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Haggling. It’s not the done thing, is it? People associate haggling with other cultures – the word conjures up a scenes of genial street vendors in far away lands, trying to meet somewhere in the middle, with a cheeky wink and a handshake. When they find themselves in said far away land, many Brits are happy to have a go – but when they arrive home in the land of price tags and online card payments, people aren’t so keen to test the patience of the salesperson.
Is it a cultural hangover from the days of rationing, I wonder? When people who tried to get more than they were entitled to would find themselves outcast, or even prosecuted? It’s hard to say – certainly I don’t often find myself in negotiations for the majority of things I purchase.
Suspicious of the exorbitant figure they quoted, he rang back the following day…and guess what?
Wedding stuff is definitely the exception, though. Most of the sole traders, firms and businesses we’ve encountered whilst organising this wedding have been of stout character. Most offer prices based on a realistic breakdown of their costs, coupled with a reasonable hourly rate for their labour. Most of them.
I think everyone probably knows a similar story, but I was chatting with our wedding photographer – the excellent Nik Bryant, of Nik Bryant Photography who told me of a venue he’d phoned to get a price for his own wedding reception. Suspicious of the exorbitant figure they quoted, he rang back the following day, to get a price for a family party, based on exactly the same requirements he’d previously given them. Of course, the price was much less, almost half as much. Seems that sticking the word ‘wedding’ in front of a product is sometimes viewed by the unscrupulous as a licence to take the piss.
It’s all about identifying when you can legitimately haggle, as opposed to being stingy.
With that in mind, it’s worth remembering that a price is a contract between you and someone else, the terms of which have to be agreed by both parties. Wedding products and services operate in a very competitive market, and the supplier will be keen for your business. Of course, you don’t want to haggle on everything – it’s a fine line between getting the best deal you can, and simply insulting someone who’s prepared to work hard for your special day. For example, asking a professional photographer to price match with your mate’s brother who said he’d do it for £100 is not just rude, it shows a chronic misunderstanding of what you’re buying (another real life example taken from Nik!)
A price is a contract between you and someone else, the terms of which have to be agreed by both parties.
A good example of when to haggle would be our negotiation with a local baker, who will be supplying a pasty buffet for our evening guests. The price given was high, but fair. We politely asked if there was any chance of a discount, given the size of the order. The baker agreed, and knocked roughly £35 off the total. We’ve saved a few quid this way, but it’s all about identifying when you can legitimately haggle, as opposed to being stingy.
Family man from Bolton, guitar teaching exercise enthusiast, due to get married any minute now so watch this space.