Negotiation skills worth a great deal at pawn shops

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Pawn shops are one of many options people choose when they need quick cash, but it can be tricky for consumers to get the best values.

Pawn Shop Owner Jeff Bernard said the object a person is buying or selling is only a part of the equation when it comes to setting a price.

"The person that's the better negotiator is the one who's going to get the better deal," he said.

Bernard said good negotiators do their homework, don’t let themselves feel pressured and know when to close a deal. Customers at Bernard’s shop know that when it comes to negotiations, Bernard is no push-over.

"I'm not in the museum business. I'm not a collector. I'm a merchant," he said.

Bernard said when folks are buying he’s open to offers other than the listed price, but he said it’s insulting, and a bad negotiating tactic, to open by offering half of the price. But starting at the list price isn’t a great idea either.

"You can either make an offer or just say to me what can you do for me, If really like it and then I can tell you," he said.

Pawn shop consumers should remember that they aren’t going to get the full worth out of the items they are selling—30 to 60 percent is typical.

Bernard said both the customer and the seller are out to win.

“"The consumer has to win because it's a consumer world, and the merchant has to win because he has rent, overhead, and he has expenses,” he said.

The prices may be lower than those a person could get selling the items on their own, but Bernard said in a pawn shop the cash is instant.

"It's a great place to go, it's a great place to unload things you have laying around the house because you're gonna get instant cash,” he said.

And if negotiations don’t go well, walking out may be just the move needed to get a shop owner to offer a better deal.