Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, April 16, 2021

American retail isn’t accustomed to having most in-store customers dicker over the number on an item’s pricetag. But now that both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times have reported on Web-researching consumers attempting (and succeeding) in talking down the price on in-store items ranging from HDTVs to jeans, I’m sure the trend will only accelerate.

A big part of it is stigma: The past couple of generations equated the art of haggling with the art of being cheap. Generally, it’s been the marked price, take it or leave it. The leveling power of ecommerce (notably eBay’s auction system, although I think it’s more the overall volume discounting that Amazon and others have perfected) have gone a long way toward erasing the negative association. A softening economy is the other ingredient.

I’m not sure I’ve got the gumption or the patience to partake. Part of the convenience of going to a brick-and-mortar outlet is the ability to purchase the item and walk out with it — no delays due to shipping or bidding action. Standing around trying to talk down some semi-interested salesperson only prolongs the process. If it’s a big-ticket item (let’s say nearly a grand and up), then maybe. Otherwise, I don’t see doing it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/16/2008 03:03:15 PM
Category: Business, Society
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