Antique Trader Inbox: Missing prices often-times means ‘no sale’

The following are readers’ reactions to the Jan. 20 Question of the Week: Does un-priced merchandise ever dissuade you from making a purchase?

Verdict: no price (generally) means no sale

No price means no sale for me. I feel that either the seller is lazy or adjusts the price to the first impression he/she has of you. Either way, not someone I want to do business with.

JB, via e-mail

Prone to walk away

If I have to ask for the price of something, I usually will simply walk away and leave it. I know that sometimes the price will be on a sticker that falls off, but that can be fixed with putting a piece of tape over the price tag.

I enjoy reading your paper. 

LBJ, via e-mail

Who wants to ask about every item?

Yes, un-priced merchandise dissuades me from making a purchase. First of all, I get tired of asking what the price is on everything I would like to purchase (especially when the clerk is busy elsewhere and I have to wait for his/her attention).

Second of all, if a store doesn’t have time to put a sticker on everything then they must be very busy and making money and should hire [someone to price their items].

Third of all, I can’t make an offer if I don’t know where the other person’s starting point is. If I just like something but don’t know the value then I’m going to embarrass myself either way. The only time that I don’t mind un-priced merchandise is when I am at a flea market or a garage sale where I know that the Seller really does accept almost any offer because they just want to move the merchandise out of there.

Debbie Miller
Aussie-Magic Vintiques
Alton Antique Center, Alton, N.Y.

Dealers don’t like it, either

For me, no price has always turned me off … I am a dealer and a collector. Sometimes I will ask, but usually will just pass it by … I always put a price on my items for sale.

Evelyn Lohr, via e-mail

Missing price tags can even cause uppityness

Yes. When I’m browsing a mall or show and see un-priced merchandise I just keep walking. If the dealer is present I may ask the price, but like you, feel that a different customer might get a different price.

At a large market I asked one dealer the price on a stack of unframed paintings. He replied “$100 dollars each” … I nicely thanked him and started to move on at which point he said rather haughtily “well I’m not going to sell them for $30.”

Excuse me? I didn’t say or do anything to express my thoughts on the price, in fact I was planning on returning to the booth later to give them a better look. Had they been marked I wouldn’t have had to ask and he wouldn’t have alienated me with his uppity attitude. After that, I had no desire to return to his booth.

JG, via e-mail

No problem asking for a price

I have no problem with asking price, too high, walk, close, make offer, right, just buy.

In my specialty, original hardware, the items are usually too small to have a good price tagable area, or they take a magic marker and mark the face of something then I almost always pass. I also sell, and have had people come back 4-5 times a day checking the price on the same items, my pricing does not matter if your wearing a suit or worn blue jeans, male or female.

Also on a good day I might purchase 1-500 items, I can sort this many but tag? Not a chance. Then I get home and can sort better, match up with what is on the Web site and add it to the Web site, then next weekend start this all over again

Craig Phillips
B & C Emporium Antiques and Original Hardware

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Responses from Twitter

@AntiqueTrader: Has un-priced merchandise ever dissuaded you from buying from an #antique shop?

@OLDcrowAntiques No Tag-In Stillwater Mn, one dealer we know purposely de-tags one piece of furniture at a time-inspires interest in dullards

@iamthemuse Yes, yes it has!

@Yankster if there are no price tags on merch I walk on by feeling like dealer’s sizing me up

@iamthemuse Well, I love to barter! There is no sense offering way under what the shop is asking…you must be fair in the bartering ๐Ÿ™‚

@iamthemuse You get the feeling, when they do not mark the pieces…that in a way, the owners do not care whether they sell them or not

@fleapirates Un-priced merchandise dissuaded u from buying at an #antique shop? You bet! Estate Garage Sales & Fleas too!

@StuccoHouse Absolutely

@Dr_Mix Yep, and I never bother to ask (sticker shock?)

@Mr_Lincoln No…but dealers who refuse credit cards have dissuaded me from buying. ๐Ÿ™‚

@jenni_jackson Yes, often..!

@JasonDiehl Absolutely! At shows too.

@Miss_Deeva Yes and I will not ask the price either. It should be marked just like other stores.

@hollylaneantiq ALWAYS!!!!

Letters can be addressed to Editor, Antique Trader, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990, or e-mailed to All letters and e-mails must be signed with a first and last name, and include a return postal address. 

Antique Trader reserves the right to edit letters or not publish letters.


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