first customer of the day, in China (so I've heard):

Sorry, I don't speak Chinese.

Part three, here.

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