Is ‘Haggle culture’ here to stay?

I sell a lot online and have done for the past 15 years and over time I’ve noticed this ‘haggle culture’ creeping in, and now it’s almost every single buyer. The funniest incident I had recently selling online was when I was giving something away for free and the buyer asked if I could also deliver for free!

If I put $800, they offer $400. If I put $20, they offer $15 or $10. What is going on? This is not the culture I grew up in. Sure, if I’m buying a whole heap of stuff from someone, a shop or an individual, I’m going to ask for a deal, but when I’m buying one item, and it’s not a house or a car, where does this idea to haggle come from?

I notice it doesn’t happen at Coles or Woolworths. Or maybe it does! What is the origin of this new way of treating sellers?

Well, according to the BBC haggling is actually a definitive part of many cultures around the world. It’s not just about saving money, it’s a tradition. So, I guess, it’s just not a tradition I’m used to. It’s not been a part of my cultural heritage. I guess it works if the seller overprices the item, then the buyer tries to get it for less than it’s worth and they bargain back and forth, like a game, until a fair price is negotiated.

Photo by Niek van Son

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

But when you’ve already set a fair price because you’ve not grown up in a culture with ‘haggling’ as a part of your traditional behaviour, it can be quite confronting and upsetting.

Is it me who has to change? Should I start overpricing everything I sell online expecting the haggling? Maybe that’s the answer. Because explaining constantly that it’s already a fair price (even sometimes having the haggling buyer agree with me!) is exhausting and unsustainable.

Published by Alexis Howell

I'm an MBA graduate and longtime small business owner who is transitioning into blogging and podcasting. Pray for me yeah? I'm based in Sydney, Australia. I'm into writing, boxing, plant based food, songwriting, talking, meditation and reviewing online purchases.

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