Some malls only offer discounts to dealers, and you must have a tax exemption certificate on file to qualify for even 10% off. However, if you ask, most multi-dealer establishments do offer at least a 10% discount on items priced above a certain threshold – usually in the $10-50 range but some go a little higher with this requirement. Any mall staffer you run across should be able to answer your questions about discounts.
For more than a basic discount, a mall salesperson usually has to contact the seller for approval. Malls won’t generally do this unless you’re buying multiple items from the same booth or a single item valued at $100 or more. If you decide to ask for this courtesy, you can make an offer or ask for a best price. Either way, don’t expect to get more than 25% off, and keep in mind that 15-20% is more realistic.
Look for ND on Tags
Some mall sellers mark tags “ND,” which stands for no discount. This usually means that the seller has priced the merchandise as reasonably as possible considering what they paid for the piece, and they aren't willing to negotiate further.
In some instances, you can have mall personnel call the dealer to make an offer on ND merchandise but this isn't common practice. Mall workers often have a feel for which dealers will work with customers on ND merchandise, and will guide you accordingly.
Bargaining Directly with Sellers
If you happen to run into a dealer working in his booth, or the mall is a co-op and the dealer is working that day, consider yourself lucky.
While it doesn't happen often, you might be able to garner a better discount or negotiate on ND merchandise working one on one with a booth owner. The dealer avoids paying mall commissions this way, and can often pass that savings along to the customer.
Keep in mind, however, that some antique malls discourage this practice and others strictly forbid it. Respect sellers who tell tell you they may risk losing their booth lease for dealing directly with customers, and try to curb your persistence in these instances.
Take a look at even more strategies for bargaining at other selling venues popular with collectors: