negotiate prices?

Joined Dec 18, 2010
It it customary to ask for a better price on a small appliance in a restaurant supply store? I still have a crazy interest in a high-end induction cooker. The prices I've seen:

Local Vermont/Mass. supply store, sticker price = $549

Same store's fall sale catalog = $499

Internet/Colorado store: $409 inc. shipping

Would $450 be a reasonable request?
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Long ago I learned from a mentor words that should be engraved on every little boys watchfob: You have to ask.

All they can do is say no. Not the end of the world. And you have the mail-order back up (which seems to be the best price anyway---why aren't you going with it?)
Joined Dec 18, 2010
I agree with the "you have to ask; all they can say is no" approach, but I'm always afraid that if I low-ball then any future discussions are kaput.  One of my local restaurant supplies gives a 10% discount to restaurants, chefs, used-to-be chefs, and virtually anyone who looks reasonably intelligent.  But more than that is not worth discussing with them; they just won't do it.  Since your supplier had the item on sale previously, I'd go in (looking as humble as possible) and tell them that you knew about the sale but couldn't buy at that time... but ask if they could extend that price now.  If they can't/won't then I'd seriously look at the internet offer, ensure that they are BOTH reliable vendors and selling the "real deal" and not some knock-off, and then buy it from them.  $409 + shipping + insurance + tax will still be less than $500 + tax.  All you'll need to do is the waiting.

Like you, I try to support local businesses... when they offer what I want and will be reasonably competetive.
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Joined Sep 18, 2008
When I'm "negotiating", I ALWAYS let local businesses know what I CAN get it for elsewhere. If they want to match it, great.

Buying local does many things:
  • It helps keep the unemployment rate down,
  • It generates sales tax revenues for the local government
  • It helps the local economy, on average $1 spent for local businesses turns over at least five (5) times before leaving the community
Joined Jan 27, 2010
For me, I also do support local brands but if it will be more expensive than the imported ones, I don't have a choice to buy the imported ones than the local ones. :)
Joined Sep 5, 2008
I agree with Pete: tell the salesperson your real story: you know you can purchase it for that much or that much here or there, but you'd rather buy it from them as they're local, would they be willing to offer you a better price?

As Donald Trump says, if you never ask you'll never get.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
I, too, am a big believer in buying locally when feasible. Not only for all the reasons given, but for the service level you achieve. But service comes with a price.

Looking at the figures you gave, I would expect the local place, given all the information, to at least match it's own fall sales price. That would be a $50 discount.

But let's look at the relative figures. With a $549 list price, and assuming the restaurant supply store is buying direct from the manufacturer, their purchase price is about $357. The internet site can sell it for $409, because they don't have the overheads and business costs of the local shop (in fact, I'd bet a good steak to a stale doughnut that the internet "store" has it drop shipped). So it's unreasonable to expect the local store to match that price. But, $150 is a lot to make on such a unit, particularly if that sale leads to you becoming a regular customer. I would expect they could go to about $450, but that $475 is more reasonable. That would be the best deal for both parties (which should be the goal of any negotiation).

Negotiation should not be thought of in terms of "how cheaply can I get it." Rather, it is the art of the possible. And that's what you should be looking at; what is the best possible total deal. Among the things that go into "total," is the warranty coverage. If you have a problem with the internet-bought unit, you'll have to ship it back to the manufacturer. With the local place, just return it. How much is that worth to you? Learning to use the machine is another aspect. With the internet you're on your own. With the local store there is back-up expertise. And so on.

So, let's assume you can get it for $475. While 65 bucks is nothing to sneer at, is it worth the loss of service and good will? Only you can answer that, of course.
Joined Dec 24, 2010
As a bakeware manufacturer, it's refreshing to see this level of conversation in a forum. While most of our buyers are "local" businesses, we have always agreed that as a consumer, you are almost always better off buying from a store front rather than purchasing on line (hope our on-line customers forgive me for saying that). In the event of problems or as noted, advanced training in the use of a product, face to face dialogue is almost always best.

We do our best to handle issues in house, but it can never replace that face to face business transaction.

Paying a little more for that peace of mind is often well rewarded.

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