Identify And Resist Pressure To "Buy Now"

Wikiow has an interesting entry on resisting sales pitches. Most of the stuff is the fundamentals, but we think this maxim always bears repeating:

“Consider that any claim of a deadline on an offer may be a pressure sales tactic, designed to discourage you from changing your mind, walking away, or shopping around. Salespeople know full well that people who walk away never come back, and they often go to some lengths to prevent prospects from leaving without closing a deal. If the price will double tomorrow or if it’s suddenly the last one in stock, be on your guard.”

What sales pressure tactics have you noticed? How do you deal with them?

How to Resist a Sales Pitch [Wikhow]
(Photo: Ben Popken)


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  1. Steveo says:

    Best Buy: “Last Wii in stock, go see Karen to get the LAST Wii!”
    20 Minutes Later…
    Best Buy: “Last Wii in stock, go see Karen to get the LAST Wii!”

  2. DashTheHand says:

    Just don’t buy it if you don’t go in and get the exact thing you’ve researched getting for the price you’ve found or under.

    You DID research what you wanted to buy didn’t you? Naughty impulse buyers.

  3. DrGirlfriend says:

    Interestingly, I get more pressure to upgrade my intended purchase, than to simply buy the initial item I was looking for.

    When I was a college student on a very limited budget, I’d often have to settle for something of average quality because I simply couldn’t afford anything more. I’d often get salespeople try to get me to spend more by telling me that the item I was getting (for example a winter coat), would simply not last me more than a year or 2 and I should really consider spending $150 more. Even after I’d explain my buget situation, I’d still get the “tsk tsk’s” and head shakings.

    Also, when buying things like $50 DVD players, or other inexpensive electronics, I get the incredulous “You don’t wanted the extended warranty protection for like $60 more? Are you sure? I mean, come on, you really should be getting this. No? Ok, suit yourself.”

    So in other words, the sales tactic I get the most is the “you are just silly for not buying what I tell you to buy” attitude. I deal with it by either threatening to pull another salesperson and give him the sale, or just saying “You’re pressuring me inappropriately, I’ll be looking for someone else to help me now.”

  4. PracticalMagic says:

    One thing I’ve found that is a real turnoff, is when a salesperson makes disparaging about a competitor. When we decided to buy a car 2 years ago, after we had not made a decision, the salesperson asked where else we had looked. We told him where and he started in about their unfair practices, how they lie, how we should do a carfax report on any car we were considering. That did it for us. We were no long interested in ANYTHING they had to say or sell. If a business has to resort to this sort of conduct, then they’re obviously not that good themselves.

  5. sroemerm says:

    By avoiding shopping altogether I’ve found that I almost never feel pressured to make a purchase that I don’t want to make.

  6. Jozef says:

    I’m very proud of myself for resisting just such pressure last Saturday, when my annual visit to the local shopping mall got rudely interrupted by a woman selling some kind of hand lotion from a booth in the middle of the mall hallway. She first washed my hands and then put the lotion on, all the while telling me something (no idea what; I was focused on her cleavage). At the end she kept repeating that it was the last day the lotion would sell for half its regular price. I managed to surprise her into a few seconds of silence and escape from her, after telling her that price was not a concern for me; that I’d be happy to pay the full price the next day.

  7. SaraAB87 says:

    I don’t feel much pressure from sales people in this way, I do most of my shopping online so I decide what to buy and where to buy it, since most everything I buy can be gotten for cheaper prices online, especially for larger electronics purchases which tend to be where they will pressure you into having the latest and greatest because it will make you cooler. My main thing is if I don’t like the price I am not buying, no matter how good your sales tactics are. The only time I feel the pressure is when they ask you to donate a dollar to x charity, or sign up for a credit card you don’t need, or ask you to purchase something while checking out. I usually only make small purchases in retail stores, or purchase what is not feasable to buy online. If I want to donate a dollar I will donate it to my Church.. thank you. If I wanted to donate to a charity I would donate directly to the charity, not through a retail store.

    Other than that I try to decide what I really want to buy and what I will actually use, just because the Nintendo Wii or the Ipod touch are the hottest items and would make me look cooler doesn’t mean they are items that I even want and if I buy them I know I wouldn’t even use them so if I were to buy these items they would be pointless purchases for me, even though no one seems to understand why I don’t want a Wii.

  8. nursetim says:

    In related news, buying on-line becomes a more attractive way to purchase things.

  9. Vicky says:

    One strange and completely disorienting tactic is to start processing the sale before you agree to it. The gist of it is that you make a comment like “I’m looking for a bracelet for my girlfriend” and then say “Can you show me that one?” and they cut off the tag, hand it to you, and then start packaging and gift-wrapping the bracelet while you stand there with the little tag. They will proceed all the way to check-out without ever asking if you’ve made your decision, which leaves you feeling like you’re going to inconvenience them if you cancel the sale. A worse variant is to remove something from its packaging and then insist that you have to buy it because they can’t sell an open box. I’ve mostly seen this outside of fixed-wall retail locations – markets, antique pavilions, and those little carts in shopping malls.

  10. Munsoned says:

    Last time I bought a car I got the usual extended warranty pitch.

    Me: Why would I want an extended warranty?

    Sales Rep: The extended warranty covers the electronics, etc. etc. which the basic warranty does not.

    Me: Do you not stand by the electronics etc. that your company has put into this car? Should I be shopping with another manufacturer that stands by the quality of thier vehicle?

    Sales Rep: Ummm…?

    I still bought the car (sans the extra warranty). I felt pretty good having put THEM on the hot seat for once…

  11. One of my best tactics, which I’ve mentioned before, is that when pressured, particularly in a “boy” store (electronics, hardware, car repair), I just put on my saddest, dumbest face and say, “Oh … I don’t think my husband will let me spend that much.” or “Oh, but my husband said to get THIS one, and he’ll get really mad if I get the wrong one!”

    Apparently salespeople are totally willing to believe my marriage lives in 1950.

  12. MameDennis says:

    I hate warranty hard-sell so much that it’s one of the main reasons I buy electronics online.

    I especially hate it when they try to slip it in as they ring up your product… “there’s your wireless mouse, and we’re going to sign you up for a three-year extended warranty for just $75…” No, no you are not.

  13. jamesdenver says:

    I use the internets. If I do have to go to a store I call first, make sure it’s in stock, have them set it aside, and go pick up.

    If I’m lucky said product is waiting right up front. I can dash in, pay, and get the hell out.

  14. jamesdenver says:


    There’s tons of “overcoming objections” for this.

    One trick I do use when real shopping (dealing with salespeople, price comparing at physical stores) is to just say I’m shopping for my boss, or given X amount of dollars.

    If you take away “your” money, and remove YOURSELF from the decision making process making it “they” want me to buy, or “she” told me to pick this up – there’s not much they can do. (Except ask for you to call them, but unfortunately she’s on a cave snorkeling trip to in the Yucatan)

  15. crazyflanger says:

    I hate pressure from sales people. The main reason I buy most high ticket items online. The worst place I’ve ever shopped at is guitar center. It is a serious f**king joke. Everyone in there trys to be your friend, and if you are trying out a guitar they all say the same thing. “Awesome guitar man, wish I had that one”. They are also one of those haggle for the best price places. Why can’t they just give you the lowest price they will accept? Why do they have to force you to bring in an add from a competitor. I only dare go to guitar center if I need an item right away. Not to mention you can’t really try anything out with out 18 different asshat sales men. Same thing with best buy and other douchebag stores.

  16. TWinter says:

    I had an amazing experience at Best Buy about a month ago.

    I bought a new TV. The sales guy was really helpful and low pressure. He steered me to buying a cheaper set than the one I was looking at based on reliability. He talked to me for about ten minutes and he NEVER mentioned the extended warranty. I took the TV to the front, bought it and the cashier also NEVER mentioned buying an extended warranty.

    I wonder if my local Best Buy has organized some sort of uprising against corporate policy?

  17. Currently shopping for an apartment, I am faced with this all the time. About every managed apartment community I’ve visited always has some sort of: Submit an application with deposit within 24-hours of your visit and your first month rent is free! or within 24-hours and your rent is only $850/month, after that its the full $900. Its always temping, but I honestly would be more inclined to go with a place that doesn’t try this ploy, because when they do it makes me think “What don’t they want me to stop and realize about this place that they want me to make a quick decision?”

  18. theblackdog says:

    @TWinter: If they did, expect to see all those workers fired by corporate when their numbers aren’t what corporate wants.

  19. Death says:


    Have you tried your tv yet? I bet it’s hollow inside. My mind simply cannot accept what you are saying about Best Buy.

  20. theblackdog says:

    @LastVigilante: I admit I may have slightly fallen for this one. I was desperate to get out of my old apartment and into a new one. When I called a place, he said that there was nothing open since someone else was applying for the only available unit that he had. Four hours later I get a call from the landlord saying the other person fell through and if I came in the next morning and applied, the apartment could be mine if I was approved.

    Sure enough, I went in, applied, and got the apartment. He probably bullshitted me on availability but he sure didn’t do so on rent since I had already come in with names of other residents who had recommended him.

  21. erratapage says:

    I’ll never forget the time share guy who told me that if I didn’t buy that day, I would never receive the same deal again. I told him that was the most disappointing thing I’d ever heard from a salesman, because I just wasn’t going to make a large purchase without some time to think… and that if they weren’t going to give me that time, I had made my decision.

    It was a very liberating feeling saying no on principle.

  22. Snarkysnake says:

    Never been there myself,but my friends tell me that Best Buy is the worst place for high pressure, “Buy today or its gone forever” jive.

  23. Instigator says:

    @Jozef: Do not allow yourself to get pulled in by those nuisances who work at mall kiosks! They’re the most obnoxious of all mall employees (even more so than those clipboard-wielding survey-takers). When they attempt to get me to stop and listen to their spiel or try a product, I say, “Not interested” as I keep walking without making eye contact. They inevitably continue to call after me, usually with, “Can I ask you a question?” What part of “Leave me the f**k alone” do they not understand?

  24. SaraAB87 says:

    Wearing headphones is also a good defense, even if your not really listening to anything, they are less likely to bother someone wearing headphones.

    I just walk past the mall kiosks, its not that hard, really. Retail is getting just as bad as carnival game joints trying to lure you in to play the game..

    I would NEVER buy anything from a mall kiosk because a couple years ago there was that big fiasco where fake video game consoles were being sold at mall kiosks, then when I walked into a mall I saw a couple with children that were crying walking around looking for the kiosk and trying to return that fake console that didn’t work. The kiosk was no where to be found on December 26th….

    Any product sold at a mall kiosk is not to be trusted, its not like there isn’t an infinite selection of products online that I can purchase..

  25. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: I do the same thing but say that the wife won’t let me buy it cause she runs the finances. It’s funnier when she is there with me she plays along. In reality we both have seperate accounts and 1 joint account for bills. So really I can buy whatever I have the money for. Yeah I know its a cop-out but I hate to make people feel bad if I can help it.

  26. StevieD says:


    I would be happy to pay full price for the lotion just to get another look at her cleavage

  27. Pinget says:

    I hate the charity pitches that say an anonymous donor has agreed to match all gifts through x date. I’ve heard that exact same pitch from way too many charities for that to actually be true.

  28. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: Haha, I love that one.

    The reverse trick, which is even more fun, is to go with your husband to the “boy store” and have him anxiously ask for your opinion every time the salesperson tries to push him.

  29. @Nemesis_Enforcer: Oh, I’m lying through my darn teeth! My husband isn’t actually very tech-y, so I do all our tech shopping. (Moreover, he could give a rat’s ass what I spend, I’m the budgety one.) The first time I did it I actually did it because I was frustrated they were treating me like I was dumb … then I realized it was the best. strategy. ever.

    I like to watch them get frustrated as they realize they can’t sell me anything because I’m too “stupid” to understand what they’re telling me, and that, “Oh, I don’t think I should bother him at work, he’s in court today and the judge doesn’t like it when cellphones ring.” “Maybe he could come in with you tomorrow.” “Oh, no, he works really hard.”

    @CumaeanSibyl: LOL!

  30. Keter says:

    When someone starts to do the buy now thing to me, I look them straight in the eye and say something like “why, does the new version come out tomorrow?” Often I find that this is the case: the thing has been sitting around so long that the new model is already in the stockroom, and they have to get rid of all of the old ones before they can put the new (higher priced) ones out.

    This can be an advantage, if the older model meets all needs. I got Radio Shack to sell me a low end digital camcorder/voice recorder/still camera (I use it to record meetings and capture whiteboard scribbles…it is not suitable for any other use) for $50 and throw in a free set of rechargeable batteries for it. The “new” model, which they showed me from behind the counter after I asked, was different only in it took a larger memory card and had a prettier case. It was also $100 more.

  31. youwantedahero says:

    Okay…. as someone who works in retail, most of these comments really get to me. A few points I have to make:

    1. I NEVER NEVER insinuate that someone is foolish for refusing to buy something. That is the quickest way to lose someone’s trust. Also, I hate hard selling, won’t do it, won’t go any place that does it.
    2. If salespeople didn’t at least try with the add-ons, extended warranties and whatever, they would not have a job in sales. Ever. There are goals every corporation out there expects you to make, and if you consistently fail to reach them, your ass is grass.
    3. Consumer electronics are EXTREMELY low-margin. Most CE places could not even afford to be in business without the add-ons. So, sorry, if SOMEONE didn’t buy them, no one would be able to.
    4. People buying exclusively from the internet is totally killing a lot of people’s jobs. Didn’t any of you ever stop to think that the reason internet stores can offer items so cheap because they don’t have to staff their “stores”? Also, if you notice, a lot of internet retailers try to get you to buy add-ons too! Also, especially with CE, it is nice sometimes to be able to go into a store and get honest help and guidance. But as someone on the other side, it is EXTREMELY annoying to spend an hour or more with a customer only for them to turn around and say, “Okay, thanks, I’m going to Costco now!” and then return two days later with help using their new camera or whatever. Please don’t do this, ever!

    Sorry, had to play devil’s advocate for a minute. I do think that high-pressure sales tactics are obnoxious, though.

  32. youwantedahero says:

    P.S. Most mall kiosks are terrible, and a scam of some kind to boot. Never give your credit card to those people. I’ve worked customer service at a mall before, and seen a lot of awful things happen to people who bought from kiosks. Don’t do it!

  33. techman01 says:

    I just want to say that on some products the enxtended warranty is WORTH IT. It does depend on who you are buying from and what the terms are; but I’d be stupid if I’m going to buy a $3,000 tv and not pay a few extra hundred dollars to guarantee my set is going to work for five years; if nothing happens during those five years; then fine; I’ve lost more money gambling…and I have used my warranty many times on products that have failed. Half the time they just replace it with a brand new one anyway.

    Long Island, NY

  34. pearlandopal says:

    @youwantedahero: If I could get a decent experience at any retail store ever, then I’d be slightly less likely to use the internet. If retail stores were open at hours that worked with my schedule (and I work standard business hours, it’s not like my schedule is weird), I’d be much less likely to use the internet. If the traffic here weren’t so bad that it takes us an hour to go five miles, I’d be somewhat less likely to use the internet.

    And so on.

  35. TMurphy says:

    @Mike Mac:
    No, it must have bathroom tiles inside…

  36. doireallyneedausername says:


    Its been hit or miss for me with big-ticket items and warranties. One one hand, I’ve used my computer extended warranty so much, I’ve probably received 3x the costs in repairs as the value of the warranty. On the other hand, I’ve never used my extended warranty on my TV.

    I agree, I would be foolish not to buy a warranty on those really big ticket items though.