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How to Haggle – And When You Should

Jasmine Birtles 7th Sep 2020 No Comments

I’m supposed to be good at haggling.

If you put my name and ‘haggling’ into Google you will find me quoted all over national media about how to make retailers’ lives a misery and get money off in any store you like.

I have a list of points (see below) for the novice haggler which, I like to think, are well-researched and, at least partially, tried out by me. I’ll trot them out with confidence any time you like.

I have a secret to confess

Haggling can nab you a bargain... if you can do it.

But…and come closer because I’m going to have to whisper this softly…I’m not really a natural haggler myself.

I know…shock, horror! But look, it’s not that I lack the bottle. I’m an inveterate blagger and expect freebies and favours as a matter of course.

It’s just that, well, I feel a bit sorry for the retailers. Especially now, when we’re headed for a pandemic-induced recession.

Unlike my friend Cliff. He’s such an enthusiastic haggler his wife has to walk away from him when at the cash till. Usually mild-mannered, at the till Cliff transforms into ‘Supershopper’. He’s a man of steel, leaping over objections with a single bound. By the time he’s got his deal the assistant is a shadow of his former self, limping back to the staff room for a lie-down.

Money guru Alvin Hall, from Your Money or your Life is similarly tenacious, although I suspect he gets his discounts with a little more charm than Cliff. But I do know that he won’t leave a shop until he’s had at least a freebie thrown in with a purchase, if not a major discount. Some people see it as a matter of principle.

Like another friend of mine, Hamish, a former racing driver, to whom it is a point of honour that no purchase should be at the given price. With a posh voice and a sense of entitlement he simply expects a discount. “I’d like to buy both of these,” he orders, “but it’s a lot of cash for the two. What sort of deal can you do me if I buy both?” He once got a packet of crisps half-price because he said it was squashed and had crushed the contents. Impressive.

Does gender matter when it comes to haggling?

You will have noticed that all the above are men. Of course it doesn’t just take a man to drive a hard bargain. Women have regularly fought for a good deal too! But, more of my female friends than male feel like me. We reckon high street stores are struggling as it is and, at least with the small ones, we would rather support them than fleece them!

However, that’s not to say that I won’t get a bargain if I think I can nab one fair and square. For now, I’ll stick to discount codes, cashback sites, and making the most of schemes like Eat Out to Help Out!

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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