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Friday, March 18, 2016

On haggling and playing fair

Today was certainly a day that tested my patience. But first some background info.

I placed my first set of hand painted items in my HER Store today.  It took me all of Monday and some of Wednesday to prepare the items.  They are beautiful.  Good solid wood, and careful and meticulous painting... and not that trendy chalky stuff either. This paint job should last for years.

So, I staged the items, beautifully, I might add and as usual, the sales person said... "don't forget to do your social media" before I left.  So I did.  I did my Facebook page update.  I did an OfferUp ad. I placed a Craigslist Ad.

But lets back up a little.  I priced these items dirt cheap. A freshly painted dresser for $100.  A matching night stand for $35 and some accessories to make the set pop, also fairly priced.  But here's the thing.  I got several immediate responses.  They all wanted me to drop the price by 50%. My short answer was NO... ask me again in a month if the items have not sold.  If I had priced that dresser, for example at $50.00, then based on what I paid, plus the time spent, and commission to the store, I would walk away upside down.  Based on how many people have inquired, I am positive it will sell for full price.

Now, here's where it gets sticky.  Someone on Craigslist did offer to pay full price. but he wanted to bring a check to me, and not get it from the store.  I explained that for his protection and mine, I only sell through the brick and mortar store. This made him mad.  He proceeded to copy my ad, with the business address, and repost my dresser for $35.00.  What a jerk!  I noticed it pretty quickly as I have a habit of going back and viewing anything I write after maybe an hour. (This is from my years spent as a content writer.) So I go on Craigslist, and see the description of my items, with a cheaper price attached.  Thankfully, there was no photo.  In my description was the brick and mortar address, so my guess is that the goal was to get people to come to the store and offer $35 for the dresser and try to get the staff to honor the ad.... or just to harass them.

Ugh. I called the store. I contacted Craigslist. I replied to the ad.  (In the future I will not reveal the store address again until a deal is made.) The problem was fixed and the ad deleted, but it made me so mad... and wasted an hour from my life. I don't like to waste time.

Now this is only part of the problem, thought it was a sticky wicket.  I searched craigslist for white dresser.  I also searched OfferUp for white dressers.  Mine was one of few made of real solid wood, and the most cheaply priced.  Why, oh why would people want to undercut such a fair price?  Should I have doubled the price and then let them haggle? That would be unfair to list items for twice the price I had them in the store wouldn't it?

Even though my prices were firm, it seems to me that everyone is out for a bargain.  And I understand, I buy as much from Clearance as possible... I just wait for the items to go on clearance... I don't try to get items brand new to the store at clearance prices... it's kinda rude... especially when the item is high quality AND fairly priced.

I'd love to understand how to get people to value the price... is it to price higher and make it seem more valuable, or to trick them?  I'd hate that.

It reminds me of the days when I painted murals (before homeschooling)  If someone was paying me a couple thousand dollars to paint a room, I got no problem from them.  They valued my expertise.  If someone had received my services as a gift, or at a discount, they didn't trust my expertise and badgered me the whole time I was painting.  I fixed it by not giving discounts and discontinuing gift certificates.

Any ideas on how to create value so that folks don't try to rip me off? I'm all ears.

update: Oh wait... did someone just ask me to give this to them for FREE?  Yes they did.  Said "my son would enjoy it".  Mind blown! I need to be more .. I don't know... firm in my social media ads.  I just don't get it.

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