How precarious has the U.S. economy become? Some retailers are so desperate to make a sale, they are willing to haggle over the price.

Usually, this is something you only see at car dealerships, but retailers such as Best Buy, Circuit City, Home Depot and high-end stores are now willing to lop a few bucks off the sticker price...if you are willing to ask.

I suppose the most the store could do is say "no", but I happen to know from first-hand experience that this does work. About a year ago, I worked part-time at a Home Depot store for the insurance benefits. Every once in a while, a customer would notice a scratch or a dent on a piece of merchandise and asked if the manager on duty would be willing to discount the item. Most of the time, it worked. Customers routinely saved about $50 off appliances this way.

But with talk of looming recession and stagnating sales, retailers are willing to haggle over perfectly good merchandise, too. This will likely come to an end when the economy and sales pick back up, but while times look bad for the economy, apparently bargains can be had.

This is nothing new in many European or Latin American countries, by the way. I spent a lot of time in Italy when I was in the military, and shopkeepers there were almost offended if you weren't willing to haggle over the price. To them, it's a way of life, and they expect customers to seek good prices. Of course, even they have a "lowest price" and get equally offended if you try to talk them down too low.

If you are in need of a big-ticket item, and you know how to negotiate, you may be able to haggle yourself a bargain!

1 comments

  1. Matt // March 25, 2008 at 9:59 AM  

    We've been conditioned not to ask or question the price. I've found that it works quite often and that really haggling over price is more of an art form than anything else.

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