Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The Haggle Shop

Bringing back the good old days.
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In these modern times of ours, the days of haggling over the price of a product are long gone, at least in the Urban England I inhabit. Try walking into Woolworths and haggling with the bored teen moronically passing your purchases over the scanner.

"That'll be seven-fifty", he drones.

"Tell'ya what", you smile, "how about seven twenty-five?"

"No" he replies.

"Oh ok", you sigh, "seven-forty."

"No."

"Well then, I might just have to take my business elsewhere."

[silence from the teen]

After stalking angrily out of the store, dismayed at the complete lack of personality inherent in today's youth, you wonder what happened to the days when hours could be spent haggling ferociously with the shopkeeper, trying - often succesfully - to get that few extra pence off. Admittedly there are internet sites where haggling is alive and well, but this lacks the personal touch, and is completely devoid of human interaction. In short, shopping is no longer fun.

I propose a high-street chain store, selling normal everyday items at prices around 10% higher than elsewhere. While paying for your purchases, feel free to haggle with the assistant, and if you argue persuasively enough, gain a reduction, taking the price below what you'd pay elsewhere. The well-trained staff are taught only to give discounts to people who haggle properly, and thus the shop makes its money from those who are unaware of the custom, or simply can't be bothered to haggle.

Mr Phase, Jun 25 2006

[link]






       Offer me 12   

       OK, how about 12   

       12 for this goud your robbing me blind!   

       But you just told me to...   

       [/Inevitable Monty Python Quote]
Germanicus, Jun 25 2006
  

       We've had "bring back bartering" ideas before, but it never really went away. Not just in third world countries that have so far escaped malling, but even in "civilized" places like Britain and America, it's very widespread.   

       Go to any street or antiques fair, any art gallery, in fact, most any place. Even department stores will allow you to haggle in NYC, if you're persistent.   

       And if you're just a few cents short, I don't think there's a store in the States that will turn you away.   

       Just because some poorly trained and badly motivated drone in Woolies can't cope with it, doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
DrCurry, Jun 25 2006
  

       //and thus the shop makes its money from those who are unaware of the custom, or simply can't be bothered to haggle// Shops already make huge profits, I would expect the small amount haggled from the price wouldn't make the merest hint of a dent in their profit margin.
fridge duck, Jun 25 2006
  

       I've shopped in places where haggling was the custom, and found it a pain in the arse. Just give me the goods and let me out of the store, already. I got good at it because I had to, or maybe I wasn't good, really.   

       Opportunities for bargaining abound in the U.S. Garage sales, flea markets, car purchases, bulk discounts, money off for paying cash, any large purchase or custom-made item.   

       I think there is a general rule of thumb, though. People aren't going to spend time haggling if the money to be saved is less than they could earn elsewhere in that same amount of time. Which may be why haggling isn't popular in the U.S. Goods are cheap, work pays well, generally speaking.
baconbrain, Jun 25 2006
  

       I know many people who enjoy haggling at any oppurtunity - perhaps because it is the novelty, as haggling chances in a typical UK highstreet are depressingly few. Plus haggling is generally preferable to actually earning the money you'd save, at least for your average lazy Brit.
Mr Phase, Jun 25 2006
  

       somewhat what [baconbrain] said.... In Jamaica it is the custom. If you do not haggle, they don't really want to sell it to you. Some days I couldn't be bothered and just paid the asking price. They are not really happy with the sale. I found that the more I really did not want an item, the lower and lower the price would go. It seems that they must feel that they really SOLD it to you, not that you went and BOUGHT it yourself. (I hope that makes some sense, and of course, it's only my interpretation.)
xandram, Jun 25 2006
  

       i agree with [baconbrain]. i've been to countries where everybody is expected to haggle, so the first price is outrageaously high in order to allow space for haggling.   

       the thing is, the countries that have haggling, the national currency is so low in value that it doesn't seem to be worth it to haggle even with the higher prices than if i just pay the vendor. i don't want to have to deal with this in the U.S. as well. i'm just not any good at it.
tcarson, Jun 25 2006
  

       "the national currency is so low in value" - well, we're headed that way...
DrCurry, Jun 25 2006
  

       it depends on which country you're talking about. i agree with you on that for the u.s. [drcurry], but a lot of bakers are from other countries. unless you're talking about a halfbakery currency. i'm pretty sure that this idea came up a while back.
tcarson, Jun 25 2006
  

       <blows on nails>
po, Jun 25 2006
  

       tcarson: ahem, you did mention that you're in the US...
DrCurry, Jun 25 2006
  

       i realize the [drcurry], but i wasn't aware that you were as well. therefore the "we" you mentioned made me unsure of your intentions in grouping.
tcarson, Jun 26 2006
  

       I usually haggle in the big box consumer electronics stores like Best Buy over the open box items. Right after the superbowl is the best time to buy a flat panel TV because everyone will buy one for the game and return it to the store.
Jscotty, Jun 26 2006
  

       I decided to give this a bun, after reading it again. Somehow I thought it funny trying to get the *pence* off the shopkeeper.
xandram, Jun 26 2006
  

       Trouble is with proper haggling is that as a consumer you're almost bound to end up buying a carpet when you only went into to buy a small wooden camel.   

       This is true.
monojohnny, Jun 27 2006
  

       Nerdy people like me tend to be really bad at haggling, so this would cost us extra both in time and in money.   

       Anyway, if I have time to chat to the person in the shop, I'd rather talk about something else.   

       But I can see it would be fun for some people, so I won't bone it.
pertinax, Jun 28 2006
  

       Well [mono] I wandered into the Arab quarter of Jerusalem looking for a cool drink and came out with a meter-wide African drum, after a 30 minute haggling session with a rather desperate salesman who ended up throwing an ice cold bottle of water into the deal after repeated demands.
Mr Phase, Jun 28 2006
  

       \\as haggling chances in a typical UK highstreet are depressingly few.\\ Most big purchases can be haggled over. If you can't convince someone to knock down the price, you can usually get something cheap and useless thrown in for free.   

       I think the idea's rubbish by the way. The time wasted with each individual customer trying to argue their way into a tiny discount could be spent much more profitably by serving more customers at a set price.
hidden truths, Jun 29 2006
  

       <offers video of [phlish] blowing on [po]'s nails for sale>
ConsulFlaminicus, Jun 29 2006
  

       [Mr Phase] ha ha ! That's where I was when I was trying to buy my small wooden camel. :-)
monojohnny, Jun 29 2006
  

       Haggling works at the Farmer's Market, and places like it. [xandram], I know. One reason why they are really cool people over there.
Shadow Phoenix, Oct 21 2007
  

       If the amount of change I have in my wallet is a few pence short of the asking price, I always ask "would you accept...?"   

       They almost always say no and I pay on credit card, but after many such attempts I did get 4p off a sandwich in Sainsbury's. Woo!
teedyay, Oct 22 2007
  
      
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