Small talk, big savings - MoneySense

Small talk, big savings

A little chit-chat can go a long way



So I’ve been trying to negotiate everything I buy for the month, with limited (read: dismal) success. Food is a non-starter, I’m not in need of any big-ticket items and the beautiful summer weather has kept me out of shopping centers completely.

However, an upcoming wedding had me stepping into a retailer today for some fancy duds. My game plan was to pick up a new shirt, new pants and a tie. After a few minutes of looking lost amid the sea of apparel, a saleswoman offered a hand. We got to chatting and I guessed (correctly) that she was from the Philippines, and when I told her I’ve been there we were instant friends.

We chatted while I tried on various outfits, and when I found the right combination I made a big show of looking at the price tags and looking crestfallen. “I love these clothes but this will break my budget,” I said. “Can we do anything about the prices?”

Turns out I was in luck. The shirt (normally $55) was 25% off, and a tie sale had just ended a few days ago. “I’ll extend the sale for you,” she said. “You need to save for your next trip to Boracay.”

She couldn’t do anything for me regarding the pants, unfortunately. But at $85, I felt it was a reasonable price. (They’re pretty sweet pants).

All said, I saved $40.

The lesson: if you’ve got time, spend a few minutes chatting up the salesperson if plan on negotiating. It makes them much more willing to cut you some slack.