Haggling over prices at Best Buy? Big-box retailers warm up to negotiating

One of my regrets about our culture is that haggling is generally frowned upon in all but a few shopping situations: cars, homes, and yard sales.

I was excited to read this piece in the New York Times, which discusses the rise of haggling at big box retailers including Circuit City, Best Buy, and Home Depot. The piece looks at smart-shopper Michael Roskell who convinced an electronics store to reduce the price on 2 big screen TVs by $1 thousand.

According to the Times, "most store policies on bargaining are informal. Some major retailers, however, are quietly telling their salespeople that negotiating is acceptable."

Haggling makes perfect sense for retailers. by offering lower sticker prices, stores like Best Buy are offering discount pricing to everyone, even consumers who would be willing to pay more. By subtly dropping the hint that negotiation is acceptable, stores can charge higher prices to the customers who don't have time to negotiate and/or feel awkward about it. One of the biggest challenges that retailers face is securing strong volume by appealing to bargain shoppers while not offering unnecessary discounts to customers who would have been happy to pay full price.

If you want to give haggling a shot but aren't sure how to begin, check out Howtohaggle.com.

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