Come All Ye Hagglers Near and Far, A Warning Take from Me

Two or three years ago now, a pair of women who said they were visiting the area from out of state were browsing cookbooks and crafts. When the time came for check-out, one stepped forward with four books in her hand.

“I want these,” she said, indicating three of them, “but I don’t want to pay $6 for this one.” She held up a local cuisine cookbook in pristine condition. “That’s too high.”

Her manner being somewhat brusque, I swallowed my rising hackles and said, “Tell you what; I’ll look it up online and see if I can come down a bit.”

I looked it up. The cheapest price was $9.

Now, had I had a better cup of coffee that morning, been less annoyed by her assertion that I was trying to cheat her, or otherwise not found myself suddenly holding the upper hand, I might have just shown her the screen and said, “Do you want it for $6 now?”

Instead, I said, “Well, whadda ya know?! It was priced wrong!” Then I crossed out $6 and wrote in $9, smiled less sweetly than saccharine-like at the woman, and showed her the online price range.

“I am assuming you don’t want it any more?” My voice probably sounded like honey dripping off a razor blade.

Her friend laughed out loud. “Caught in your own trap!” she crowed, which I suspect did not make the poor embarrassed woman feel any better. She paid for her other books, her friend paid for hers (without haggling) and off they went.

Looking back on the moment, I suppose I should have been grateful she was buying inside a bookstore at all. But used bookstore owners, antique store owners, handmade craft sellers and other people who hear on an hourly basis that their prices are too high, that they’re dealing dishonestly–well, we have been known to snap. You want honesty? We can give you honesty….

So hagglers take warning: when you ask “Would you take less?” you might get more than you bargained for.


Filed under bookstore management, humor, Life reflections, publishing, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA

11 responses to “Come All Ye Hagglers Near and Far, A Warning Take from Me

  1. Glen Moody

    I love it when they ask if I will “match Amazon.” When I check, as you did, sometimes their lowest price with shipping is ten times my asking price. When I agree to match the AMZ lowest price, their reactions are “priceless.” I’ve been dealing with this for nearly half a century, and, of course, it is now worse than ever.

  2. Anne

    I wish I could have seen her face,good for you Wendy,people to not relize what a bargin they are getting..

  3. I used to do the same thing when working the cash register in the student dining hall. Some little schmuck would complain I’d overcharged, so I’d recalculate….and include ALL the crackers and butter which I hadn’t charged for the first time around.

  4. Janice Brooks-Headrick

    Don’t forget to mention that shipping and handleing will cost them and additional $4, and they don’t have to wait for the mailman.

    Janice Brooks-Headrick 865-429-1783 Storyteller Author Instigator Timeline: Email:

  5. Maggie

    Love this! So many people expect “shop” service and selection at yard sale or thrift shop prices. I have a regular who is happy to buy up Harlequin/Silhouette titles at 3 for $1.00, but balks at paying regular prices (half of cover price) for other romance titles. She say she doesn’t want to pay that much when she can get them for 50 cents at yard sales. I don’t argue with her, but most yard sales don’t have a hundreds of titles lined up on a shelf in alphabetical order and subcategorized for you, and you certainly don’t get the comfort of standing in an air-conditioned building while you look at yard sale books!

  6. Kathy

    Ah Wendy I love your sense of hummer. There are many a person that want something for nothing and hate it when you sell them something for nothing but in reality you are giving it to them. Don’t sale yourself short on anything…..people will pay…..when they are approached with a “well this is what the price is” attitude. Hang in there…you will be making a million before you know it.

  7. Good day, Wendy; I’m reading your book, loving it, and now will be a regular visitor here. The great work you do is much appreciated.

    Regarding the haggler, well done.

  8. I’ve had this happen a couple times myself already, and I’ve had my own shop open less then six months. What are you going to do? You gotta make a living.

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