Best Ways to Haggle in the Modern World (Infographic)

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Best Ways to Haggle in the Modern World

When was the last time you tried to get a better deal for yourself? To many, haggling for better prices feels like a relic of the mid-twentieth century, an age when we met traders face-to-face at markets or at small bespoke shops and we knew the business owners by name. In those days, it was common to command a discount for paying cash rather than check, to get mate’s rates from a chum’s market stall or to brazenly ask for a discount on apparently damaged goods.

These days, our sense of propriety and our alienation from the retail theme park from which we buy our goods makes the idea of haggling feel either rude or merely futile. Yet making the effort to rediscover a connection with the tradespeople who make the world go around can add a new value: a human value.

When we get a better price for our goods and services, we take the idea of their inherent worth out of the hands of faceless corporations and back under the control of real live people. And you can offer value in return, through customer loyalty, good word of mouth, and adding meaningful transactions to the humdrum lives of equally alienated retail workers.

Well, that’s the politics of it all. But how about getting that discount, huh? There are a variety of approaches to try in different contexts, and whether you’re shopping for goods online, a better internet deal over the phone, or something nice from a bricks-and-mortar shop, the technique will involve subtle differences.

Let’s begin with the internet, apparently the coldest and least human place to shop. For some of us, this is just the appeal: a clinical shopping experience with no hustle and bustle and no pushy salespeople (nevermind those pushy pop-up ads). Believe it or not, it is possible to get a discount from an algorithm. Different businesses have different systems set up, but some are coded to prevent tentative buyers from getting away.

Nobody has a complete list of where the ‘abandoned shopping cart’ trick works, but try this one if you’re not in a hurry: choose your desired item, add it to you cart, log in to your account for that site (this part is important), and then… do nothing. Some sites will notice that you have an unpaid item, worry that you’re going to abandon it altogether, and begin to send you offers for money off or similar items.

If you’re shopping for cheap flights, do it in reverse: ensure that if you want to book a flight some days after first looking, you do it on a new browser so that the cookies don’t reveal how keen you are. This makes it less likely the ticket company will put those dream prices up.

The internet is not just a robot wasteland, though, and if you can find a little human warmth there then you’re on to a good thing. Many retail sites now include a pop-up chat window option with a real live human at the other end of it. This is a sign the company cares about customer service: and if you can convince that human that a discount will make you more likely to shop, and more likely to return later, there’s every chance you’ll get that reduction. Live Chat Operators are bored. They want to make a connection.

Talking of humans, you’ll find plenty of them on the high street, but locating the one who can give you a discount is half the challenge. You’re more likely to find success in an independent local store where the boss doesn’t have to answer to a regional manager or some bigwig at head office. If they’re a long-running concern, they may even recognize you as a repeat customer, in which case it’s easy to draw them into a conversation… and convince them either for money off, or for some extras thrown in.

If you must shop in a chain store, look for flawed goods – a mark on a top, a scratch on a TV screen, a piece of fruit that is about to turn – and you’re likely to find an sympathetic ear. Big corporations don’t like giving things away, but neither do they like being lumbered with unsellable damaged goods. They work in such high quantities that sometimes it is easier to write off an item face-to-face than to process it and send it back to the depot.

Does haggling feel a little more purposeful now? Remarkably, 66% of us rarely or never haggle for deals, because it just doesn’t seem very modern. But trade is an ancient and timeless aspect of human culture, and the changes we’ve seen are mostly cosmetic. Deep down, there are still bargains to be found if you know how to dig. Check out this new infographic guide to haggling in the modern age for a few more techniques to get you started.

Infographic Source: OnStride
Editorial Team
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