Americans tend to be very shy about asking for better prices. Maybe it’s part of the reason we accept having obnoxious pitchmen shouting Sale! Sale! Sale! at us. It compensates for our own reticence to initiate a deal on our own.
When I returned from two-and-a-half years of living in Cameroon, I couldn’t pay retail for anything. As a shopper, I’d gone native. Negotiating price had become second nature — a matter of pride, no less.
There were times I’d be in the checkout line at a grocery store, looking a box of Junior Mints and thinking, I bet I could get that for 50 cents less.
And, yes, there were times when I couldn’t help myself. Shoes. I’d ask to speak with the manager, and sure enough, they’d be willing to bring down the price. Suddenly I’d be transported back to Cameroon, feeling like I’d just scored a sweet deal on some cassava gari.
It never hurts to ask. Unless it hurts to be thought of as a schmuck, which is what I started to worry about.
These days I don’t go into African-deal-maker mode unless the price is more than, say, $100 and I have reason to believe that the retailer has an incentive to deal.
And here’s a reason to believe: If it’s in stock, retailers probably want to get rid of it.
If you are shopping for a bike or cycling accessories, just ask, “Can you work with me on the price some?”
Or my favorite: “How about $225, cash, out the door?” Which is code for: (wink wink) It’s none of my business how you account for this in your books.
I’m for a strong cycling industry. I don’t want to twist anyone’s arm, or make the wrench-turners go hungry. But times are tough all over. And they can always say no.
Sometimes retailers would love to give you lower price, but they can’t tell you unless you ask. That’s because they can’t advertise prices lower than what the manufacturer has set as the minimum price — the minimum advertised price (MAP). The bike shops are prohibited by contract lawyers and/or guilty consciences from telling you, There really could be a lower price. Just ask! Don’t walk away. Please! I won’t think of you as a schmuck!
But what about online retailers of bikes and cycling accessories? You can’t exactly say to them in a low voice, Pssst… I’ll make you an offer — as much as they’d like you to.
Bike Shop Hub has figured out a way to let you ask (on certain items) for a lower price.
Remember what I said about, if it’s in stock, they probably want to get rid of it? With this inventory reduction sale, you’ll go to the product page, and you’ll see the standard price, but you’ll also see a button just begging to be clicked.
On these items, you can call for the bottom-line price, or have it sent to you by e-mail. It’s not exactly a negotiation, but it’s a price they can’t advertise.
The inventory reduction sale is in effect for as long as Bike Shop Hub no longer feels like they have too much inventory:
If you get a good deal there, maybe you’ll feel emboldened to go try it in person at a bike shop.