Have you ever seen a deal at a store that you passed on only to wish you took them up on it later? At various times throughout the years, I’ve seen Home Depot, Lowes, and other big box retailers offering 10% off your purchase if you open a store credit card. Historically, I’ve always passed on these offers primarily because I didn’t want to increase my credit, thus possibly harming my credit score. Secondarily, my purchase was usually like $150 and it’s not worth my time and effort to save $15 once. Finally, it’s just another piece of my personal data floating around out there, another card to carry, another account someone could hack and run up a bill, etc. Well, of late, now that I’ve completed my most recent (and hopefully FINAL) refinance on the house by doing a no-cost refi [awesome deal getting a great refi with nothing out of pocket], I don’t care about my credit as much as I used to. If I go from an 800 to a 790, I’m not losing any sleep, especially if there are significant savings to be had.
So, finally, a large home project rolled around – new flooring! After mulling over various options and offerings, we landed on a particular type of flooring and decided it was easy enough that I’d install it. But when adding in the flooring, supplies (knives, leveling agent and other odds and ends I could use like lightbulbs, HVAC filters and all my other routine purchases), the total bill was like $900. I knew that in the past, Home Depot had offered 10% off when opening a store card, but they were not offering that deal at this time. When I asked if they’d do that now to entice me to purchase, the initial reply was that all they were offering was “no interest” for 18 months or something. That doesn’t do anything for me since I have money and pay my credit card bills in full each month. So, I said, “Look, I could go online, buy a discount gift card off Plastic Jungle or CardPool for 7% off tonight, order the flooring and have it shipped to the store for free. I’m willing to give you the commission and make the purchase tonight for the same deal you guys offer at various points throughout the year”. The associate said, “Let me talk to my manager” and winked. I think he already knew his manager would say yes, and he did.
So, Boom! $90 saved for simply throwing out my point of view, a reasoned rational offer that I should not have to spend MORE money and pay full price when a perfectly simple solution exists online where I’d pay less. Now, what they didn’t know was that we waited until the last minute to finally select the particular style and color and had next weekend identified to do the work before a party we’re having in February. So, I was bluffing. By ordering a gift card online (which you CAN get an electronic gift card instantly), I still had to wait 7-10 “business days” for the materials to ship, whereas the store had it in stock. But who cares!? They got their sale and commission, I got my savings and everyone’s happy.
I already make sure I buy gift cards in advance for purchases I know I make each year, usually carrying at least a Lowes, Home Depot, Starbucks, Target and a few other gift cards around at any given time. I just leave them in my car. I save hundreds of dollars a year doing this since they’re usually anywhere from 5-10% off (plus the 1% off I save on all of the non-grocery items I get 6% off on, so sometimes, I actually just use my Amex 6% off card and buy cards right in the store for the same discount!). But when I have a major purchase that exceeds the gift card I might have in hand or have a time-sensitive purchase like this, why not try haggling?
While you may not want to open another credit card, this just goes to show though, that there is flexibility and creativity that can be used any time, especially for large purchases, if you’re polite and frame your situation correctly. Store associates want a commission and managers often have the leeway to discount something to make a sale happen.
Do You Have In-Store Haggling Stories to Share?