Tips on haggling, negotiating from 'Pawn Stars'

Posted at 08/22/2013 6:43 PM | Updated as of 08/23/2013 2:13 PM
Rick and Corey Harrison of TV's "Pawn Stars" pose for a photo during a press conference on Thursday in Makati. Photo by Ira Pedrasa for ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA -- Taking the time off from the world’s most famous pawn shop – literally and figuratively – History Channel’s "Pawn Stars" father-and-son team Rick and Corey Harrison are here in the Philippines to give fans a tip or two about negotiating for highly-collectible stuff.

The owners of the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop based in Las Vegas are in the country, minus their other companions Richard “Old Man” Harrison and Austin “Chumlee” Russell, beating the southwest monsoon rains in the hope of finding one or two items that Filipinos may have kept for years in their closets.

Rick, called “The Spotter” in the hit reality show, suggests to leave the sentimental value behind.

In a press conference at the Holiday Inn and Suites Makati on Thursday, Rick said, “You can’t put value on sentimental value,” stressing that things are just things, which can prove even financially valuable for the family.

“In the end, it’s just stuff. If you have been out of work for so long...The family is more important than an old football,” he said.

He said the person should always be willing to walk away from an item, which means one should not place any emotional attachment to it. “If not, you lose everything, including the negotiation,” he said.

In his book “License to Pawn,” Rick explained further, “You can’t fall in love with something. You can’t decide that you’re going to buy this thing no matter what because you’ve decided you can’t live without it.”

In his book and during the press conference, he kept on saying: “It’s just stuff.”

“You can live without it…It’s. Just. Stuff. And you know what? It is. It’s just disposable, superficial stuff,” he said.

He also suggested to learn the body language of the seller. “If the seller shows he is not willing to walk away, if he indicates through body language or words that he absolutely has to get this done, he’s yours. He’s also lost money,” he said.

When it comes to the money, Rick said to never, ever give the first number. “As a buyer, you don’t want to run the risk of coming in first with a high price. You might be telling the other guy something about this item that he doesn’t know,” he advised.

Rick, probably the friendliest in the show with a hearty laugh, said to never be harsh in negotiations. “If you’re joking and laughing, you’re their friend. Then when it comes to negotiating a price, it’s no longer simply a business proposition…Now it’s more like ‘Hey, help a buddy out,’” he said.

Fake Rolex

For Rick, education is also key. It allows you to know if you’re haggling for the right but realistic price.

He told journalists and bloggers present that he still keeps a fake Rolex he thought was legit years ago. “I still have it at home to remind me I’m not that smart,” he said.

He admitted the he still gets blinded by some things and even purchases the fake ones. “I’ve had plenty [buying fakes]. Just recently, there was a Joe Jackson shoes I got. I lost $12,000,” he confessed.

During the press conference, host Rovilson Fernandez asked Rick and his son Corey to appraise a dagger he got from a friend who had links to the Marcoses, one of things the family left behind besides Imelda’s shoes.

Rick said it was the first time he saw such a thing. “This is one I don’t normally see on the show…It happens all the time, I don’t know everything,” mused Rick, pushing the audience to express a shocked “What? Why?”

In the show, Rick seems to know everything from war to sports memorabilia – part of the education he got from the “Old Man” and which he is now passing on to Corey and Chumlee. When treasure is placed in his hand, however, he calls his “experts.”

Some of the things that fans and cult followers do not know: the experts who are called into the shop are not paid for their appraisal skills.

“No, most of them are friends. I just tell them, ‘I’m gonna put you on the show and offer you gazillions worth of dollars of commercials ...Before they were experts, they were dealers,” Corey said.

Thanks to the popularity of the show both here and abroad, these experts have also made names for themselves and with shows to boot. The experts/friends include Rick Dale of the cult hit “Kings of Restoration” and Danny Koker of “Counting Cars.”

The show has also attracted big Hollywood names, which made Fernandez quip: “Are they bankrupt already?”

Corey said: “Since the show started, famous people have come in such as Steve Carell and Seinfeld. It’s strange. Fans say they love the show.”

In fact, they have become stars themselves. Musician Brett Michaels also came in once, and next thing they knew, they were already singing onstage with him in front of 25,000 people.

Each one of the cast also has legions of followers, such as Chumlee. Rick noted, “Every little kid seems to love Chumlee.”

Corey said people see him and Chumlee as intelligent people. “It’s absolutely insane.”

So popular that people line up outside the pawn shop not just to have something appraised, but also to take pictures with them.

Even Old Man, whom everyone seems to be afraid of in the show, has a following. Asked where he is, Corey said: “We left him to run the shop, we hope it’s still there when we come back.”

Old Man’s Philippines

Another tidbit from Rick: the Old Man has been to the Philippines in the 1960s. “He had a tattoo of my mother’s name on his back, spelled wrongly,” he said.

While in the Philippines, the father-and-son duo expects to “maybe” get something back for the shop. There will be a meet-and-greet event at the Glorietta Activity Center on Saturday at 12 p.m.

A blogger, Jason Cruz, brought a shirt given to him by boxing icon Manny Pacquiao for appraising. At the shop, Corey said signed stuff usually reach about $150 or more.

For Rick, however, he said: “In the Philippines, that’s priceless.”

All new episodes of "Pawn Stars: can be seen on History Channel every Mondays at 10 p.m.