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Haggling - actively negotiating a price for a product or service directly between the buyer and the provider - is as old as commerce itself. Prior to the Great Depression, Americans negotiated the prices on just about everything they bought. The Industrial Revolution and the evolution of giant regional or national retailers introduced the concept of fixed price tags, a notion that consumers have, until recently, been hesitant to challenge. But, recent economic news, coupled with technological advances, such as online auction sites and bargain finders, and increased competition from online merchants, have made haggling popular again.
According to a recent Consumer Reports study, two out of three Americans had negotiated a price at least once in the previous six months. But, negotiation isn't always easy, and many people avoid it either because they fear they won't be very good at it, or they don't want to be seen as "cheap." Thus, bargaining traditionally is reserved for high-priced purchases, such as property, automobiles and furniture.
Today, however, more people are pushing other retailers, mom and pop shops, restaurants, utility companies and even doctor's offices for bargains, and they are meeting with surprising success. Bargain-hunting experts say it is always appropriate to negotiate and it never hurts to ask. It helps if you are a regular customer and are able to build a rapport with the seller. You need to stay polite and calm, and treat the other party as you would want to be treated. Here are some more bargaining hints:
Our Facebook friend, Kathy said, "(I) love bargains and it is my nature to haggle; it makes me feel better about the purchase when I get a lower price. (Negotiation) maybe even justifies buying the item." Become a fan of our page on Facebook and share your haggling stories.