Saving Money

Want a Discount? Just Ask.


I’ve read that people in the Midwest live longer because the optimism that the change in season brings. I don’t know about the living longer part, but I know that after some time of enjoying the current season, I’m always looking forward to the next one.   Right now, I’m looking forward to warmer weather, and one of my favorite activities.

I love sitting outside on my deck, having a drink or two, and just shootin’ the breeze with my friends.

The only slight problem is that sometimes the evenings get just a little cool to sit outside, especially in early Spring and late Fall. One common solution is a fire pit, which we enjoy often. But sometimes I don’t want to end the night smelling like I just battled a forest fire. Another solution is an outdoor heater.

We’ve been on the lookout for one that catches our eye for the right price for quite a while. That perfect combination occurred over the weekend as my wife and I were walking through Home Depot. We spotted a prism shaped heater in which fire is displayed in an enclosed glass tube and the heat disperses out the top of the unit.   We had seen one like this at an outdoor winter festival last year, and I remembered my wife stated that if we ever saw one like that we would buy it.

We talked to a salesperson, who pointed out a sign indicating that the display model was the only one they had. Without hesitation, my wife asked if there was a discount for having to purchase the display model. After all, you never know what other customers may have done to it as it sat on the display room floor. The employee stated that he believed it was already discounted. I was satisfied with that answer because at the very least I didn’t have to assemble it.

My wife, however, was not happy with that answer.

At the checkout counter she asked the cashier if she could tell us what the original price was. When the casher could not tell us, my wife asked to speak to a manager to whom she repeated her request for a discount for taking the display model.

The manager instructed the cashier to take 20% of the price.

With just a little bit of persistence, my wife saved us $26 off the $129.99 price of the heater.

On the way home, she asked me if I would have paid full price for the heater. The smile on her face told me she already knew the answer.

Have you ever gotten a discount simply by asking a question? Have you ever had to push a little harder as my wife did?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • We recently bought a display model and they didn’t give us a discount. This makes me wish I would have pushed harder!

    When we brought the display home, it turned out that the thing was actually crooked. Whoever put it together did it wrong. We were really mad because the whole thing has to be taken apart at the store (it was a very LARGE workout machine), and then we spent over 5 hours putting it back together at home. We are now just living with the crookedness.

  • We frequently do this with returns, scratch and dent, and clearance at Lowes. Our tactics vary as sometimes we offer to take multiple items if they mutually reduce down to what we decide to pay or even having the Mrs. approach the teenager running the department with a big smile as I go look at paint.

    Perhaps we’re bad people, but generally we get the item at a good if not great discount. Sometimes it is as simple as risking not getting the item by letting it sit for another week.

    Does it always work out? Nope. Have we paid full retail for a single appliance, lighting fixture, or patio furniture in the past few years? Once.

  • My husband taught me this same valuable lesson years ago, and it’s come in very handy. I’m not a very aggressive or assertive person, so it doesn’t always come naturally to me to question things, but we’ve saved a lot of money over the years by doing what your wife did. Sharing this on twitter to remind folks that it never hurts to ask!

  • @michelle – I’ve put together a workout machine or two in my day, and know exactly the pain in the butt it is to assemble. I can’t even imagine pulling it apart and putting it back together. Maybe I could borrow my wife’s services to you…she wouldn’t be afraid to call the store even after the fact and ask for a “display model discount refund.” 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • @Dan – Haha, it definitely does NOT make you bad people. If something is scratched or dented it DESERVES to be discounted. You’re right, sometimes it doesn’t work out…..but the longer it sits on the display room floor, the more likely it is that nobody is going to pay full price for it. Thanks for sharing!

  • @Keara – I’m the same way…I’m not assertive or aggressive either. My wife is WAY better at it anyway, so I let her do her thing. But when cooler heads are needed, that’s when I step in. We balance each other out well. 🙂 Thanks for sharing on Twitter!

  • When we went to Alaska we booked very early and I frequently asked if they offered early booking discounts. Most of the time they knocked around 10% of the hotel rate or excursion fee.

  • Kudos to your wife for gettin’ after it! I applaud her persistence. We also enjoy sitting on our porch with a homebrew in hand, and we have a fire pit as well. Once we get our porch cover built, I may have to look into outdoor heaters. Great post!

  • My wife bought a microwave oven that was a display model. I don’t remember the discount she got, but she was happy with herself. I talked a car dealership into dropping the price of my truck by thousands because after we negotiated, I walked out the door. They had to ask me to come back inside, where they met my price.

  • My wife is a very clever woman! I remember before, when my mom bought an LED TV and the salesman told us that the display one was the last stock and she asked for the last price, but the salesman told her that the price still the same even if it was a displayed one.

  • I’ve learned to always ask for a discount. The worst that happens is that the person tells me no. In most cases, I do get a discount. After asking, the cashier usually finds a coupon under the register or in a drawer and applies it to my purchase.

  • Your wife is a smart cookie! I am too much of an awkward person do ask in person, but if I am signing up for a service, I will often ask for a discount and have to escalate it to a manager and I almost always get one. It’s just a small hassle but it pays off.. literally.

  • @Kendal – The other thing about the fire pit is that we have to use that on our cement patio as we’re not comfortable with lighting a fire on our cedar deck. Fire/deck just doesn’t seem to be a good combination. LOL. The space heater just seems like the perfect solution for that outdoor living space. Thanks for much for stopping by!

  • @Bryce – Two very different products, same result….a discount! Negotiating the price of a vehicle is never my strong suit, I’m always jealous when I hear people doing that sort of thing!

  • @Marie – Sometimes it doesn’t work out……but I’m surprised that the salesperson didn’t give a discount for the display model – especially on a TV. The display models are sitting out for months (usually), and being used – you’re really buying a used TV at that point!

  • @Jon – that’s exactly what my wife says (“The worst that can happen is they say No”)….never hurts to ask, right? It’s not like they can INCREASE the price because you asked a question. Thanks for your comment!

  • @Daisy – Yeah, I’m awkward that way too…in fact I got a little awkward when she asked for a manager and walked off to look at the grills nearby. When I returned she had a big grin on her face, “20% off” was all she said. Keep workin’ your magic, wife of mine. 🙂

  • So much more is negotiable than we realize! And if you you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Admittedly, I’m not the best about asking for discounts. It’s more hassle than I’m in the mood for most of the time, but I really should change that attitude. The worst someone can say is no.

  • We all act like pricing is this “set in stone” thing and that we are being devious or criminal when we ask for a discount. We should be asking ourselves, “Do I agree with this company, store etc… that this product is worth the price they have chosen to sell it for. If the answer is no, then we should try to get it for the price we believe it is worth.

    The worst they can say is no. And then we decide how much we really wanted it. There are so many places that I don’t feel I am getting a good value for my money, and it took me a long time to earn it, so I plan on doing everything in my power to make sure it is used most efficiently.

  • @Addison – exactly – One thing that always holds me back is I don’t want to seem like a cheapskate. But really…why do I care? I’ll likely never see this person again, and if it puts more money in my pocket it’s a win for me! Thanks for reading!

  • @Matt – great perspective, Matt. We SHOULD be selfish with our money. Like you said, we worked HARD to earn it, and it should be hard to pry it out of our wallets to spend. Great comment!

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