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  • Writer's pictureAdam Chan


Updated: Feb 3, 2022

Have you buy/sell pre-owned items on internet platforms? Chances are you have been "lowballed" or you were the one lowballing others. You may or may not know it.

What is Lowballing?

In the context of baseball; a ball pitched so as to pass over the plate below the level of the batter's knees.

In the context of deal transactions; the informal meaning in North America, offer a deceptively or unrealistically low bid or estimate to. (Source: Google search)

In this blog post, I shall discuss the latter in details.

Lowballing behaviours are commonly seen in deal transactions. Buyers offering bids that are ridiculously low to gain advantages are known as lowballers.

Lowballing usually gets narrowly tunnelled within a buy/sell items or services situation. After some internet searches, I realised that lowballing situations can go beyond it. I have listed 2 contexts which I would illustrate how lowballing behaviours affect each one.

1) Jobs seeking and hiring - Lowballing someone's salary can insult or cast doubts in job seeker's job abilities, both which may have lasting effects on the job seeker's personal confidence in relation to his professional competence.

2) Buy/sell transactions - Lowball prices are often impossible for the sellers to swallow. Perceptively the sellers would distrust the buyers' sincerity in making the transactions.

To avoid taking a binary stance, let's see what good may come out of lowballing someone. It could be a protection mechanism for buyers when they are dealing with rogue sellers.

While lowballing isn't usually constructive, being gullible and accept whatever unreasonable terms requested by the other parties aren't right too.

Lowballers usually have certain patterns of assumptions that serve to advantage themselves at the expenses of the other parties.

A classic textbook lowballing behaviour has it roots stemmed from his or her personal sense of self-entitlement. Lowballers perceived that only they should be gaining out from whatever deals they would be entering into.

In the eyes of a lowballer, the other parties' items or work are often deemed unworthy of their published value or prices by no real merits rather by the lowballer's desires obtain a one-sided gain from the deals.

Some lowballers can be downright disrespectful and condescending. Their lowballing attitude often leave a bad taste in every deal.

To craftsmen, how does it affect the trade?

Unliked white collar professionals, work produced by a craftsman is directly observable, thus appraising the work qualities are not ambiguous.

This being said, lowballing behaviours can easily distort facts. A typical outcome is refusal to compensate the craftsmen appropriately according to their work qualities.

Instead lowballers often imposed judgements that are vague, bias, unjust, unreasonable or insulting upon the work done by craftsmen. They will totally steer clear of logical reasons and much less giving any respect to the craftsman.

Tolerating or allowing such lowballing behaviours can drastically undermine any craftsmen's standing in relation to their qualities of work.

If the community wants high quality work from its craftsmen, it is only fair to remunerate according to their work qualities. It is unavoidable if one pays peanuts, you get monkeys.

If the work done is truly subpar, then pay at subpar rates. However, don't let lowballing behaviours diminish our craftsmen's worth and work.

Recognise when it is due, respect when it is deserving.

How to handle a lowballer? Perhaps by not dealing with a lowballer is the simplest way to handle one.

The next time when you are about lowball someone, think if you would consent to a discount on your monthly salary. The professional fees charged by craftsmen are their salaries.

I shall leave you with a few examples,

Client: What is your charge for a house call?

Craftsman: Per visit $35, repair fees to be determined after on-site inspection.

Client: Isn't $35 included in the repair charge?

Craftsman: No, that compensates my time of traveling to your location.

Client: Can you absorb that?

Craftsman: ????

Buyer: How much?

Seller: $180

Buyer: How about $90? In cash.

Seller: Ha ha...

Client: How much to re-glue the crack?

Repair tech: Complex cracks $300 and more. Clean ones would be lower. Let me see some pictures please.

Client: (Pictures sent) How?

Repair tech: Fortunately the crack isn't a complex one, pretty clean. Re-glue fee is $200

Client: $ 200 even it is not complex?

Repair tech: There are plenty of considerations for the re-gluing processes that are not obvious to untrained eyes. A clean crack is easier to fix than a complex one. But both are by no means a walk in the park as you may have assumed. From the your pictures, the crack can be fixed, but at the quoted price, no lower. Your call.


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