Bargaining for a Good Bargain?

What: Best-selling author Lee Eisenberg shares the ups and downs of trying to haggle prices on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile; although consumers have new leverage to negotiate their way into a great deal (because of the, you guessed it, economy), they aren’t so great at the “art form” yet and retailers aren’t so comfortable with it, either.

What Lee Says: “Seasoned hagglers know that it it’s a dance, a social ritual best conducted leisurely in a sun-drenched open market or over a glass of sickening sweet tea. There, hagglers on both sides of the encounter parry and thrust, using a full arsenal of shrugs, gibes, expressions of mock outrage, bursts of humor, gentle put-downs. In contrast, we’re overly aggressive and impatient, intent on scoring a quick, one-round knockout. We go at it with red faces, clenched fists and sputtering take-it-or-leave-its.”

What We Say: Ask for a deal and ye shall receive? Such a brilliant, but simple idea. The only part that bums us out is Lee says we’ll have to wait a little while before we can expect department stores and fashion boutiques to drop prices on hand bags, shoes, clothes, and accessories – retailers expect those items to sell at full-price, at least through March. Doesn’t mean that the pushy sales lady at your local Macy’s won’t get desperate eventually, but until then, keep printing coupons and searching for good sales. But hey, if folks can talk their way into a cheaper lap top at Best Buy, why shouldn’t they do the same for a designer purse at the mall?
We’ve talked about haggling at a consignment store before, but have any of you done so at a mainstream retailer? If so, tell us if you failed or succeeded.