A Week of Haggling Saves $730

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As one writer recently found out firsthand, once you succeed in bargaining and realize how easy it is and how much you can save, it’s hard to go back to paying retail.

A Washington Post writer spent a week haggling for shoes at Macy’s and Nordstrom (got a deal at the former, not the latter), DVDs at Best Buy, and all sorts of other items—even meat at a supermarket’s butcher section. His takeaway from the experience? Haggling is easy and rewarding, even something of a thrill:

For consumers like me who have spent decades shopping at full retail, getting a deal on previously no-deal items is liberating and invigorating, as I found out during a recent week I spent haggling. At first, my wife and friends asked me if I was crazy, but when I reported saving $3 on steak at Giant and $50 a month on our Verizon bill, they asked only one thing: How?

All told, his savings via haggling totaled $730. In one week. After those numbers sink in, you have to think So why the heck should I ever pay retail?

As more and more people see the wisdom of bargaining and start treating the mall as if it were a haggle-friendly Turkish bazaar, the next-next question becomes: How does this play out in the world of retail? After the recession is forgotten and the economy kicks into gear again, will stores like Best Buy and Macy’s revert to no-budge pricing?

That’s going to be difficult—because consumers are now more aware than ever that they have options. Every brick-and-mortar store has to know that it is competing with Internet retailers, along with other physical stores that will happily knock down prices a bit for customers who are smart enough to ask—and who, preferably, are waving the cash in front of salespeople.

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