The art of negotiation
Negotiating a lower price is par for the course at yard sales and flea markets, but there's a way to do it that will increase your chances of getting a great discount.
- Don't insult the merchandise. Sellers know their items and have priced them accordingly. If you feel the price is too high ask the dealer if there's any room for movement. If they say no and you don't feel the item is worth the price, don't buy it. Leave your phone number in case they change their mind later.
- Remember that vendors love to sell items in bulk. If you're interested in a few items ask for a price for the whole lot. Many sellers will give a better discount if they're able to unload several items at once, particularly if the pieces aren't in high demand.
- Later in the day is the best time to negotiate. In the morning, merchants have the whole day ahead of them and want to give their items a chance to sell. If you see something in the morning that you feel is too expensive, come back and check later to see if it's still there. If it is, the seller might be willing to lower the price.
- Have realistic expectations. Many vendors will negotiate a little, but don't expect them to slash their prices too significantly. They're trying to make a living and still need to make a profit.
There's nothing like the thrill of the hunt and the satisfaction of finding that oh-so-perfect piece. Follow the above tips to be sure you not only find great items for the garden, but that you get them home for a great price.
Lauren Flanagan is a freelance writer and prop stylist in Toronto, specializing in antiques, home décor and travel. Her work has appeared in several Canadian publications including Style at Home, where she was the assistant design editor, and Suite 101.