Haggling Over Price And Cheapening A Brand

With the economy taking a dive, many consumers are now trying to haggle for everyday items–much like the way car buying has traditionally been. The Chicago Tribune has more:

Their ranks are growing. Half of consumers surveyed in April by BIGresearch reported they have started haggling over auto repairs and appliance and electronics purchases. More recently, nearly 60 percent of Britons surveyed said they are now more likely to try to negotiate discounts than they were a few months ago.
That doesn’t surprise Margot Bogue, senior vice president at Chicago advertising agency Cramer-Krasselt. “People are saying, ‘Oh, my God! What is happening?’ Their confidence has become rocked,” said Bogue. Cramer-Krasselt is recommending its clients adjust, too, by adopting more flexible- or tiered-pricing systems to give customers the psychic and economic payoff they crave.

Are you a haggler? Can a well-respected brand (or store) survive if customers decide the true value of an item is much less than what’s being asked? Is America turning into a third-world street market?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. I wish someone would haggle with me about our house that’s for sale. We’ve dropped the price twice already, and we’re ready to deal.

  2. A friend recently commented that “everyone’s life is now 25% off.” I think that’s true, and I think everyone needs to adjust their notion of what “true value” means today. I think Bougue’s advice is sound, and vendors – of anything – who stubbornly hold the line on price are going to find themselves with fewer sales and less satisfied customers. That said, anyone who thinks it’s tacky to haggle is welcome to pay list.
    I think there are two reasons why customers’ new-found willingness to bargain should have no consequences for brands. First, if virtually the entire economy is deflating, the consequences for one brand relative to its peers should be nil. A falling tide strands all boats. Second, it’s a rare brand that never faces price pressure. People haggle over the price of Freuds and Ferraris without diluting those brands. It’s just become more open now.