Don’t Be a Cheapskate Buyer

Written By Steve

If you want to get a bad reputation at the flea market, be a cheapskate buyer.

There’s nothing more irritating to a seller than the cheapskate buyer who tries to become a repeat customer.  Here’s how you know if you’re a cheapskate buyer — you ask for a better price every time you attempt to buy something.  Yea, I know, some time ago a “know it all” convinced you that savvy shoppers always bargain — always offer a lower price or ask if you can do better on the price.  This is really bad advice.  It’s rude and brands you as an undesirable cheapskate.

Here’s a tip to keep in mind the next time you try getting a cheaper price — sellers know who you are and really don’t want to sell to you.  I know this for a fact as I’ve both sold at a flea market and continue helping a friend sell once a month.  Once we brand you as a cheapskate shopper, we NEVER, EVER give you a better price.  We hold our ground at the original price.  We don’t want you in the booth.  Got it???

What really bothers sellers is that cheapskate buyers automatically believe that they’ll get a lower price by simply asking or demanding one.  It becomes a bad habit that needs to be broken.  They never stop to consider that the price on the object is already a very favorable price.  To cheapskate buyers, the act of bargaining and saving a few dollars is more important than owning the object.  And like a disease, they tend to spread it to other shoppers by always bragging about how they beat the seller out of $3.00, $5.00 or some other amount.

With rare exception, the vast majority of flea market sellers are barely making much money on the stuff they sell.  They have to spend money driving around to find the stuff, they have to pay for it, they have to take it  home and clean it and research value, they have to price it, pack it, drive it to the flea market, rent a selling space, unpack it, and display it.  And then the cheapskate buyer comes along and tries to buy it for less.  It’s INSULTING and RUDE.

There are the occasional items that are overpriced and asking for a better price is warranted.  But this is the exception and not the rule.

No, I won't take $10 each for these three mechanical banks.  They're marked $40 each and if you don't buy them some other shopper will come along and buy them.
No, I won’t take $10 each for these three mechanical banks. They’re marked $40 each and if you don’t buy them some other shopper will come along and buy them.

When some cheapskate asks me if I’ll take $10 for an item marked $15 I generally tell them this:  “I can’t believe you’ll pass on this item because of $5.  Yet, you’ll stop at Starbucks on the way home and waste that $5 on some grossly overpriced, sugar-laden latte that is not only bad for you but that will go through your system in a couple of hours.  No, I won’t take $10.”  Sometimes this really irritates the buyer.  Who cares?  We don’t want cheapskate buyers like this.

I haven’t been a reseller for several years.  I’m a collector.  I shop the flea markets.  And when I come across something I really want, I pay the marked price with rare exception.  I do this for at least two reasons.  One, it’s worth the price marked and two, I want the seller to not only remember me but to look for items I collect and bring them to future flea markets and hold them for me.  If I was a cheapskate buyer, the seller would treat me like the plague in the future.

There are times when I ask for a better price.  This happens when I feel the asking price is too high given the value and condition of the item.

Now, there are several ways to ask for a better price:

  1. Will you take $XX dollars for this?  Here you are naming the price you’ll pay.
  2. Can you do better on the price?
  3. Is this your lowest price?
  4. I have only $XX dollars, will you take this for the item?
  5. What is your best price on this item?

Here’s another tip:  The best approach is #5.  Forget the other 4.

If you can’t break the cheapskate habit, then do your shopping about 30 minutes before the flea market ends and you’ll likely find sellers willing to make better deals.  But always remember, you are buying stuff that hundreds, if not thousands, of other shoppers have passed up.  If you take this approach you are telling sellers that you are either lazy and can’t get up in time to shop earlier or that you are a tightwad cheapskate who holds onto dollar bills like they are gold.

Remember, sellers are not in the charity business.  They are there to make some money.  They’ve worked hard to bring you an array of desirable items to buy.  With rare exception, pay them what they are asking.


1 thought on “Don’t Be a Cheapskate Buyer”

Leave a Reply