Haggling is truly an art form that can be perfected over time and diligent practice. Knocking off some dollars here and there is great for budgeting, and haggling is a skill that is transcendent. You can use it when you're negotiating for better prices on a car, a higher salary, getting more hotel freebies, and more. I'm going to share these secret tips that I've learned over time so you can save and have more change in your pocket, too!
Many of us are still feeling the effects of the down economy, even though it was recently announced the recession officially ended in June 2009. Unemployment, bankruptcies, and foreclosures are some expected results of the economic downturn, but some other rather unusual ones turned up as well.
- Hot waitresses: Apparently the hotter your waitresses are, the more likely it is there's a recession going on. I'm not quite sure what the reason is, but I'm sure you'll have fun speculating.
- Decline in marriage: The rate of marriage hit its lowest point in over 100 years last year. Maybe people are getting cold feet because of marriage-associated costs. On the other hand, more and more couples are moving in together, perhaps to save costs on living expenses.
- Recession-themed Apprentice: Most of the contestants are products of the recession — down-on-their-luck contenders who are without jobs. Seems like the new theme didn't really resonate with viewers: this season's premiere had the lowest ratings.
For more odd effects of the recession, read on.
I shared some tips yesterday on how I bought a $1099 couch for $250, and reader GirlOverboard left an extremely helpful comment on haggling etiquette. She's speaking from experience, having been on the sales end. Read what she had to say:
Haggling can be great, but trying to haggle with a cashier at your local department store or being rude about it will just make things frustrating. The last thing you want to do is come off rude or make the associates not look forward to having you in their store again. Ask what the associate can do for you and if it's not what you want, ASK politely (don't demand) if you can see their manager and thank the associate for their time. Having been the associate, I can say that nothing will burn somebody out faster than being made to feel like they're the bad guy because large price deductions are out of their control.
A friend of mine once shared the details of an amazing phone plan he had steadily cultivated over the years and made my jaw drop. He'd racked up unlimited incoming text messaging and calls, a huge number of minutes, free nights and weekends, and more. He paid for all of it with the same low-priced basic package he started out with. When I asked my friend how that happened, he told me that he stuck with the same cell provider for over 10 years and every time his contract came up, he would call the company and ask if they can offer him any incentives to renew his contract. The customer service rep always took the bait.
The secret to this is something called customer retentions, a department that offers you discounts and bonus features in order to get you to remain a loyal customer.
For tips on dealing with cell provider reps, read more.
I recently decided to take a quick look at a nearby farmers market without the intention of buying anything. It's been a while since I've checked it out, and I'm the type of person that loves browsing the supermarket and flipping through recipe books to look at food. I like to call it food window shopping.
While browsing, I chanced upon a German bakery stall and started drooling over this goat cheese and chorizo quiche. It was $4.25 and I didn't bring enough cash because I didn't think I was going to buy anything. I was honest with the seller and told him all I had in my wallet was $3 and we struck a deal.
Prices are set in supermarkets and you can't exactly start haggling with the Whole Foods salesperson, but it's definitely done in farmers markets. Would you bargain at a farmers market?
From serving spiced-up burgers to offering cheaper premium steaks, restaurants are trying every trick in the book to bolster sluggish sales. Some, seeing little improvement, have turned to a strategy that was perhaps once unimaginable: haggling.
A reporter from the New York Post, who felt there was nothing to lose and only some to gain through negotiating, decided to put her theory to the test by bargaining at various Manhattan stores. The result of her experiment? She saved nearly $35 in one day by bartering at stores, including coffee shops, neighborhood restaurants, wine merchants, and even casual lunch chains. At Starbucks, a barista slashed 25 percent off the cost of a caramel macchiato "without batting an eye." When the reporter told a manager at sandwich and salad chain Cosí that she was trying to save money, she got a 10 percent discount. A local café was willing to give her a 20 percent "starving artists discount" off of a $50 table.
I'm a little dumbstruck, as America really doesn't embrace haggling. I haven't bargained for anything — let alone food — since my last trip to a foreign country. But, for the food service industry, could the best way to see change at the register be with flexibility in price? What do you think? Is bargaining something you've ever tried at a restaurant? If not, then given the current economic climate, would it be something you'd be willing to consider?