1/08/2009

The New Age of Negotiation


Maybe you've heard, the economy is suffering a bit. Actually, it's quite bad out there, and the retail sector is taking quite the beating. In fact, with consumer confidence dwindling, even gift card sales were off this year as many feared that certain retailers may not survive, leaving them high and dry. Not that any of the big guys have folded.

I've read in the past year, many folks bemoaning that 'negotiation is dead' and that this is 'the age of no negotiation'. Well, it was. I'd even experienced this at Sears, where they flat out told me that store policy was to not to do so.

Hit the link to see why I think that negotiation is making a comeback.


On a recent trip to one of the big boxes, we were shopping for some products for our bathroom remodel (remuddle, as a friend puts it). We had found some tile we liked at a different store, and wanted to see what they had. The team leader in flooring was helping us out, but not finding what we were looking for. Still she was being a bit odd about it. As if not wanting to tell us that they could not help us.

After a few minutes, she finally came clean. Here's the jist of what she had to say:

  • Crummy economy hurting retail
  • New store policy to not turn customers away
  • They'll price match anybody plus 10%
  • If budget is an issue, say what we need is $1500, but we're working with $700, they could come down (her example).
Yeah, it was all we could do to keep our jaws off the floor. We were still awe struck by this exchange hours later. Would they really come down that much?? But I think I've figured out why this is happening - supply and demand.

Stay with me here - I'm no economist, but I think I've got something here. In the first half of this decade, retailers saw a huge boon. They saw growth on top of enormous growth, and acted like it would never end. Demand was huge and thus the retailer was king. Consumer friendly policies - like negotiation, easy returns and exchanges - died off. They didn't need your business, Miss Thrifty Pants, because the drunk on debt idiot behing you will gladly pay full price since it's just going on the credit card anyways.

But those days are done. The bubble has soundly burst. Now it's the retailers who can't seem to catch a break. The charts have swung in our favor and now demand is dying. For you real estate folks, this is what you'd call a 'buyer's market'.

I'm calling it now: Negotiation is back - power to the people.

Go give it a try. Do some shopping at the big boxes and make it no secret that you've been shopping around. See if they don't work a little harder for your business.

1 comments:

Cash Cuddler said...

Good post that I would like to add to. People forget that doctors' and dentists' fees are also open to negotiation, especially if you have no insurance. I like this, and the fact that they have to work a little harder to get your business. http://cashcuddler.com

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