Like most Britons, I hate haggling.Plus, I’m not very good at it. But as we’re facing a bleak financial winter — with near ten per cent inflation and energy bills and mortgage rates surging — I decide it’s time to learn.
I hit the high street in the Hertfordshire town of Bishop’s Stortford to see how much I can save.
I tried independent shops, high street giants, supermarkets and tackled my broadband provider over the phone.After honing my technique, I surprised myself by managing to save hundreds of pounds. Here is how I did it.
I start at independent grocery store Bishop’s Food Centre, which sells fruit and vegetables alongside cupboard staples.
I spy irresistible juicy mandarin oranges and pick out half a dozen, which come to £2.75 when weighed.Waving a £5 note, I ask manager Beytullah Topal if I can pay £2 instead. He gives me a nod and hands me back £3 in change.
Beytullah explains that haggling is increasingly common as families struggle with the cost of living.’It is all about supporting the community,’ he says. ‘If someone is a bit short of cash then I am happy to help if I can — within reason. As a business it also creates a loyal customer base for me during challenging times.’
Emboldened by my success, I head to Sainsbury’s to try my luck.I ask a shop assistant if there is any flexibility on the cost of my shopping and she looks at me askance.
But she confides there is a way to get lower prices — but only for the eagle-eyed. If I spot damaged packaging, I can take the goods to the customer services counter and they may knock off up to ten per cent.
A ripped £4.80 box of PG Tips teabags, a cracked lid on a £7 jar of Nescafe coffee, a battered £3.50 box of Kellogg’s cornflakes and a dented tin of £1 Heinz baked beans totals £16.30 — and a saving of £1.63.
VERDICT: Big-hearted traders deserve our support.
I start at independent grocery store Bishop’s Food Centre, pictured, which sells fruit and vegetables alongside cupboard staples
In need of a new suit, I head to independent family retailer Aristocrat, which has been dressing the residents of Bishop’s Stortford for three decades.
Owner Lawrence Taylor is not pushy and allows me to browse before offering guidance.
I find a suit that fits me perfectly and ask Lawrence if there is room for haggling.
If I buy a shirt, tie and shoes as well, he is happy to offer me a discount of £144 on items priced at £1,244.As a Welcome Bonus Slot, he also agrees to adjust the trouser length, while the free hour of his sartorial guidance was priceless.
Next I head to Marks & Spencer to see if I could have got myself a bigger discount there.
Assistant Monica stands her ground and will not cut me a deal, even if I agree to buy accessories or a second suit.
However, she suggests I scour M&S’s website for online exclusives instead.Here I find a suit discounted by 35 per cent to £195. Although this is a sale price and not a haggle, I would have missed the deal if I hadn’t tried to get a bargain.
VERDICT: Smart way to look sharp.
In need of a new suit, I head to independent family retailer Aristocrat, pictured, which has been dressing the residents of Bishop’s Stortford for three decades