search  current discussion  categories  business - sales & marketing 

haggling (was credit card sales) hold your ground! this is the

updated fri 14 feb 03


"Craig Dunn Clark (Redirected by \"Janet Kaiser\" on wed 12 feb 03


(Redirected by "Janet Kaiser" )

*********** BEGIN REDIRECTED MESSAGE ***********

As a case in point supportive of Janet's position an example of an
interchange between yours truly and a well-healed pair of patrons at a
recent sale is illustrative. The pot in question was a raku fired vase. It
stands, assuming they have not broken it, about twenty two inches in
is about six inches at the base, sixteen inches at the shoulder, has a
line, a well articulated region preceeding a lip which closes in to about
inch. The firing gods were nice to me and the glaze effect is superb. I had
resonably put a price of $325 on the pot.
These folks were gooooooddd at their act. They were not dressed in
particularly ostentations clothing as some who buy the higher end stuff
They were a bit camofluged from my perspective, after all, platinum jewlery
sans diamonds looks an aweful lot like silver. They were wearing old jeans,
topsiders and t-shirts. They played the good cop/bad cop bit like you
wouldn't believe. They are particularly successful, well healed capitalists
(not necessarily a pejorative in my lexicon), who have automobiles that are
worth more than my house. Multi millon dollar dwelling, etc, etc. It was a
game for them.
I learned a lesson in the deal. I let them talk, cajole and compliment.
I did not respond much except with the normal bantor about what I attempt
do with my pottery. I did not even intimate that I'd be willing to come
on the price, because I wasn't willing, It was one of my best pieces and
I'll be damned if someone who makes more money in a week than I do in a
is going to get my best work at a discount. Though I am guilty of having a
sliding scale when I know someone who likes the work but simply does not
have the money to afford it. You know, teachers, social workers, child care
folk, health care support staff, artists, young folks jsut getting started,
kids, etc.,.......If this makes me a hippocrite (a nasty word in my
lexicon),a quassi socialist, or a bad businessman (admittedly) so be it!
Anyway, this dance went on for almost an hour. They would leave, come
back, talk more and finally one of them looked at the other and in a crisp
way carefully articulated...."it sounds as if you have talked yourself into
it." A check book was opened, pen produced, and I had to stop the writing
while I told them to hang on a minute while I figured up the tax. This put
them off stride a bit again. They had a fall back position in a silent
expectation that I was going to eat the 8.25% regressive sales tax that we
have here in Houston. Not the first time that happened, won't be the last.
Once again I held my ground. They paid the tax because they really wanted
the piece.
One suggestion I was given by an aquaintance who does these exqusite
drawings of birds that he consistently sells for a coupla thousand bucks a
pop is to look at the hagglers with a completley straight face and tell
if they can't afford the piece you are willing to take time payments or
there are some less expensive pieces to be had. Do it in a non-threatening,
non-judgemental way and you hit them where much of their pride is
located.....the abililty to pretty much buy what they choose when they
choose. I haven't had the cahonnes to try that one yet but it works for
What I'm trying to say is that if the customer has the dinero and
want to pay they cannot have the best work. It just ain't fair to me, the
professional potting community as a whole, or anyone else who works for a
Just a few thoughts
Craig Dunn Clark
619 East 11 1/2 st
Houston, Texas 77008

----- Original Message -----
From: "Janet Kaiser"
Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2003 8:19 PM
Subject: Re: Haggling (was Credit Card Sales)

> "Never knowingly undersold" is the slogan on a John Lewis hat box sitting
> on top of my wardrobe. It must be at least 20-30 years old, so the retail
> industry have been using this as a marketing ploy for quite some time.
> so, it is sad that it is considered normal behaviour right across the
> board... No matter whether a consumer buying from a multi-national or
> buying directly from a maker/artist or some other small business.
> Sincerely
> Janet Kaiser - finally finished reading through the 800+ Clayart mails...
> Sorry for being so voluble. Promise to but out again for the immediate
> future. "Visions of Eden" opening Friday, so a lot to do...

*********** END REDIRECTED MESSAGE ***********