Let's Talk Deal: Big Box Stores Allow Bargaining

Any self-respecting gear-hound has tried his hand at haggling at least once, but, depending on the merchant, the product (sheep, for instance - see photo), the state of the economy or the persistence of the haggler, it may not have worked.

Give it another try, suggests a New York Times article. Big box stores, especially electronics retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City, see the slowing economy as a good reason to entertain all offers for a sale. Smaller stores, too, will now go in for a bit of bartering. Stories of discounted plasmas and speaker systems are not uncommon. 

Economists say the stores feel that by allowing a discounted price during tougher times, they'll likely snag you as a loyal customer for life. But the opposite could be true - once a consumer has tasted discount victory, he'll want it again and again and pursue haggling at all retailers until he finds the lowest price.

Care to regale us with a tale of your skill at the ancient bargaining arts? It is a talent that has fallen by the wayside in recent years, so any electronics shopper probably won't mind a refresher course. But beware, this newfound haggling trend may not last long, especially if the U.S. Economy kicks back into high gear. -Rachel Rosmarin

New York Times