One of my biggest pet PEEVES!

I am not a ‘haggler’.  And NO disrespect to those of you who are.  If you are brave enough to haggle for lower prices, more power to ya!  I remember a few years back, about the time that everyone was finally coming to the grim realization that THIS recession was going to get worse before it got better; and all the TV news shows were “Telling you how to haggle for lower prices, even in big box stores”!

At that particular time, we had our own retail store, and we had a LOT of ‘customer rewards programs’.  I gave a discount on their entire purchase for their birthday; and actually allowed them to use that discount ANY once a year.  (for those who had birthdays at ‘bad’ times of the year to shop for themselves; like Christmastime!)

Being that I, personally do not care to haggle FOR a lower price; neither do I like to be haggled with!  And our REGULAR customers at out store never did haggle.  Didn’t NEED to because they were getting good deals quite regularly.   So it really ‘got my goat’ when a first time shopper would come in and ask me to lower a price for them!  AND I always politely declined; explaining our incentive programs.

So, what brought on this post at THIS time?  etsy.  Hagglers on etsy to be more specific.  AND the ‘thing’ they usually want to haggle ON, is the cost of shipping?!?!?  I have really pissed a lot of etsy shoppers off with my snide replies to their ‘haggling on shipping’ comments/requests.  (not that it really bothers me to have pissed them off!  Now we’re EVEN because their inquiry pissed ME off too!)

I ‘get’ that the BIG companies can offer ‘free’ of even ‘$5.00 shipping on everything’.  But us little guys don’t have that luxury.  The big guys:

A) Get volume discounts from shippers like FedEx and UPS.

B) Have ‘room’ in their product cost to absorb some of the cost of shipping.

Even the busiest seller does not have these luxuries.

I charge my etsy customer only, and EXACTLY what it costs me to ship their package.  And when they send me a convo (etsy’s internal email system) and ask me WHY shipping is so much on a particular item; I’m inclined to reply, “Because that item wights 2 pounds and that is how much the P.O. charges to mail a 2# package!  I have no control over shipping costs!”

Now I could SEE them complaining IF, when their package arrived and had $2.00 in postage ON it, and they were charged MORE than that.  Now that is a legitimate complaint.    AND is one of the reasons I don’t buy my postage on-line and print my shipping labels with postage.  I want the customer to SEE that I only charged them exact shipping!

These are the ones that REALLY get me.  “I really like the set of three primitive game boards you have and I really want to buy them.  But I’m really having a hard time with the shipping cost.  It’s over $50.00 with the shipping and that is more than I wanted to spend.  Can you give me a lower shipping cost?”

When they write that, THIS is what I ‘hear’ (and WISH I had the nerve to reply to them!)  . . . “I want to buy an item from your shop but my budget is tight.  I’ve never bought from you ever before and probably never will again, but I would like for you to take $5.00 out of your own pocket to help pay for the shipping on this item that I want to buy, to make it fit my budget better.”

Because I really don’t THINK they realize that this is what they are asking me to do!  the cost of shipping is NOT a negotiable thing!

There is a feature on etsy where they can ‘combine shipping costs’ if they buy more than one item from your shop.  The seller sets the shipping cost on the listing (hopefully based upon actual costs!)  and then lists a lower price to ‘ship with another item’.  For example: This item will cost $12.10 to ship, and fits in a medium sized box.  If you ADD another to the box it will only cost a % more to ship, and not double the shipping for double the items. (In most cases)

So by itself it may cost $12.10 to ship, but with another item I only need to charge maybe $5.00 MORE to include it.  so some etsy shopper gets the BRILLIANT IDEA to convo me and ask if I will give her the ‘with another item’ shipping cost.  I reply, “Sure!  If you buy another item I automatically do that!”  hehe.  I KNOW that is not what her real question was.  But it was either that, or my aforementioned snarky reply; which I SWEAR I am going to get annoyed to really reply with one of these days!

I KNOW shipping is expensive!  So is GAS to drive to the store.  So are groceries!  If you can’t afford the shipping, you can’t afford to buy the item.  Please do not ask me to take money out of my pocket to pay for shipping YOUR item though.

And even though I am not a HAGGLER, I am very frugal and a bargain hunter.  I do my homework and watch for sales and clip coupons and re-use what I can.  I shop at thrift stores and garage sales (and NO, I don’t even haggle at garage sales!!)  I guess the difference between a frugal person and a haggler is the the frugal person WORKS for their saving.  The haggler just asks, and expects things to be given to them; as if they are ENTITLED.

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “THIS is what I ‘hear’ (and WISH I had the nerve to reply to them!) . . . “I want to buy an item from your shop but my budget is tight. I’ve never bought from you ever before and probably never will again, but I would like for you to take $5.00 out of your own pocket to help pay for the shipping on this item that I want to buy, to make it fit my budget better.”

    you forgot to include ‘and I will not leave you feedback’

    Just curious, how do you guesstimate shipping considering the lack of a shipping calculator on etsy? I live in Michigan and base mine on what it costs to ship to California. I include a note in my store that i do charge $1 ‘handling’ but will refund any difference beyond that $1. I still believe that I lose potential customers because they fail to read and think that I am gouging when they see the shipping price.

  2. Totally agree! I’ve had potential buyers ask if I give a discount on shipping if they buy two items when the only thing I sell is very breakable and but also quite heavy and requires very careful and separate packaging, as fully stated on my site. Then people have asked if I give a discount on the cost of the item if they buy two (again, of the same one item I sell) as if my profit is so high I can just slash the price because, gee, they really want a pair of them but can’t really afford it!

    There’s some odd sense of entitlement with some Etsy buyers, in my experience. Maybe because it’s a “friendlier” more girly site than eBay. I used to feel like I had to justify why I couldn’t give a discount — now it’s just a polite “no”. I’ve found these are the people who tend to pay with an echeck that takes forever to clear, have some time-consuming special delivery situtation, etc. — I really just don’t want to deal with them.

    Thanks for writing the post!

    • I hear ya Tricia!

      What makes them think that it takes less TIME< EFFORT or SUPPLIES to create two or more of an item that you should sell it for less??? Again, BIG BUSINESSES offering QUANTITY DISCOUNTS causing the little guy to suffer. What those consumers don't understand is that big business GROSSLY inflates their' regular, single item prises' IN ORDER TO later offer big % off sales and quantity discounts! UG!!


  3. Cyndi – Ah yes, no feedback! Another etsy phenomena!

    To answer your question regarding shipping; I am on the WEST coast, so if a flat rate box doesn’t work, I figure the FARTHEST away shipping zone, just as you do.

    I don’t charge any handling fees, and I HATE paying them. Really, what IS a handling fee??? I do think that people ‘become suspicious’ of those who add on extra fees, like handling fees. Why not just UP your price by that $1.00 and say NO HANDLING FEES?

    Other than that, you are doing exactly what I do on shipping, I refund overages paid of $1.00 or more; and mention that in my shop announcements, purchase message and TRY to include it in my listings.

    Don’t worry about ‘those people’ who might think you are over-charging! THEY really aren’t ‘your customer base’. This is why I don’t worry about offending someone who asks for a discount, I don’t WANT them as customers! People who have suspicions about your shipping are just SUSPICIOUS PEOPLE. If not shipping, they will find something else to complain about!

    Sometimes though, I DO think we sellers need to EDUCATE the shoppers as to what current shipping costs are! If they never ship packages, they have NO IDEA how expensive it has gotten! A list of current flat rate shipping boxes and prices under your shop announcements might be a good reference point!

    I also offer a GOOD shipping discount on combined purchases. Other than that, there really ISN’T anything you can do!


  4. I sell on ebay here in the Land of Oz and our AusPost shipping rates have all changed recently. A parcel of up to 500gms is now $6.60 no matter where in Australia I post it to. Well, I’ll be blowed when I get customers saying, ‘can’t you lower the postage cost?’ I just send them a nice email stating, No, and a link to the Auspost site so they themselves can see I am not ripping them off.
    We all like a bargain and times are tough, but I will be out of business quick smart if I kept giving in to people. Telling them I am a small home business seems to help, not always, but most times people understand and will accept it.
    Unfortunately there ARE some unscrupulous people out there. I ship to and have a friend who ships from USA (some places won’t ship international, so he gets it to his address then on to me) so I know how much shipping is. My Aussie friend had an item on ebay from USA and they wanted $140 shipping to us here in Australia! We double checked UPS site and it SHOULD be $25. That person suddenly abused my friend and cancelled the item when it was pointed out he was ripping people off. Funny about that!.
    I sell at markets too, and people will try to ‘knock it down a bit, please’, and again, I will drop a few dollars but not $20 or more. I blame the American Pickers type shows for this new way of thinking.
    Not to worry! Keep going with how you are going and like me you will get repeat customers when you offer good service, incentive programmes (see I spelled it OUR way, Hee hee) and the like.

  5. I totally agree with you. I worked at a Home Decor store in a Northern Michigan small town. We had hagglers all the time. I always wanted to ask them if they haggled at Walmart!!!!! Our prices were good and not out to gouge the customer. And people wonder why small home town stores cannot stay in business.

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