was: Store security
This thread is very interesting to me as a vendor for many years
at craft shows. I sold paintings and jewelry, nothing over $500. In
all those years, I found that the customer who was most casually
dressed was the most likely to buy, and the least likely to
question the price. In fact, an long-time friend (wealthy) told me
that her rich friends told her she should always try to bargain the
price down. I assured her that my prices were fair, and that there
was no need to bargain. (She did buy the item at my price, and I
hope she never believed those rich friends again.)
At The open air street market in London on the Bayswater road, some
1 mile long on Sundays, I dealt with an international clientele. When
anyone stopped to look and talk, their appearance never entered my
mind, so it never was an issue.
However what was, was the African coloured visitor to London who
automatically assumed the asking price was the starting price. There
were regular times when i had to say this IS my normal price the
same to everyone, I make ALL this and its my bread and butter. If you
have a friend who comes to my stall, the price is the same. If you
buy 5 or more then I might offer you a discount, NOT otherwise.
I finished up having a sign written to that effect. And just pointed
them to it.
Once I moved to a market nearer home, Bayswater was 120 miles each
way from my home in Dorset, it was also never an issue.
Edward- I grew up all over the world. With the exception of the US,
Canada, the British Isles, and northern Europe bargaining is just a
normal part of doing business.
If I were doing business in a Mediterranean country I would have
higher posted prices to allow for some room to dicker. Here in the
US, no way.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Bargaining for a better is a cultural thing in my experience. In
living in a large University town, I have sold jewelry to people from
all over. Some people, just expect that they can haggle the price
down as that is how it is ALWAY done back home. It is not a good or
bad thing. Just a thing. Sellersin those areas always increase their
prices above what they will sell for so people buying from them are
taught this is normal. I think they are shocked to learn that some
sellers do not inflate prices just for this reason. Especially when
they come to America where everything is always "On Sale!". I treat
it more like an education opportunity and a way to get to know me.
Gerald A. Livings Livingston Jewelers
I generally agree that discounting is often counterproductive, and
except for active duty military, police officers and other first
responders (people who have volunteered to run into burning
buildings to rescue people they don't know) I seldom do it. Unless it
is something that has been sitting around a while. If it's been in my
case for more than six months or a year and someone is finally
showing some interest, I'll definitely let it go for less than the
marked price. I need to get that money out of its sleepy place and
put it into something that *will* sell.
I won't go into the details about why this is a sound business
practice (a quick search of basic business administration lessons
will bring up reams of text written about it), it is important to
keep your inventory moving. The rule of thumb for jewelry is that
inventory should be turned at least once, preferably twice a year.
In other words, if you have $1000 worth of inventory, you should be
selling $2000 a year. Anything that you own that's older than a
year, is costing you money. Keep it for two or three years, and it
has cost you more than the 20% you refuse to discount it. It costs
you because it's keeping money tied up so it can't be used to buy
things that will sell faster, without discounting. On the other hand,
hot sellers - things that do turn once or twice a year or more -
shouldn't be discounted, they should be replaced as quickly as
Managing inventory turn is absolutely critical to running a
profitable business. Discounting is often the grease that keeps the
wheels turning. Why do you think major shoe stores will sometimes
sell $200 shoes for $50 (well below their cost)? They need to cut
their losses and buy stuff that will sell, not gather dust. These big
companies don't do anything by mistake, including discounting. Notice
also that their hottest sellers (the ones you really want) are never
I don't discount custom work or repair work generally, but I'm
sometimes a sucker for a hard luck story. I try to give something
important away to someone that is truly in need or deserving at least
once every four months. I find it's good for my soul.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that the worst business advice I
ever got was - "Never Discount". Never is a really long time, and
sometimes it's just the right thing to do. For a myriad of different
A good way to handle it when someone asks for a discount on a hot
seller or something new (neither of which you should discount) is to
show them something similar you have that you wouldn't mind
discounting. If they continue to give you a hard time, tell them that
if you still have the item they want in a year, you'll be happy to
give them a discount, but until then, you just can't afford to.
By doing this, you keep your integrity intact by showing that you
value your work and at the same time, that you're a pragmatic
businessperson. You also put them in a position that they must decide
whether to risk that it's something other people will find just as
cool as they do and whether someone else might be willing to pay full
price before you're willing to discount it. If they are looking for a
bargain, you showed your willingness to bargain with them and maybe
you'll get rid of something that's costing you money. More often that
not, I find that they'll buy what they really want at the marked
price, but they'll feel better about it.
Everybody wins. That's the secret to successful negotiation.
When someone asked for a discount, I always thanked them for asking.
I would say, sometimes I can, on this piece, I am sorry, it is
already the lowest price. I cannot pay people to buy jewelry...
No fricken issue. Not an insult. Just a harmless question.
One show that Dr. Phil did was on teaching women to negotiate for
betterprices on merchandise. Thanks, Doc.
No follow up show on how people politely decline the request...
Really, like, do that at Walmart? Or your
Physician, Dentist, auto mechanic?
No, the jeweler, yeah, an independent merchant struggling to make
it, yeah, yeah, that is the ticket!!!
If you react, it is just your own lack of self worth slapping you in
I see posts on Facebook about how much blood, sweat, and tears went
into making, and people want the customer to see the struggle to
gain skill, nauseating.
And some of the jewelry these people show, poor quality
craftsmanship, mundane design. Being insulted by someone bargaining
might be second to why aperson posts poorly made jewelry and does
not feel embarrassment at the lack of sophistication their "friends"
I see poor design and poor craftsmanship followed by posts of how
wonderful the piece is by their Facebook "friends".