However, brick and mortar stores have a much higher overhead and to put it bluntly, they can't haggle with their landlords over the rent each month, so haggling is generally frowned upon. I don't know where the idea that haggling with struggling small businesses came about, but I can guarantee if you walked into any high-end shop, department store or chain and tried to haggle, they'd laugh you right out out of the door! Exceptions do exist, such as when an item is damaged, or perhaps the retailer has decided they've been "sitting" on an item too long and wish to move it out quickly. General rule of thumb is to always be polite, never, EVER insult the merchandise, and ask discreetly if they can do better on the price -- you might get lucky and take home a bargain! Rude behaviour never garners a good relationship with a shop, whether it be flea market, consignment shop, or small businesses.
Don't misunderstand me, I've often found authentic designer items in thrift stores and flea markets (largely due to the fact that the staff doing the pricing isn't always knowledgable about every designer out there), but every single time I walk into a thrift shop I spot quite a bit of counterfeit handbags and shoes, priced as if they're authentic. When you try to educate them, often they will ignore you thinking you're trying to get a bargain, rather than listen to reason and price accordingly. Personally, I think donated counterfeit items should be put in a "free" box since they are illegal goods. Read the book "When Luxury Lost Its Lustre" to learn about what goes on in the counterfeit business as well as the damage it causes not only to the brand, but the illegal activities it advocates such as child labour and terrorist funding.
The second conginment shop I am now having a problem with hasn't paid me since January 2011. I feel like my items are being held hostage. They've also continually lied, telling me they would be at the shop to make good, then don't show. They had a basement fire in March of last year and keep claiming that they can't reopen or even turn on their phones because the insurance company hasn't settled. Yet they've been making interest on all the items that sold before the fire, and not sent out one check to show good faith. When I had my business after 9/11 everything was basically shut because we were on a block with a police station across the street, closing the street to traffic, and often times stopping shoppers from walking down the street as a security measure. This went on for months. Yet even though we had little to no business going on, and weren't candidates for grants, we still had to pay our bills, employees and consignors were first, the rest got juggled until businesss regained some momentum. I have no idea how much is owed me as their website is also not working correctly, only spooradically making false announcements that they will be mailing checks immediately and/or will be at the shop for you to pick up payment and your items. So until I know what I'm owed I can't even go to small claims court, and they don't answer any of the letters sent to them by the Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General's office. Quite frustrating as I had a good relationship with the owner, and now feel like this is just one big game of rip off the consignor. Again, learn from my mistakes! At the very least I had asked to please have my items as I had buyers I could have sold to. This was last June, so again I'm not only owed money, but could have made money on the items they're holding hostage. This was a shop I had previously given a glowing review to, now wouldn't consign a pair of dirty socks with them!
PS I've just found the fire department report for the consignment shop that had the fire: apparently the fire was caused by clothing too close to a space heater (very smart, duh), the fire was put out with minimal water, however there was heat damage throughout the facility. In addition, had the fire gone undetected for just a short time longer, the building would have been lost. So now add to the list the possibility of fire damage or smoke damage to my things. Ugh. Please learn from my mistakes!