So I agreed to it and Gault accompanied me on my maiden haggling voyage. I walked into a jewelry store somewhat in disguise and wearing a hidden camera. I was looking for some earrings for my daughter's 16th birthday and immediately fell hard for a pair of $385 tanzanite earrings.
I asked the saleswoman, "How much of a discount could I get on this? On $385?"
"$350, but I can't go any lower," she responded.
That was about a 9 percent discount. Gault thought I could do better, so we left. And that's Haggling Tip #7: If you're not happy with the offer, be willing to walk away. And sure enough, at the next jewelry store, I found another pair of tanzanite earrings. Yes, they were more expensive, but I got a better deal. Here's a snippet from the conversation I had with the store manager:
Bill: "How much of a discount can I get on that?" Manager: "Are you ready to buy now or are you still comparing?" Bill: "Well, I'm ready to buy in the next 20 minutes." Manager: "I'll give it to you for $500." Bill: "If I paid in cash?" Manager: "I could include the tax and I can do it for $450. That will be your last price."
So, in less than 10 minutes, I saved a bunch of money. I paid $450 for an item that would have been $675 with tax. Instead, the shopkeeper agreed to pick up the tax.
It was easier than I thought. I think I've been converted. Honestly: the FIRST price isn't necessarily the FINAL price.
Ann Varney contributed to this report.