Monday, March 3, 2014

What do you say...

when someone asks if you can do better on price?

That's what happened to me this weekend. A very nice woman came into our gallery. She spent a lot of time looking and we chatted a bit, mostly about the cold winter (she was visiting from a northern state) and the exorbitant price of propane. And then it happened... she asked if I could do better than $45 for a piggy bank.

What? Didn't we just talk about how the price of propane was KILLING us? I politely said no, that the piggy banks at $45 are our best sellers and will most likely go up in price this year. She passed on the piggy bank and purchased a small item.

These are things I would have liked to have said:

"No I can't sell it for less, we squeak by doing this for a living."

"Would you ask the grocery store if they can do better on the price of milk?"

"How would you feel if your employer said, today we are going to pay you a dollar less per hour?"

"Do you think this is a flea market or yard sale?"

Jeff would like to say, "I can certainly do better on price, how about $50?"

I am glad I don't have to have this conversation too often. If I did I would probably resort to some of the answers above! Not long after the "can I get it for less" person left, an older couple came in looking for a large mug. They had driven from Lumberton, NC to replace a mug purchased in Seagrove 20 years ago that had recently broken. They found what they liked and decided to buy two since they had driven all this way. No question on the price. This lovely, retired couple made my day.

Leave a comment, let me know how you respond to the "Will you take less?" question.


  1. It's always very awkward for me when people ask for discounts. How can they not know the question is insulting.

    I like Jeff's answer. It's funny and gets the point across.

  2. Oh, I forgot to give my answer.

    I only discount my seconds and I don't have any at this time. I never apologize for not giving a discount.

  3. Back when I was wholesaling I would always say that I couldn't undersell the shops I did business with.
    If I was asked to cut a price at our Co-op sale I would explain that this was a fundraiser and that if I cut my prices then the co-op got less. Some understood; others seemed to have no idea what I was talking about

  4. Love Jeff's reply!
    I'd discount seconds....but no further than I'd already marked them down!

    I can understand being asked "what is your best price on that?" (ie lower) if I'm selling secondhand/seconds...BUT!!!

  5. Ugh, these people! I was at Lark and Key last week and we were having this very same conversation. In Charlotte, the more money people have, the more of a discount they seem to think they are entitled to.
    Here's what I do, I say No........ Look straight at them, say nothing else, the awkward silence is fun for me :-)

  6. haha JEFFY, good ONE, perfect! I gotta remember that one, because FUK YOU might not seem polite in some quarters :)

  7. I have said the same thing as Jeff and then thanked them for offering to pay more. The back peddling is the fun part....
    Also- the relationship is over, no need to see them as a customer.

  8. Jeff's answer is the best! But, if you need to put it in perspective for them, you could say 'You want to pay me less than minimum wage?'.. which tells them that you might already be squeaking by AND that it's insulting to ask for a discount. And.. like Meredith said, if they need something of yours cheaper, they're likely not lifetime customers and probably don't appreciate handmade. I'm sorry that happened in your own shop. I expect that stuff at the state fair, and I always tell them to come back on the last day for potential discounts - but they never do, and I'm ok with that. ;)

    This is an amusing comment section. Love Jeff and Tracey's answers. I don't think I could say "No" but I will tell my husband, he would say things I couldn't because I don't like conflict. I always just say something like "that they are new pieces and I have another show next week" I might tell them to check my clearance section on my Etsy site, then they have to pay for shipping???

  10. It's only happened to me a couple of times but I remember feeling a bit shocked at the request (given where I live my prices are rock bottom to start with) then awkward and more than a bit PO'd. I gave in the first time but learned my lesson and said sorry, no, the second time. I realize some folks like to wheel and deal but for handcrafted wares it's inappropriate and insulting.

  11. I'm with Jeff. Better? $50 would be better for me. When they ask if my prices are firm, I say no, I'm about to raise them.

  12. You've already read my blog post about this issue last October but I love Jeff's answer and will use it when the opportunity arrises.

    Another answer that I'd like to give but haven't is "Sure, I can do better. How much below minimum wage do you think I deserve?"

  13. Thank for all the comments, great responses!

  14. I sell pottery at a farmer's market along with our produce and I cannot tell you how often people basically try to dicker with me on the prices. Better yet, I've had people ask me if I will take a price they throw out, which has been anywhere from $5-15 below what I have on the item. Most unfortunate at a craft/food/art show once a woman tried to basically tell me that I should trade some of her bread for a very large, expensive bowl. When I told her I don't tend to trade food goods for pots (the trade doesn't come out equal to me), she tried to tell me that I surely needed baked goods for the holidays. I think some people really don't realize how much work really goes into a piece and that if it's not the same as a box-store price, then we're just egotistical. Unless the piece has been sitting in inventory for a long time, or is a very evident second of one kind or another, I don't go down unless they buy like $300 worth of pots. The joys of retail, right?!


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