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Twenty Ways I Get Lower Prices at Tag Sales

Or “How to Haggle Like a Pro” or “Haggling 101” or “Haggling for Dummies”.

Tag saling (yes, I’m using it like a verb) is a lot of fun for me. I get out early in the morning, I get to see new neighborhoods, and I get to hunt for some junk good stuff. This year so far the most exciting thing I found are the two little oil paintings I found at an estate sale. They were $3. each and the girl’s uncle had painted them in the 50’s. Darn. She knew who painted them so no chance of having found a million dollar painting. A guy named Vic painted them. Here they are:

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Aren’t these sweet? I love them.It’s this kind of find that makes tag sales fun to go to.

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1. If there is a price on an item that I think is a little too high, let’s say $4. I say, ‘That’s a fair price but I didn’t want to spend that much. I was thinking more along the lines of $3.” Then the person either responds that the $3. is okay or that he still wants the $4.
2. If I see an item with a price that I think is grossly too much money - like about twice as much as I think is fair, let’s say $20. I’ll say, “I think my son/daughter/niece would like that but I don’t want to pay that much just in case they don’t like it. I wouldn’t want to spend more than  $8 or $9.” I want to convey to the sellers that the item is not for me and I don’t want to be out a lot of money, but I’m willing to take a chance if it’s a lower price.
3. Sometimes when I enter the yard/house whatever, I’ll say, “Are the prices negotiable?”. If they say, “yes”, there is your opening.
4. Likewise, “Is that price firm?” If they say, “No” then you can counter with whatever.
5. Another way to say you want lower prices is to just say it. “I didn’t want to spend that much”. People can respect that. Remember, they are buyers also.
6. Here’s something that works also…after some dickering you might say, “Is that the lowest you can go?”
7. If something is less than perfect (everything is) I’ll say something like this, “Well, it’s a little rusted over here but otherwise it’s in good shape.” So you are giving a back-handed compliment and conveying it isn’t worth the asking price. Now the ball is in the other person’s court.
8. How about this? “I really like this but I’m running out of money. Would you take (fill in the blank). One time I had only 75 cents left and told the seller that. They let me have the item anyway, even though it was $3. Most people want to be nice.
9. I keep dollar bills in a little  over-the-shoulder purse for easy access. Also, I find it hard to ask for something to be grossly less than the asking price and then hand them a $20 bill and expect change.
10. If a tag sale is both Saturday and Sunday, the prices are usually a lot lower on Sunday (or Saturday if the tag sale is Friday and Saturday). I can tell you I’ve gotten some marvelous deals and even free stuff on the last day of a tag sale. “Just take it”. These people are now thinking they have to haul all of this stuff back in or dispose of it somehow and are more likely to let the stuff go for cheap.,
11. Sometimes, I’ll go into a tag sale and there is a big sign that says, “No reasonable offer refused.” That can be tricky because you want an item for the lowest possible price and you are not sure what that price is, so I start plenty low, like half, and then proceed from there depending on how much I want something. I’ve seen things I really wanted but the people would not come down and I walked away without it.I hate that. However, if I just can’t get it out of my mind, I’ll buy it anyway.
12. You have to be careful not to insult the seller on his precious possessions (at times I’ll say to myself ‘I’d throw most of this away’. It’s that bad.) But they might have that ONE THING that I want so I try to be respectful of what they perceive as valuable, especially if I want something and want it for less than their asking.
13. You can finesse the seller a little on your way in to the sale, probably to your benefit. I like to say good morning with a smile. I’m usually pretty happy to be out tagging so it’s easy for me to smile and say, “Hi, how are you? It’s not too hot today for the tag sale” or “you have a good day for your sale”. So I start out this special relationship of buyer/seller on an up note.
14. Along the same lines as a pleasant greeting but with a more personal note, a compliment can go a long way. Compliment the house or the yard. “You have a beautiful yard here.” One time I saw an exceptionally neat garage and said, “ What a neat and organized garage.” People like to have others recognize their hard work and accomplishments. BUT it has to be an honest compliment or don’t bother. Most people can see right through phony stuff.
15. Pleasantries. These fall into the categories of the previous two. These people have worked hard to put their stuff out, clean it (sometimes not), and price it until the wee hours of the morning. Then to be woken up at 6:30 A.M. by “early birds” who are trying to get ahead of everyone else. So they are TIRED and they don’t want someone coming along criticizing their stuff and wanting to get stuff for nothing. If you try to put yourself in their place, it’s easier to sympathize with them and be pleasant.
16. I try to be respectful. It’s THEIR stuff. If you demean something of theirs you are insulting THEM not just that one item. “Wow, you have some neat stuff. Are the prices flexible?” That sounds like a compliment, doesn’t it? But what you are asking is for them to LOWER their price.
17. Sometimes if the seller’s prices are way out of whack, I’ll say, “These (blank) are usually sold at tag sales for (blank).” Like hardcover books. Some people think they are worth $5. but in my experience, they’re not. They are worth $1. or $2. if they are current. Of course, there will be the odd person who simply HAS TO HAVE a certain book and will be willing to pay the $5. but in general books, CD’s, and DVD movies are worth about $1.
18. I almost always ask for a lower price. If an item is $2. I’ll say, “Would you take a dollar?” or if an item is $4. I’ll say, “Would you take $3?” Even if the price is fair, I have a limited amount of money to spend say, $40 and I don’t want to run out of money too soon. I might find something I really want later on, so I get really frugal while tagging even though everything is much less than what you would pay in a store.
19. Sometimes, it’s serendipity. One time I saw two unfinished end tables in really good condition. It looked like they were never finished and never used. They weren’t marked. This can be tricky. You want to give the absolutely lowest price they will take without being insulting (like I’ll give you a quarter). I only wanted one table. So I said, “How about $4?” And the girl said, “For both?” After I recovered, I stammered, “Yes, for both.” She said, “Sure”. Wow. That was nice. Each table was only $2. Wow.
20.  Finally, I may want to go back to a tag sale later or the next day and I want to leave on a positive note so I like to say goodbye and have a good day and if I got some special bargain, thanks. I hope that these tips have helped you out. When you are out there tagging, just remember I’m out there trying my best to get good prices, too.
Best wishes

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Hi, I'm Linda and I am the writer, crafter, and chief-cook-and-bottle-washer of this blog. Hope you will join me for some fun and it's all about fun. What if the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about.

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  1. Lots of great tips! Thanks for sharing them and stopping by The Checkered Apple.

  2. Super good ideas! I did a post on some sales I went to today and the goodies I purchased. I must admit I am not a good dickerer (like that word?) Now Mr. Ken is and he does it well. One of the sales I went to--they were giving the books away! For me that is great but i need another book like I need a hole in my head so I left them there. :(

    Have a super weekend.


  3. Great advice...thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for the tips, some of them were new to me, I hope I get to use them soon:)


  5. Great post! Thanks for sharing such great tips. We're featuring it on our Facebook page. :)


  6. Awesome tips...thanks.


  7. Love tag saling -- it is a verb! Good tips! Thanks so much for sharing on Busy Monday at A Pinch of Joy. Hope to see you again soon!

  8. Those are some great tips! I've never been much of a "haggler," but these are very easy suggestions!

  9. Hi Linda,

    Just wanted to BUZZ by and let you know this is going to be featured at our party which goes live tomorrow night.

    Thanks so much for linking up.

    The Busy Bee's,
    Myrna and Joye.