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It really depends on where you’re shopping. If you’re shopping somewhere where haggling is considered normal, then by all means, ask for a discount if you like. As someone that has started five retail businesses, grew them, and sold them - I would direct you to the sale rack that has discounted aged inventory clearly marked. A healthy business carrying the proper amount of relevant inventory has no need to discount. The next customer will pay full price. It’s been my experience that hagglers are generally the most time-consuming, least profitable, and least loyal customers.




Retail customers can indeed be problematic, esp when trying to eek out the best deal by paying with their cell-phone instead of cash or credit card, but so can a retail store’s staff. The staff at my primary source for groceries for some reason believe it is ok to ask me what I’m planning on doing the the stuff I buy … seriously … one day I purchased four 2 lb blocks of cheese on sale

Staff: What are you going to do with all that cheese?
Me: ??? (wondering what they think I do w/cheese!!!) …lol

Still that’s a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches.

Many moons ago my wife was on a two week trip so my son and I had to survive on my cooking. So based on outdoor Boy Scout menus, I went down to the store and bought bananas and other stuff for a grill or camp fire. The kid at the checkout looked at the stuff and said are you going camping?. Thought to myself, worse.

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A few of the stores I worked at had many different ethnic groups, and I found out that bargaining/hagglers is just plain part of their culture… I had one (great tech) of the same ethnic group I had to deal with that was crazy hard to get them to buy anything, until my tech told me to raise the price and then show them a discount (back down to the original price and as long as they saw a discount, they would buy… Sold a lot of tires to them afterwards…
Had another ethnic group that (I figured out) you had to get aggressively rude with them in order to sell them anything… Became a challenge and kinda fun (I get bored easy) as long as no upper management was around… lol… but that was only for a couple stores…

But I 100% agree, they are the most time-consuming, least profitable, and least loyal customers to deal with in the long run…

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On a trip to turkey and Egypt, one of the ladies was negotiating for the purchase of a rug. Back and forth they went as is a custom for rug dealers. When she finally made her last offer, the guy threw up his hands and said how can I survive on that low price? She responded allah will provide. Sale done.

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When I was about 12-years old (1962), my scout troop was having a weekend camp out behind our church and we also had bananas (Boy Scout Super Food). After I fried up some bacon and eggs, I fried up a couple of bananas, the scout master thought I was crazy, until he tasted that wonderful caramelized treat. It did not take long until all the bananas were being fried up… My wife loves them now too and we still have then often…

Yep, split em, insert Hershey a marshmallows, wrap foil and on the grill unti mushy. Called Banana boats around here.

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Great point. The culture in northern Minnesota tends to be reserved so I think people are caught off-guard when encountering a haggler. It’s viewed as overly self-assertive. There hasn’t been adequate influx of other cultures to move the needle. A lot of reserved Scandinavians, until they have coffee or a drink or two.

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I used to work with a couple of Russian engineering managers. They were rude to everyone all the time. This was unusual for the organization since politeness was a hallmark of it. I found that when I gave it back to them they loved it. We had a lot of fun jerking each other around.


lol … another funny story, the same store, I’m looking for a register that is open to pay-up, indicated by a red light above the line, but there are no red lights on any of the lines, yet one of the lines clearly has a cashier standing there ready for check-out.

Me: Is this line open?
Staff: Yes
Me: Your “line open” light isn’t on
Staff: It doesn’t matter whether that light it is on or off, people still come

What a country! … lol …


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Heh heh. We had a retirement party for a staff member in the Duluth office. All the spouses came and it was quite educational to hear how the iron rangers saw things. Not sure where the north south dividing line is but they were far from reserved. Careful driving hywy 2 alone at night with out of town plates is all.

@Bing after reading your posting and your reference to “Iron Rangers,” I went back and read the posting by @Rainflurry and did not get any smarter… I googled the reference and only came up with “Steel Toed Boots…” L :rofl: L . . .

But I am guessing it has something to do with folks from different side of the country and whether “Haggling” is part and parcel of their culture…

I grew up in Upstate New York and joined the Air Force and in my 30-years, I’ve served in 17-different locations, in 9-different countries, on 6-different continents and finally settled in Virginia. It did not matter where I lived, there are always those who enjoy the art of haggling, and there are those who shy away, as if it is the plague…

Even when the price is marked “Firm,” I ask if the price is still firm or is there is some wiggle room and I do not think that is too intrusive to ask. More times than not the seller will say, “Make me an offer…”

If an item is fairly priced, I willingly pay for that price, but a lot of pricing is nothing more than “wishful thinking…” I’ve written about this previously, I will shop the Mom 'n Pops even if the Big Box has it cheaper… I grew up with Mom 'n Pops Shops and have many happy memories browsing and buying.

It’s all a perspective on the economy and how it will operate, either cash or barter…

So, this Inquiring Mind Wants to Know, what or who are “Iron Rangers?” L :laughing: L . . .

Seems odd, a red light indicating the line is open and operating. Around here, that would be a big signal to go to another line. That or a flashing light. Usually indicates a call to the supervisor to resolve some issue…

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Actually I’ve noticed the same red light on self checkout station and others with a green light. The one with a red light has a shopping cart symbol. I have used both and have no idea why red or the basket symbol. Since they are not staffed, no one to ask.

Ok, I’ll get into it a little later when I have time. It’s a cultural thing. I call them church basement hot dish folks. Polite and non controversial. However there is a big difference depending on their original heritage. Scandinavian, German, or orher.

We should be careful not to stereotype whole groups of people but on the other hand there are usually some basis for stereotypes. South and south central minnesota is good farm land so back when, Scandinavians, German and some French bought cheap land and farmed the area. Those that didn’t have the dollar an acre moved on to Dakota where the land was free. Thrift and community was important so they were careful how they interacted with people. Things have changed some but there will still be communities composed highly of one heritage.

The north central and east was logging and mining country so those that settled in those areas were of a different heritage. Northwest was still farming country but the land is much poorer. So those that came from Croatia or the Baltic areas seem to have a different culture. Or maybe a history of oppression by mining companies idk. Can’t say they like to haggle but like to argue especially about unions.

Now New England, Pennsylvania, etc. we’re settled by people from a different part of the world and have developed a different heritage. Thomas sowell has some interesting comments on settlers to different parts of the country. Danged if I can find his book now but he talked about southern settlers coming from the hills of Scotland and bringing with them the tendency to be quick to anger. Take offense, settle scores, etc. in studying the civil war I often wonder if this contributed to the bloodyness of the whole thing.

Yeah sure over generalization but there still are different cultures in different parts of the country and even different communities. Expected behavior in one may be a horror in another. I still hear comments where an English person marrying a German or Scandinavian was considered a mixed marriage. Interesting stories about German pows in the area too.

A little off topic.

Of course they weren’t reserved - just getting a spouse to show up at a retirement party requires a couple cocktails. :rofl:

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Iron Rangers are residents of Minnesota’s Iron Range. It’s an area where the residents have historically relied on mining for their livelihood. It’s a lot of small towns/communities that have weathered the ups and downs of the tumultuous mining industry. Things are good, then mines close, mines reopen and things are good again, then mines close, etc. The influence of various ethnic backgrounds, politics, environmentalism, etc. has created a unique culture.

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The availability of economical iron sources nearby is probably related to the reason the car industry got started in Detroit. In my kid-era, we’d get freight trains coming through Colorado all the time filled with iron pellets, coming from Minnesota. The pellets would often drop off the train and we kids soon discovered they made great ammo for our slingshots, so a trip to the railroad tracks to gather iron pellets was part of the agenda pretty much every week … lol … .


Heh heh. I thought ford and all them other guys were in Detroit? Kinda chicken and egg maybe, who came first. But steel was king in Pennsylvania.

At any rate those pellets were called taconite. As a kid the range became pretty dead until they came up with the taconite. Then boom times again. But yeah lots of ships left Duluth with a load of taconite bound for Detroit. But I think that was the 50s but I never paid a lot of attention until asbestos was found in the water.

Way off track now but the water up north is terrible to drink. Tastes like iron.