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Do You Want to Haggle?
Man: Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?
Woman: Ummm... I guess so, yeah.
Man: Would you sleep with me for a dollar?
Woman: What!? What kind of a girl do you think I am!?
Man: We've established what kind of girl you are; now we're just haggling over price.
Old Joke, reportedly used by Oscar Wilde

Haggling: Where two characters, a buyer and seller, attempt to strike a bargain, and keep working towards a value that costs neither their opponent or themselves too much. Usually at breakneck Motor Mouth pace.

A common subversion is when a character, frequently The Ditz or a Cloud Cuckoolander, drives the price up when buying, or drives it down when selling. Another has the party that holds all the power responding to any attempt to haggle by keeping her offer exactly the same, or even worsening it.

See also Accidental Bargaining Skills.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Adverts  

  • Thoroughly spoofed in a series of adverts for a comparison website by Omid Djalili.

     Anime & Manga  

  • In Hunter ◊ Hunter, Leolio is an expert haggler and provides a couple of example, including one where he is so successful that the crowd burst in applause when the deal is sealed.
  • Ranma Ĺ: To get back at Ranma for accidentally destroying an expensive concert ticket, Nabiki dedicates an entire day to making him miserable. At the end of the chapter, Nabiki manipulates him into thinking she took off all her clothes. Her family happens to come home at the same time and they both know he'll get in trouble if they're caught in such a situation. After he urges her to put some clothes on, they start haggling over her price for getting dressed.
    Nabiki: Fifty dollars.
    Ranma: Too much! Twenty dollars!
    Nabiki: Forty-five dollars.
    Ranma: Robber! Thirty dollars!
    Nabiki: Done! A pleasure doing business with you.
  • Near the end of the second episode of the first season of K-On!, Mugi politely asks the music store clerk if she could haggle over the price of a 250,000-yen Les Paul guitar, way beyond the 50,000-yen budget Yui had. She succeeds once the clerk sees Mugi's Big Ol' Eyebrows and recognizes her as the daughter of the president of the conglomorate that owns the store.
    Mugi: (upon seeing the clerk's initial offer) Lower!
    • Ritsu did the same thing to the same clerk when she bought her drumset. Mio noted she nearly drove him to tears.
  • During the Lovers arc in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Joseph and a kebab shop owner haggle over the kebab prices, but Steely Dan tricks Joseph into paying for expensive kebabs.

     Comic Books  

  • Tintin haggles for the price of a model ship for Captain Haddock in The Secret of the Unicorn. The price eventually paid is one the street vendor reluctantly agrees to, saying that he's robbing himself by selling it for that.

     Fan Fiction  

  • In Weekend at Hisao's, Shizune haggles over the price of a pair of pants to buy her younger brother Hideaki. It helps that she's a Spirited Competitor who takes everything seriously.
    Shizune: [Shopping is War. Take no Prisoners.]
  • A common example of characters bargaining in the wrong direction is found in Harry Potter fanfic when someone attempts to pay Dobby or Winky for services as a house elf. Dobby frequently argues for less money and no time off. The people hiring him often find themselves having to offer a lower wage before he'll accept. Winky will usually be horrified at the thought of accepting any money at all and will have to be strong-armed into it.

     Film  

  • Trope Namer comes from a Running Gag in Monty Python's Life of Brian, where at first, an ex-leper tries to beg Brian for money, then where he tries to buy a fake mustache from a merchant who refuses to take the high price and insists on haggling. Both the beggar and the merchant use the line "Do you want to haggle?"
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Sparrow and Barbossa both haggle over the percentage of the booty that Jack owes Barbossa if he gets the Black Pearl back. They settle on 25%, but it's the offer of a new hat, a really big one, that seals the deal for Barbossa.
    • Subverted in the second film. Jack tries to do this to Davey Jones. At one point, he uses Will's situation to appeal to Jones' softer side. It failed spectacularly. He also uses a variation of the page quote when Jones says two souls aren't equivalent.
  • In The Mummy, Evelyn bargained with Rick's jailer to stop Rick's execution by hanging in exchange for a portion of the artifacts or value of the artifacts found at Hamunaptra. The two argued over the deal while Rick slowly suffocated as the rope didn't break his neck, but the jailer loses track of which side of the deal he's on.
    Evelyn: If you spare his life, I'll give you ten percent.
    Jailer: Fifty percent.
    Evelyn: Twenty.
    Jailer: Forty.
    Evelyn: Thirty.
    Jailer: *With finality* Twenty five.
    Evelyn: *Triumphantly* Ah! Deal.
    Jailer: *Realizing his mistake* Dammit... Cut him down!
  • In the 2010 remake of True Grit, Mattie haggles with a merchant over what compensation she is owed for his inability to protect her father's horse, as well as attempting to sell back some ponies her father had bought from him before being murdered. He is so traumatized by the experience that he cuts himself short when she later tries to buy a horse from him, and we later learn from a stable hand that her name is forbidden to be spoken in his household.
  • In Stardust, where a dealer purchases captured lightning. He haggles with the owner, who kept sticking his amount to "two hundred". They eventually come to a deal at "one nine five," with sales tax, which is two hundred.

     Literature  

  • Happens several times in The Wheel of Time. Mat in particular notes that a the best time to take a deal is when both parties walk away from it thinking that they came out ahead.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire claims the opposite — a good deal is one in which both parties are unsatisfied.
  • A number of times in Over the Wine-Dark Sea. As the characters are ancient merchants it is natural.
  • Several times in Ephraim Kishon's travel stories.
    Kishon: "How much? Wieviel? Combien?"
    Greek Ferryman: "Cinquecento!" note 
    Kishon (self-conscious): "Ha ha ha! Six thousand lire, not one peso more!"
    Ferryman: "OK."
  • In the Serpentwar Saga, Roo plays a Get Rich Quick Scheme which basically consists of attempting to corner the export of wheat to cities about to get hit by locusts. Then a captain from one of these cities shows up in port. Conversation paraphrased:
    Roo: I'm selling wheat, a royal a bushel.
    Captain: Two royals for three bushels.
    Roo: A royal and a common a bushel.
    Captain: Wait. You're asking for more?
    Roo: *shrug* Locusts.
  • On Gor almost all business transactions, large or small, are accomplished through haggling. Often after the haggling is over, the buyer will give twice the amount agreed upon, "because I want to pay what it's worth." Then the seller will return all the overage and a good amount of the original price "because I do not want to cheat you." Slaves, however, are usually purchasd via auction.
  • Glod of Soul Music fails spectacularly at haggling; he always insists on trying it and always ends up driving the price up (and thinking he got them a bargain in the process).
    • Repeatedly averted with "Cut Me Own Throat" Dibbler, who will generally continue lowering his prices the longer you speak with him, without prompting. Given the usual nature of his wares, this is something of a necessity.
  • Used in the entry on the Bimms in Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Alien Species. Anthropologist Mammon Hoole needs to buy some equipment and is initially stunned at the price, then remembers that the Bimms intentionally inflate their prices because they like haggling. They agree on a more reasonable price a couple paragraphs later.
  • A minor but telling plot point in Executive Orders has John Clark shopping in the Iran street market. He decides to buy a gold necklace from a merchant, who promptly haggles the price down to 700 US dollars without Clark even trying, for a necklace worth at least three thousand dollars. Clark quickly realizes that the owner put on a show of annoyance and haggled for the people following him, and he lowered the price so much to show that not everyone supports the new regime.
  • The Rihannsu bargain backwards, with the seller trying for a low price and the buyer for a higher one. A House that thinks well of its own honor will try to bargain the prices higher. The protagonist of the second book, whose job is analogous to a housekeeper, has to balance what honor requires her to pay with the amount the somewhat impoverished household can actually afford.

     Live Action TV  

  • One episode of That '70s Show had Leo and Kelso haggling over the sale price of an El Camino. In a rare flash of intelligence (you know, compared to usual) Kelso realizes that he's driving the price the wrong way. Then as Kelso asks for $500, Leo says no. Then asks for $500. They agree, shake hands, and both walk away thinking that the other man is a sucker.
  • In the backwards episode of Seinfeld, Kramer and Newman haggle about... birthday wishes.
  • In Last of the Summer Wine woe betide anyone that tries to haggle with Auntie Wainwright, the price (and number of items bought) can only increase.
  • The crew of the Firefly-class ship Serenity, before stealing or smuggling something, almost always has a fence and a price lined up. Unfortunately, the fence generally decides to renegotiate, which causes Jayne or ZoŽ to draw their guns, only for Mal to stand them down and put on his haggling smirk. In the episode Serenity, originally planned as the pilot, they realize a fence is preparing to betray them when she declines to haggle and just accepts the initial offer.
    Mal: I do believe that woman is planning to shoot me again...
    Jayne: If she meant to pay you, she'd have haggled you down some.
    • In the episode "Safe" the haggling session appears to be pre-arranged from both sides, given that Mal already knows the price they eventually settled on and the buyer apparently having pre-prepared a purse with the appropriate amount.
      Book: (seeing Mal and the buyers disagree on 20 vs 30 a head) Is this a problem?
      Mal: Nah, a few minutes from now we'll agree on 25.
  • In the Friends episode "The One with the Ring", Phoebe tries this when she goes ring shopping with Chandler (for Monica):
    Chandler: Oh my God thatís it, thatís the ring! How much is it?
    Phoebe: Chandler, I-I will handle this! (To the jeweler) How much is it?
    Jeweler:: 8,600.
    Phoebe: We will give you $10.
    Jeweler: Are you interested in this ring?!
    Chandler: Yes! Yes, but I can only pay $8,000.
    Jeweler:: Okay, I can let it go at eight.
    Phoebe: We stand firm at $10.
    Jeweler:: (to Chandler) How would you like to pay?
    Chandler: Uh, credit card. Oh no! No-no, but I left my credit card with Joey. (to Phoebe) Okay, Iíll go get it. You guard the ring.
    Phoebe: Okay. (to the jeweler) Listen, Iím sorry about before. Do you have anything here for $10?
    Jeweler:: Uh yes, I have these two rather beautiful $5 bills.
    Phoebe: Iíll give you $1 for them.
  • On 30 Rock, Jack likes to haggle so much that he does it for fun. When Josh wants to negotiate his contract, he asks for a 15 percent raise. Jack counters with a dollar. When Josh makes some more demands, Jack counters with 75 cents. In the same episode, high on negotiating, he also ends up setting a meeting time with TGS's producer Pete for the middle of the night. Not because that was at all convenient for him, but just because he wanted the rush of winning a negotiation by getting the other guy to agree to something he didn't want.
    • It gets more intense than that in a later season episode when Liz's contract is up for renovation. She finds an old learn-to-negotiate self-help videotape which Jack recorded and marketed when he was younger and starts using his own tricks against him. He quickly realizes what's happened and begins correcting her application of his techniques and soon he's literally negotiating against himself on both sides. Much to his surprise, Jack-as-Liz-as-Jack wins, because he uses Jack-as-himself's affection for Liz as leverage.
    • He almost suffers a complete Heroic BSOD when his nanny demolishes him in negotiating her contract (sitting back and peeling an orange while he makes one classic negotiating mistake after another. When he realizes the power she had stemmed from her care-taker role for his infant daughter he regains his confidence and uses the same technique against his new bosses (with the newly purchased NBC standing in as their "baby")
  • Subverted in Bottom, Eddie tries to sell a hand carved wooden leg to a pawnshop for money to place on a betting horse, he tries to haggle with Harry the pawn broker with mixed results:
    Harry: Must be worth at least two and a half grand, I'll give you one pound fifty for it.
    Eddie: Um, let's haggle.
    Harry: Alright, a quid.
    Eddie: No, let`s haggle upwards.
    Harry: ALRIGHT, Fifty pence.
    Eddie: Blimey, they don`t call you "Harry the Bastard" for nothing, do they?
  • In The Wire, Omar does this with Proposition Joe when Omar attempts to sell drugs to Proposition Joe that Omar stole from Prop Joe in the first place. When Omar asks for 20 cents on the dollar, Prop Joe offers 10 cents on the dollar, prompting Omar to counter with 30 cents on the dollar if Prop Joe tries to haggle any more.
    • And then, of course, there are repeated scenes where the cops and district attorneys haggle for information or plea bargains.
    • In an earlier scene, Nick Sobotka haggles Proposition Joe into getting Cheese to not only cancel his brother's debt but pay him the difference in Blue Book price of the Camaro that Cheese destroyed. He only gets away with it because he knows someone from Prop Joe's drug supplier.
    Joe: If not for Sergei here, ya'll would be some cadaverous motherfuckers.
  • Green Acres: In one episode, Mr. Haney asks Lisa to haggle down the price of an item. She misunderstands the concept, and instead of starting at a low price and moving up, Lisa starts low and goes lower until Haney agrees.
  • Contestants in Reality Shows like The Apprentice show wildly differing skill at this. One technique they all seem to try is "I really need this, and I can't find it anywhere else, and I have to have it in the next 30 minutes!" - oddly enough, this never seems to lead to the seller going "Really? Well, in THAT case... the price just doubled."
  • The History Channel's very popular show about a Las Vegas pawn shop, Pawn Stars, basically has almost everything the store buys purchased on the basis of lots of haggling. In some cases when the seller or the buyer sticking to a close price, the other party is shown agonizing whether to give in over the difference.
  • Karen and Davis in Corner Gas haggle over how much of a raise to give Karen in one episode.
  • In Farscape this is the main reason Moya's crew keeps Rygel around, he's an annoying arrogant gasbag but he does know how to get a good deal. And they're on a shoestring budget most of the time.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, Ep22), Dean wants a 10 year contract to have Sam brought back to life, but the crossroad demon knows she can set the terms and only gives Dean one year before the hellhounds take him.
  • In the M*A*S*H episode "Dear Mildred", Frank and Margaret are commissioning a local Korean artist to make a wooden bust of Col. Potter's head for his birthday:
    Artist: Six bucks.
    Margaret: Well, Frank?
    Frank: Huh?
    Margaret: [sotto voce, through a clenched smile] These people have no espect-ray unless you aggle-hay over the ice-pray.
    Frank: [after mentally translating] Five dollars.
    Artist: Seven-fifty.
    Frank: Sold.
    Margaret: [glaring at Frank] UMB-day!

     Newspaper Comics  

     Stand-up Comedy  
  • Bill Maher, in one of his specials, talking about Islam's "72 Virgins in Heaven" trope:
    "72 virgins. It's very suspicious to me. It's a clue. It tells you we're dealing with people from a bartering culture. Because nobody starts with that number. Someone went, '100 virgins!' '50!' '85!' '69!' '79!' '71!' '73' '72!' 'Done!' That's how you got 72."
    • Billy Connolly told the same joke, only the number of virgins he used was 43. He cited it as proof that there was a committee involved somewhere.

     Tabletop Games 
  • In 1st edition Ironclaw Haggling was a skill. But like many other skills in 2nd its functions were folded into other skills (Negotiation, Deceit, Inquiry) and a "haggling" Gift granting a bonus d12 on those skills in that situation (and an automatic 10% discount on cheap items) was added.

     Video Games  
  • This is what roughly 50% of the game play of Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland consists of. For some players, the urge to look up a guide is hard to resist.
  • Quest for Glory uses this in games 2 and 3, which take place in fantasy versions of Arabia and Africa respectively. Generally, it's best to get the price right in one go, as failures will cause the vendor to raise their minimum. The sole exception to this is the meat merchant in 3, who is such an Extreme Doormat that you buy his wares at 1 gold coin a pop and he'll still kiss your butt and call you "Master".
    • Also worth mentioning is the bead maker, an elderly woman who barely speaks your language and thus is completely immune to any attempts at haggling.
  • Angband and Trade Wars both supported a back-and-forth version where the player would have to suggest a price, the merchant would counter with a higher one, and negotiations went from there. Suggesting too low of a price could get you kicked out of the shop forever.
  • You can haggle with the shopkeeper in Star Fox Adventures, but if you go too low too many times, he'll stop haggling and refuse to pay less than the original price.
  • Several times in Marco Polo.
  • In Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale you can do this if a customer thinks your prices are too high (or you're offering too little if they're selling), however you get more experience points if you get the price they want on the first try.
  • The Game Of The Ages - It takes an extended haggling session to get your Magic Armor of Magic cheap enough to buy. But that's nothing compared to your drawn-out struggle to sell a mouldy life-preserver. You eventually do - for one coin.
  • At midnight on the second day you can witness the owner of the curiosity shop and Sakon the thief haggle over a bomb bag in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Provided you didn't stop Sakon from stealing it in the first place, of course.
  • In Dragon Quest III, you can haggle in the Middle East Expy town. Generally, you can get items that aren't otherwise available for some time, but you'll end up paying twice the price they would otherwise be worth later. For example, the Iron Helm, usually sold for 1000 gold, starts at 20,000 gold, and gets bargained down to 2,000 gold.
  • Averted in the first Dragon Quest - the manual clearly explains that you, the player, can't haggle the price of sold items. In other words, Alefgard merchants will accept your old equipment for half its original price and won't haggle because they are very stubborn.
  • Haggling is a gameplay mechanic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: when attempting to sell an item to or buy it from a vendor, he or she will first propose a base price for it, which is based on the item's intrinsic value, repair state, and the vendor's disposition to the PC. The PC can then suggest a higher or lower price (when selling and buying, respectively), which the vendor can accept, sealing the deal, or reject, letting the player try again. In Morrowind, when a vendor rejects a price, their disposition actually goes down, forcing the player to make a slightly more generous offer next time or break off the negotiation and try to sweet-talk them again.
  • Haggling mechanics work similarly in Uncharted Waters: New Horizons: when purchasing goods, you can stack up multiple discounts to reduce the price drastically. Having a Book Keeper with the Negotiation perk automatically reveals the lowest price the seller will agree to (or the highest for a buyer).
  • Rusty's Real Deal Baseball got a lot of attention before its release because, despite ostensibly being a free-to-download collection of baseball minigames, it uses a haggling system to unlock new levels—using real money.

     Web Comics  

     Web Video 
  • Joseph and Steely Dan haggled over the price of kebabs during the Lovers episode in Vaguely Recalling JoJo. Joseph won because he acted childish.

     Western Animation  

  • In an episode of Family Guy, Peter offers completely random prices with no rhyme or reason. As Brian explains to the salesman, "He doesn't know how to haggle."
  • An episode of Futurama had Amy haggle with a salesman over the price of a car. She actually offers to pay so much, its robot boss explodes from joy. (A later episode shows that this is the result of a robotic mental illness of some sort.)
    Leela: OK, the sticker says 55,000 but we'll only go as high as say-
    Amy: 60,000!
    [Leela sighs.]
    Victor:Oh, I will have to ask my manager.
    [He walks into Malfunctioning Eddie's office.]
    Leela: Amy, you don't go up from the sticker price!
    Amy: I thought it was an auction.
    [Through the office window, we see Victor say something to Eddie. Eddie smiles and they both dance. Victor comes back out again.]
    Victor: He is not too happy.
    Amy: I'm sorry. 80,000?
    [Eddie's head explodes.]
  • On Rugrats, haggling is shown to be one of Drew Pickle's favorite childhood games. (When he was the age of the main characters, mind you.) His brother, Stu, understandably hated it and refused to play with him.
  • Parodied in Squirrel Boy, where instead of haggling for less, Rodney haggles for more, such as paying a guy five dollars instead of the two required for admission into a fair.
  • In an episode of Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? A vital clue gets parachuted into India, which a shopkeeper picks up and puts up for sale. Ivy offers him 50 rupees for it, but Zack reminds her that in this culture, he'd be insulted if you didn't haggle.
    Zack (in Hindi): I am a good customer.
    Shopkeeper (in Hindi): How good?
    (time passes)
    Zack: Hey, Ivy!
    Ivy: Hold on! A dhurrie rug, a coffeepot, five silk scarves, and ten pounds of coffee? You didn't haggle, Zack, you bought everything he had!
    Zack: Hey, at least I got the box.

     Real Life  

  • In many nations it is required that you haggle when you are shopping for items. People from countries like the United States (where haggling is normally only done for big-ticket items like cars or houses) are often at a loss on how to haggle (or are annoyed or confused or just plain ignorant on how to properly haggle). In countries with highly different currency values, they may also be at a loss to how much an item is genuinely worth. Of course this can be a paradoxical advantage as not wanting the item in question, and having no interest in haggling for its own sake, is a very strong bargaining position for a buyer.
    • The inverse of this trope is people who come to visit America and attempt to haggle, only to find a very offended and annoyed salesperson.
  • In classified ads, especially on the internet, you may find "asking price pre-haggled" to show that, no, the seller does NOT want to haggle.
  • Diplomacy is essentially high-class haggling with the possibility of massive destruction being the ultimate bargaining chip.

     Other  

  • On Neopets, you can haggle the price when buying from NPC shops. You can generally get a better price at a user-owned shop though, so most of the time it's not really worth it. Be warned: if you haggle for too long without coming to an agreement, you will eventually get thrown out of the shop.


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