You Can Bargain At Cosi And Starbucks

A New York Post reporter spent an entire day trying to bargain down the price of everything he purchased… and it actually worked at a few places.  At Starbucks they gave him 25% off his coffee, and at Cosi the manager agreed to cut 10% off the price of his sandwich and pizza. Saying “Give me a break… I’m not a tourist” usually gets you a reduction in price at most hot dog stands, but that’s the extent of my bargaining experience during lunch.  Has anybody else tried this before? Post your results in the comments.


  • In years past i’d always low-ball the hotdog or pretzel guys into giving me a discount, but I haven’t tried lately.

  • i am only good at this when im drunk.

  • I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I usually get ripped off if I don’t carry exact change for vendors. I guess I look like a tourist. (They give me back the wrong change and when I point to the price list… well, it gets ugly.)

  • like this guy, everything is now negotiable.

  • If you want to be sly, order a $4 falafel at 11:45am and pull out 3 dollar bills and a fifty. Instant discount, every time.

  • I do that all the time Wayne! Stop spreading my secrets!

  • The hot dog, pretzel, and falafel guys need the extra quarter or 50c more than you need a discount. What’s the matter with you?

  • The guys selling ice cream at the bottom of Central Park were trying to charge $9 for a popsicle! I said I’d give them $1.50 and they took it. I’m not even joking, $9! And the family in front of me got 4 popsicles and paid full price!

  • I’ve had bad luck with the hot dog guys actually. Usually they just look at me and shake their head. Maybe i look like a tourist anyway. Where i usually come out on top with this is at newsstands. What a lot of guys do is not tell you the price of what you are purchasing (what you owe them), probably waiting for you to give them a $5 or a $20 or whatever, and then make up a price. Usually if i am just buying one thing, i’ll hand them $1 and see where they go from there (which most of the time is a FMV anyway), usually they just take the buck. Packs of gum, granola bars, drinks, etc.

  • That popsicle story is hysterical. $9?, was it served table side?

  • I always do this at the vendors outside of museums… they definitely inflate their prices.

  • holy cow were the popsicles made out of gold!

  • Oh, in certain situations this screams of bad taste. The Cosi and Starbuck guys? Fine, it’s a corporation and it’s probably not going to hurt them too much unless everybody starts doing it. The vendor at Central Park charging $9 a popsicle? Yes, that’s way overpriced. But to start nickel and diming certain establishments and vendors so you can save a few cents or a buck on something that’s already super cheap to begin with? Sorry, but you’re the one who sounds super cheap.

  • I love bargaining with street vendors. I’m not going to spend $4.50 on a pretzel when I know I can get a better deal other places. I go for the going rate. But I esp. love doing it after a family of 4 or 5 pay full price for everything. The look of shock and awe is the best mustard there is.

  • Love the bleeding heart philanthropists on here. Probably the same dopes agreeing with wealth redistribution via taxation. In our new quasi-capitalist economy you better bargain…even with street food vendors. It’s dog eat d… umm, bad choice of words. The gent with the cart has a leg up on the salaried worker these days anyway – less documented income and more likely to be the beneficiary of any new legislation, especially if an illegal alien with test-tube octuplets. Bargain away lunchers…

  • @Anonymous: You really think the guys who work the carts have a leg up? Seriously? Let’s just not even go into the net income question. I must’ve missed the posters in the subway advertising the union for cart workers and the insurance plans and benefits they receive.

  • To anonymous … Ummmmm, sure. I’m sure you’re somebody who probably undertips as well. Come on, these folks are getting a salary! And they’re getting a family meal a shift. Why do the minimum 15%? Just leave a couple of pennies and never go back.

    And your comment about the cart guy versus salaried worker is ludicrous. Aside from all the benefits the salaried worker is getting (sick days, health insurance, etc.), most salaried workers don’t have to get up at 4A, stand in the freezing cold all day long and deal with douchebags who want to bargain 50 cents off of their hot dog. If you really can’t part with the 50 cents for your hot dog, you should be eating your hot dog at home and not giving these guys any more grief and setting examples for other bewildered patrons so that they can give these guys more grief. Go to Western Beef and buy those economy sized hot dogs and buns and stick in the freezer. I’ll bet that you can enjoy one for a hell of a lot less than going to a stand.

  • You guys would be completely outclassed by almost any random customer at the Crown Fried Chicken near my apt in Bed Stuy. I think I am the only person who goes there who doesn’t demand (not ask) for a discount every time.

  • I have to agree with you on the crown fried chicken thing. I also live in bedstuy and the last time I went in there some guy who refuse to get extra cheese on his girlfriends slice of pizza but bought himself a three piece with fries refused to pay $7.50 even though he had a ten in one hand and six bucks in the other.

  • I don’t believe in skimping the little guy street vendor, but conglomerates like Cosi and Starbucks deserved to be heckled.

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