Haggling. It isn’t just for when you’re in a Moroccan souk buying a tagine pot which you’ll absolutely use to cook authentic North African stews back in Shropshire (and absolutely not just stuff in the back of a kitchen cupboard, never to be seen or remembered again).
No, haggling can also be essential when you’re on the prowl for antiques closer to home. In Irish Pickers, vintage dealer Ian Dowling and his crew of Irish treasure hunters know exactly how to use the gift of the gab to bag a bargain. Want to have a go yourself? Here’s how.
1 Be Openly Excited
Being all cool and aloof might work when you’re talking to a bank manager but with an antiques seller, you should show the love. Be enthusiastic. Feel the item up. Look at it with tender affection, like it’s a mirror and you’re Kanye. Ask questions about its provenance. This will build a rapport with the seller, and it’ll make you look like you’re serious about buying… given the right price.
2 Don’t Be Afraid To Go Low
Swallow your pride and just do it. In the words of Irish Picker Ian Dowling, 'Go in so low that you should almost be embarrassed to ask.' Won’t this rub them up the wrong way? Not if you do it politely, and aren’t an absolute spanner about it. This way, you’ll quickly suss out what their absolute bottom line is, and work up from there. It puts you in the driving seat, negotiation-wise.
3 Bundle items together
If you feel like the seller is considering your offer and needs a gentle push (a metaphorical push; try not to actually get yourself arrested), then offer to buy a few other smaller items too. This will sweeten the deal for the seller, who’ll probably give you a good 'all in' price. Plus you’ll come away with a set of novelty dog-shaped egg cups you never knew you needed in your life.
4 Don’t be nervous
Seriously, don’t. It’ll make you look like you deep-down know the item is worth the original asking price, and you’re just trying to pull a fast one. But it’s a fine line, because you don’t want to be cocky or arrogant either. Just… self-assured, like you’re making an entirely reasonable suggestion which any seller should be delighted to accept. Imagine Tom Hardy asking out your mum. Yep. Just like that.
5 Don’t ask this question
'What’s your best price?' It’s the natural, knee-jerk, go-to question for would-be hagglers. But it can actually stop negotiations before they really start, unless you blatantly ignore their 'best price' despite literally just asking for it. Don’t make the seller suggest a price – it’s up to you to push them down as low as they’ll go. The best price is what you make it. Now go forth and buy that glass cabinet of Victorian taxidermy ferrets for a tenner. Your house will thank you.