The Lost Art of Haggling and The Jeep in My Yard

It has come to my attention that people have lost the ability to haggle effectively and without offending the seller. In fact, most people have lost the ability to haggle all together, instead resulting to insults and cheap jabs to communicate that they think your price is too high.

I was talking to my FIL’s girlfriend today and she felt the need to mention “the rotting old Jeep” in my backyard again. For clarification – we have a Jeep in the backyard that runs, but is in need of emissions work and new tires to pass inspection. Because my husband commutes so far to work, he bought a small car and let the Jeep sit in the back until he gets a job closer to home or can work on it as a project vehicle.
After he put the Jeep to pasture, my FIL got a girlfriend. She hasn’t had a job in a while and was in need of a cheap vehicle. She liked Jeeps. My FIL mentioned that my husband had one he wasn’t driving and said maybe he’d sell it to her. My husband offered to sell it to her for a fair price that he determined after looking online at similar vehicles for sale. No, it wasn’t a rock bottom price that you’d sell something to a family member to help them out – why would it be? My FIL had been dating this woman for all of 2 months at the most.

She passed on the Jeep and I thought that would be the end of it. Instead of saying no thank you and moving on, she feels the need to refer to “the piece of crap Jeep” or the “auto fluff” or “the rotting old Jeep” from time to time and then make a remark about how my husband tried to sell it to her.

The point is, she saw the vehicle and she obviously didn’t think it was worth the asking price. Instead of saying it’s not what she’s looking for and leaving it at that, she feels the need to bring it up over and over in an attempt to insult me and insinuate that my husband is an idiot for asking that much for a car.

Nevermind that it was a fair price. She seems to think that because she had been dating my FIL for all of 2 months she was entitled to blood relative discount. Sorry, that’s not how it works. Yes, my FIL would have been paying for it since she didn’t (and still doesn’t) have a job, but it would be her vehicle.

This happened a year and a half ago. She’s still bringing it up. Obviously she still thinks about the Jeep and was probably interested, but wanted it for free or practically nothing. She could have counter offered, but she didn’t. Why? Because she knows the price she’d be willing to pay was unrealistic. If she thought it wasn’t worth the price he was asking and that she had a fair price in mind, she would have offered it.

Unfortunately, this story isn’t unique. People on the Facebook yard sale sites do this too. If you post an item that they think isn’t worth the price you’re asking, they’ll leave a snarky remark about finding it cheaper at XYZ store. Great! If it’s cheaper at XYZ store, go there and buy it! No need to leave me a comment and let me know that you’re going that route. If they do attempt to haggle, they offer an insultingly low price. “Hey – will you take $10 for this $100 item you’ve posted??” No. No I won’t. I might have done $90, but now you’ve insulted me, so if you want this item it’ll cost $100. Cash only.

When you shop online or at a garage sale, it’s fine to try and negotiate, but don’t insult the person. If you want something, try offering a little less, but don’t expect them to come down on price by 50% or more. If the item is priced that far above what you’d be willing to pay, simply walk away. There will always be another opportunity to buy something, but not necessarily an opportunity to make up with someone you’ve insulted. People have long memories and short tempers.


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