This process tactic is used when prices are free-flowing without benchmarks or validation. This uses a psychological tactic that is a corollary to the law of contrast, a well-researched phenomenon[ii]. This tactic begins when an excessive demand is made. Next, one of two things may happen depending on the offeror’s intent: the offeror may gauge the reaction to see whether the demand is viable, or the offeror may drop the demand to seem like a nice person or to illustrate contrast between the current terms and their expectations.
For example, “That lamp is an antique and can go for $5,000.” [Gauges reaction] “I’ll let it go for $3000.” $3,000 may still be overpriced, but we perceive it as a deal compared to $5,000.
In dealing with this, ask for the actual cost. Is there a wholesale invoice, comparable appraisal, or can you speak to the artist (if available)?