Most of us would think that at big stores like Courts, Best Denki and Harvey Norman, we won’t be able to bargain for a better price. Recently, I think otherwise. I’ve encountered this incident twice so I thought that’s a possibility of bargaining, but the success would really depend on the ‘power’ of the bargainer.
First incident: I was at Harvey Norman looking for my washing machine when I overheard a salesperson promoting a particular machine to this uncle. Over the course of the conversation, I repeatly heard the uncle saying, “Expensive leh… cheaper lah…” And to my surprise, the salesperson actually complied and replied, “Ok lor, less $20 just for u. Plus free delivery and disposal.” This kind of conversation made me think that bargaining is possible. As I was leaving the store, I saw this electric shaver on offer and decided to get it. Off I went to the cashier. The casher had wanted to charge me $19.90 for the shaver, but I protested as it was advertised as $16.90 on the display unit. The cashier went over to the display and confirmed that it was shown as $16.90 and promptly changed the invoice to $16.90. Suspicion rose. Isn’t their system suppose to be fully automated and running on some barcoded system or such? Why is it that the cashier is allowed to freely key in any figure she likes and changing it at will? This reinforces my guess that bargain is possible since prices on invoice can be easily changed by the staff.
Second incident: This time at Courts. We were there to get a iron for ourselves. Recently, all our clothes were not ironed and quite crumpled. Not very presentable ya? So we spotted this Phillips iron for $32.90. We liked it, the design, the colour, the functionality, the price. Good, but not stock! -_-” So we went for our second favourite, which is a cheaper one at $17.90. As usual, off we go to the cashier to pay for our item. There a mistake in the invoice again. The cashier wanted to charge us $19.90 for the iron. We protested, it was $17.90 on the shelf. The cashier doesn’t believe us and asked another colleague about the price of the item. The colleague replied $18.90. Omg… This is getting nowhere. So this colleague went to the display unit to confirm the price. I tagged along to make sure he doesn’t swap the labels when I’m not looking. Confirmed, it’s $17.90. This other colleague claimed that they forgot to update the label but will sell us the item as displayed at $17.90. Rightfully so, I won’t accept anything else. So again, the cashier, with ease, change the invoice to $17.90. No barcode, no system. Does it really mean they sales people really have some capacity to manipulate the prices to some degree?
Eventhough I have some confidence of my hypothesis, I won’t be testing it out any time soon. Haha… young people don’t want to pai seh mah. If it’s at Sim Lim Square then I’ll bargain lah, but at this kind of larger shops, I also a bit pai seh to bargain. Maybe they’re playing on this kind of consumers mentality as well. So anyway, if anyone is keen and daring enuff, I encourage u to try it out and let me know the outcome. :D