If you've been resistant to adopting the habit of haggling on prices, there has never been a better time than now to start practising. The economic slow down and the desire of retailers to keep moving products makes for fertile practice.
Photo by GianCayetano.
For the last few decades with consumerism in full-tilt overdrive and showing little signs of slowing down, battering and haggling fell out of the national vocabulary of Americans — and many citizens in prosperous Western nations. The recent economic downturn however has unleashed the inner haggler in many people and made it a great time for you to start if you'd been resistant to becoming a haggler or thought it awkward or socially unacceptable. Over at the Washington Post they highlight the shift in American spending:
A recent Consumer Reports study found that 66 percent of American consumers had haggled at least once in the preceding six months, with an 88 percent ka-ching rate on gadgets, clothes, furniture and steak. "People like this," Koehn said. "They are not going to go back to giving their money away. Why would they?"
The recession merely popped the lid off a retailing shift that has been brewing for a decade. EBay gave millions of consumers dealmaking training wheels (top bid for a "Goonies" DVD: $US3.50). The Internet offers instant pricing data (do a Google search on "Lucky jeans and deal and DC"). And don't forget Priceline, which lets consumers name their price for flights, hotels and rental cars (thank you, William Shatner).
Not only do they delve into the history and psychology of the shift in American spending and haggling patterns they also send one of their reporters out in the world to haggle and see how he fares. Their reporter used a variety of techniques ranging from simply asking for a discount, noting that a product was not as fresh as it was and should have a discount, using his phone to show the price offered by a competitor to get a discount, and other methods. The techniques that he used aren't as important as the fact that he shifted his mindset from never asking for a discount to always asking for a discount. The end result of his week-long experiment in haggling was that he saved a total of $US730 on goods and services just by asking.
Have your own stories of negotiation and haggling? Tips and tricks you want to share? Let's hear about it in the comments.