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Subject: FLGS and thoughts on Haggling rss

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Josiah Miller
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I recently bought a car (2009 Honda CR-V for those who care), and spent nearly 6 hours haggling with the salesman. Ultimately, we got the car for the price of a Civic. Not Bad.But haggling is part of the whole process, so you'd expect to get a little something for your effort.

Last year, my wife and I bought a new TV. My wife talked them down $300 off the TV (to beat the online price), had them throw in cables, and half off a media console if we bought a Tivo from them as well. This was at Best Buy, which surprised me because this is NOT a place where haggling is expected.

So it got me to thinking about the whole "Buy Online vs. Buy at your FLGS" argument. Does anyone haggle with their FLGS? I don't mean trying to buy all your games at half price, but maybe 10-15% off, or maybe a discount if you buy 2 games at once? It seems like all local stores are locally owned, which means prices are set locally as well. Why not ask for a little off the price?

I guess I am one of those, "Worst they can do is say No" people, but I learned it from my wife who manages to get 10-15% off just about everything she buys, even at the most unlikely places. Does anyone haggle with their FLGS? Because I'm thinking I might start.After all, the "S" in MSRP does stand for "suggested"
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Paul DeStefano
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The problem is that boardgame margins are already freakin tiny. MAYBE if I were buying more than 3 games.

But in all truth, that's really cruel to a small business owner trying to survive against the online stores.
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Bill Eldard
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brotherjo wrote:
It seems like all local stores are locally owned, which means prices are set locally as well. Why not ask for a little off the price?


It's certainly worth a try.

I remember trying to get a FLGS in Norfolk, VA twenty years ago to knock $5 of the $45 price of a game that had literally been gathering dust on its shelves for at least 2 years.

They looked at me like I was from Mars. I didn't buy it, and it sat there at least another year.

brotherjo wrote:
I guess I'm one of those, "Worst they can do is say No" people, but I learned it from my wife who manages to get 10-15% off just about everything she buys, even at the most unlikely places.


It never hurts to give it a try. Just understand that most American retailers aren't use to that kind of sales routine. If you can get them to come down in price, all the more power to you.

Some FLGS's will reduce MSRP for regular customers and special orders.

brotherjo wrote:
Does anyone haggle with their FLGS?


Not lately, but then, I get a standard discount at my FLGS.

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Josiah Miller
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Quote:
But in all truth, that's really cruel to a small business owner trying to survive against the online stores.
I think it's cruel to try to charge me $50 for Memoir '44: Terrain Pack. If a game store wants to have product sitting on their shelves until someone hits the lottery, that's up to them. However, if they are willing to negotiate, they will probably have one more sale that day and a customer going forward.
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Gary Averett
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One of the FLGS's that I (used to) spend a lot of money at told me to stop asking for discounts. This store has a pay to get a discount program, which I dislike, you have to spend something like $100 before the discount kicks in.
Store #2 greatly discounts their inventory and also has a paid members discount. The first store pushes the plan and tries to explain my buying habits to me, but the second store dropped mentioning the discount plan after the first try. They have a good enough discount that I am happy with it.
Store #3 is a great place and I really like the environment and the people, they don't really have a discount program, but I like to purchase from them to support them, they do let me play there for free. When I do buy from them they have always given me a discount anyway without me asking for one.
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Paul DeStefano
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brotherjo wrote:
However, if they are willing to negotiate, they will probably have one more sale that day and a customer going forward.


Would you rather sell 2 items at $10 profit each, or 1 item at $20 profit?

This is the constant struggle of the tiny business and the retail model. They want to order fewer items and pay less freight and have fewer transactions, requiring less customer service.

In the end, every store must figure how badly it needs the dollar that day on an individual basis.

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brotherjo wrote:
Quote:
But in all truth, that's really cruel to a small business owner trying to survive against the online stores.
I think it's cruel to try to charge me $50 for Memoir '44: Terrain Pack. If a game store wants to have product sitting on their shelves until someone hits the lottery, that's up to them. However, if they are willing to negotiate, they will probably have one more sale that day and a customer going forward.


Amen, brother. No one forces any store owner to become, well, a store owner. The smart stores have an online presence, too, much like CoolStuffInc.com.

Stores should be open to haggling, to some extent. That doesn't mean shoppers should expect huge discounts but if a FLGS isn't part of some large chain (I can't even think of a corporate chain of FLGS) there's no reason they couldn't entertain someone's offer, imho.
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Dave Lartigue
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Maybe the store owner won't let me come in and crap on the floor. If so, I'll just take my business elsewhere. Doesn't hurt to ask.
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Walt
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Geosphere wrote:
The problem is that boardgame margins are already freakin tiny. MAYBE if I were buying more than 3 games.

But in all truth, that's really cruel to a small business owner trying to survive against the online stores.

I believe boardgame margins are around 50%, which is typical for MSRP bricks and mortar stores. But one "F"LGS near me adds up to 40% to MSRP, making their margin about 65%.

But it is an extremely tough, low volume business, and I tend to think most FLGS owners are in that business because they like the hobby. They could use the same skills to sell jewelry or something else higher volume.

They also have the problem that if you bargain them down and tell your friends, your friends will want the same deal. I would not try to bargain down a truly friendly local game store. And I feel if you use their services--gaming tables, advice, getting the product instantly--you should pay them MSRP.

If you really want a deal, they can't recover their costs at OLGS price levels, so just go to an online game store.
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Christychan
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I don't think I would ask for a store to discount a single game purchase unless there was some kind of damage to the box, etc., however it doesn't hurt to ask for a discount when you are making a major purchase of several games. I don't fault a store if they say no, but likely I will buy less there. I recently negotiated a 15% discount on a multiple game purchase by pointing out how much I would pay for it online and that even with shipping, it would still cost less than the retailer would sell it for, so the store owner was nice enough to give me the 15% discount. I think it's important that you ask a manager or store owner too, not just an employee that may not have the power to give you a discount.
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John Lopez
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My take:

Long story short, vendors of all types have to decide if they want to deal with this. On big purchases it is expected. For small ones... well, you look like these characters.

Thus haggling on cars and homes... and being asked to leave the store in most consumer retail establishments. Loyalty programs, clearance discounts: those are up to the store.

Of course, politely asking about a game collecting dust is different from the scenario in the video.

On the other hand, as a software vendor I can say that I just say no to people who can't handle our volume discounts and upgrade program costs. My experience has been that they are the *most* expensive customers to have... they don't just want discounts up front, they want free tech support and are the most angry on the phone when you are helping them. Meh.
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Tall_Walt wrote:
And I feel if you use their services--gaming tables, advice, getting the product instantly--you should pay them MSRP.

I agree with this. I have played store copies of games at a FLGS a few times and each time I buy a game from them at MSRP even if I wasn't really looking to buy a game that day.

On the other hand, 98% of the time I'm in and out. I would have no problem asking for a 10% discount if I'm only there for five minutes and I'm paying cash. That's the type of sale they should want to make.
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Bob Flaherty
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I have asked at a couple. One didn't - he's now out of business. The other has, and I have given them repeat business. Nearly everything can be haggled to some extent or another.
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Michael Parchen
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Why bother with the hassle of all of this haggling over game prices at your local FLGS.

One can go online at the various online game outlets and automatically purchase games with built-in/advertised 15 - 25% discounts. Less stress, save time and definately save $.
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McDog
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I find haggling to be a royal pain in the backside. You almost have to with a car. I have zero interest in going back and forth on a game price. If price is the be-all-end-all I'd order it online and be done with it.


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Josiah Miller
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Over Christmas, one game store here in the area had a buy 2 get 1 free on all games. It's essentially getting all 3 games at 33% off, or paying the online price. Great deal. I'm hoping they'll do it again.
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Paul DeStefano
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Tall_Walt wrote:
I believe boardgame margins are around 50%, which is typical for MSRP bricks and mortar stores.


If you're a low volume store, your discount from a major distributor is a whopping 35%. This is why stores tend to focus on a single distributor - to get to better discount grades, rather than split to wider lines.
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James Ludlow
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We have a local store[1] that handles this in an interesting way. They have both a physical retail store and a web store.

* If you buy from the web site, you get the typical web discount.

* If you buy from the store, you pay retail.

* If you buy from the store, but are willing to wait a few days for their next shipment, you get the web discount and of course there's no shipping cost.


So you pay extra for "I want it right now," but if you are willing to wait it's no big deal to them. They just add your game on their next distributor order, which costs them next to nothing in overhead and doesn't short the retail store of the game you want.


[1] http://www.phoenixgamesonline.com/
I'm not one of their customers, but I found their approach an interesting hybrid.

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brotherjo wrote:
Over Christmas, one game store here in the area had a buy 2 get 1 free on all games. It's essentially getting all 3 games at 33% off, or paying the online price. Great deal. I'm hoping they'll do it again.


That's a good deal!

One of the local FLGS had a sale over the weekend. They had some decent games for young children, but all the good stuff was not on sale. I was disappointed...
I ended up buying Carcossone(sp) at their full price of $30.00USD.
I considered buying A Most Dangerous Time:Japan in Chaos, but the store was asking $65.00USD and I did not have enough money in my pocket att.
The store does have a frequent buyer program similar to what others have described...I think it was sumfink like buy $100+ and they will knockoff 10% (saves buyer from paying sales tax which is I think is 10.25%).

I will have to try out this haggle thingy at the game store. I've done it for cars and big ticket items and I have saved >20%. Can't hurt to save a few bucks on some small items, too!

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I can successfully haggle at my FLGS, because I carefully choose which items to haggle about.

If an item has been on the shelf for a long time (hasn't sold a copy in over 6 months), and I'm interested in it, I will ask about a discount. This helps the store to move slow inventory, and generates money for new orders.

This is like arranging a personal "inventory closeout sale". I am able to do this because I know that the owner will likely place that item on his sale rack somewhere between 9 and 12 months after the previous copy was sold.

If he orders a new item, and it doesn't seem to be taking off, I will ask about a discount, in return for running a demo. He will generally give me a game at cost if he thinks I can generate enough interest to sell some copies.

If I am asking him to special order an item for me, I will ask him if he can match an online price. Sometimes he can, sometimes he can't. He will frequently offer me an intermediate discount ("I can't afford to give it to you at 35% off, because I don't deal with that distributor regularly. How about 25% off?").

Of course, I volunteer regularly at store events,and pitch in to help with things like rearranging the store, so am not just an "off the street" customer. I also know enough about the owner's business/inventory strategy to know when he will likely want cut his losses on something.
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Andrew Snyder
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I've haggled in the past, but only when I'm about to make a purchase that would be larger than a typical transaction for that store. Haggle over a single game? No. Haggle over six games? Sure, why not give it a try.
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Romian Tuesta-Vilca
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Well, some FLAGS give you reward points or loyalty cards. Here in Montreal (where I live) we have a store called Le Valet D'Coeur. For every $10 you spend they give you a stamp, once you get 20 stamps they give you $20 discount. They have good prices and hold an annual sale. I bought Hansa for $10!!!! Ambush! for $45 ( $65 - $20 discount) and got 5 atamps! :D
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Tim Gilberg
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wytefang wrote:
brotherjo wrote:
Quote:
But in all truth, that's really cruel to a small business owner trying to survive against the online stores.
I think it's cruel to try to charge me $50 for Memoir '44: Terrain Pack. If a game store wants to have product sitting on their shelves until someone hits the lottery, that's up to them. However, if they are willing to negotiate, they will probably have one more sale that day and a customer going forward.


Amen, brother. No one forces any store owner to become, well, a store owner. The smart stores have an online presence, too, much like CoolStuffInc.com.


No doubt.

I mean, why don't these local stores just go away. I'd make wytefang's day. Who needs a growing hobby, anyway?

mcondor wrote:
Why bother with the hassle of all of this haggling over game prices at your local FLGS.

One can go online at the various online game outlets and automatically purchase games with built-in/advertised 15 - 25% discounts. Less stress, save time and definately save $.


And you can take a look at and try the games at your FLGS too!

Best of both worlds!

Isn't being a cheap geek great?
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Dave Dubin
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Romian wrote:
Well, some FLAGS give you reward points or loyalty cards. Here in Montreal (where I live) we have a store called Le Valet D'Coeur. For every $10 you spend they give you a stamp, once you get 20 stamps they give you $20 discount. They have good prices and hold an annual sale. I bought Hansa for $10!!!! Ambush! for $45 ( $65 - $20 discount) and got 5 atamps!


My FLGS gives reward points too, but somehow I still end up giving more business to Le Valet d'Coeur, a mere 950 miles away.

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Andrew Snyder wrote:
I've haggled in the past, but only when I'm about to make a purchase that would be larger than a typical transaction for that store. Haggle over a single game? No. Haggle over six games? Sure, why not give it a try.


You might also try haggling for an additional item when you show the intention of buying several others. Myself, if I'm about to make a big purchase of several items, but sorta want another item, I'll ask for a discount on the last item. If I get a discount, I buy it. If I don't, I don't. I've only done this once or twice at a FLGS where I was a regular.

Also, of course, ask the discount from the owner or manager.
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