Why Aren't You Haggling Yet?

Michael S. Rosenwald saved $15 on a pair of shoes at Macy’s, $3 on a steak at Giant, $6 on a DVD set at Best Buy, and $100 off his next Verizon bill (plus a 10% discount on future bills) during one week spent haggling. In this Washington Post article, he describes how it felt to switch from the habit of paying full retail to looking at a price tag as a “suggestion,” in the words of one expert he met with. The executives Rosenwald spoke with repeatedly said that bargaining is not standard practice, but that didn’t stop employees and managers from making deals in order to close the sale.

Maybe you don’t feel comfortable with haggling, though. Rosenwald has that covered–he negotiated his Verizon bill down by using the services of a “professional haggler” who keeps half of whatever he saves a person on a transaction.

I decided to try him out. If I left Verizon Wireless, I’d owe it about $600 in early-termination fees, so the odds were against me. I had no edge. But then Stark went to work on the customer service reps with me on the phone.

Some of the things he said: “I’ve got my friend Mike on the phone, and he’s inundated with competition — they are all over him, and we don’t want to leave because you guys are the best.” . . . “Where are you right now? Where are you from? I like to know who I’m talking to, you know?” . . . “You’re doing great. I’m gonna tell your supervisor.” . . . “What can we do without him losing any features? Will you give us a deal because I’m overweight?”

“In tough economic times, shoppers take haggling to new heights” [Washington Post]