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First price isn’t always last.
In Paris, it’s called “marchandage.” It’s called “regatear” in Mexico’s weekend marketplaces. Americans call it “haggling.” Most American prices on most products are non-negotiable, unlike when buying a car or a home.

Reconsider. In this terrible economy, retail haggling has never been better.

Allan Stark, owner of Negotiate4U, a Web-based company that negotiates discounts on vehicles and cellphones, says, “You can negotiate anything, anyplace.” From flea markets to Bergdorf Goodman, you may haggle.

Here are seven ways to negotiate well.

Like something, not love it
Like (not love) something
Herb Cohen, author of “You Can Negotiate Anything,” recommends to restrain your enthusiasm.

He explains, “Negotiating is a game where you care, but not too much.” “Fall in love with people, not things.”

He proposes “that’s intriguing” to show attention and detachment. “If you say ‘I need this,’ it’s finished. No bargaining.”

“Loving” something makes you more willing to walk away if the seller won’t meet your price. Walking away may also make the vendor more flexible.

Prepare beforehand
Prepare beforehand
Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor at, believes knowing pricing beforehand prevents haggling.

Check Consumer Reports, Google Shopping,, newspaper advertisements, and retailers for comparable costs.

Reed advises bringing evidence. If you show an electronics business a printout of an online ad for a digital camera with no tax or shipping, they may be willing to negotiate. If a salesman can only decrease an item to a set price, they may offer free or discounted accessories for a lower total price.

Reed suggests using the “shop local” aspect. “Say you locate a product’s lowest pricing at a mall across town. Tell a store, “I saw something cheaper elsewhere but I don’t want to spend all day in traffic.” I like your neighborhood shop. Can you discount?'”

When to bargain
When to bargain
Salespeople have more time in the morning and evening. Stark suggests month- and quarter-ends as well. Some salesmen have monthly or quarterly quotas.

Keep an eye out for significant annual sales, such winter clothes in January, swimsuits in August, and autos in the fall. Retailers are more likely to negotiate when selling last season’s goods. Reed says you can ask about an upcoming sale’s price in advance. Make the contract reliant on collecting the sales price if the sale just finished.

During the holidays, don’t haggle. “Negotiate a hot toy after Thanksgiving,” adds Reed. After Christmas, when they have unsold stuff, they’ll listen.

Ask the salesperson then the manager
Ask the salesperson then the manager
Cohen advises starting with salesmen. “They’re often allowed to lower prices”

Ask for the management if you encounter resistance. Find the individual with permission to bend the rules in department stores and electronics shops. “Can you tell me the item’s sale price?” Cohen believes the manager will likely notify you if there’s a lesser pricing.

Managers are more likely to know how much inventory they have and what sales margins they require, so they can tell you how low they can go.


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