Haggle Hunters: Everything is Negotiable

Never pay full price again

Final price? There's a new breed of shopper who says there is no such thing.

"Do not pay full price. There are just too many ways to get the item," advised Linda Jordan, co-owner of Personal Vogue, a custom wardrobe consulting company.

Over half of adults surveyed in April by BIGresearch admit to haggling to get a better price. 

"The key is to know the merchandise and to know what the price point is. So, you can use the newspaper, the radio, go online, but you need to have a price in your head of what you are willing to pay and use that in your negotiation," said Kathy Brosmith, also of Personal Vogue.

As professional wardrobe managers, Brosmith and Jordan have plenty of haggling experience.  They suggest asking a salesperson questions like, "How much can you let this go for?" or "When is the next sale?" or "Can you presale the item?" 

Smart shopping is also recognizing an opportunity, Brosmith said.  She tried on a coat at a high-end store and another shopper saw the coat on her and ended up buying it.  

"So Linda and I said, 'We helped sell this coat!'  We talked with the salesperson and said "Can you give us a discount? We just helped you sell two coats.'  And she did!" Brosmith said. 

With the economy faltering, hagglers are on the rise.  An April survey by BIGresearch found that 37 percent of adults surveyed haggle on electronics, 38 percent haggle on auto repair and 28 percent haggle on apparel.

"It's like we are in the eBay era. They are finding that more and more prices can be moved. More and more people are just asking," said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Challenger recommends checking prices on the Internet and using those prices in your negotiations.

Store-owners say your success rate will likely depend on your relationship with the salesperson and your technique. Patsy Mullins owns the store Accessorize at 5 E. Superior.

"To come in to a store that you have never been in before and say, 'Will you give me all of these bags for the price of one?' That's not the way to do it," Mullins said.  She suggests trying a store where you are already an existing customer, and asking if the item will go on-sale soon. 

Bottom line:  All you have to do is ask.

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