Headline Jan 09, 2015/


The Baccarat chandeliers and gleaming marble floors of New York's Plaza Hotel would appear to have little in common with the cramped stalls of Yemeni market.

But in both, bargaining can lead to a better deal.

The bad economy has made the Plaza more flexible, and if the price of a room sounds steep,  would-be-guests  can negotiate it down. The hotel may even throw in many freebies to sweeten the deal. 

PAKISTANI STUDENTS  -are just so very poor at haggling! Students Mariam,  Rabo, Haleema and Dee are an unmitigated disaster in paying the piper.

Not once,  did I find these girls get the better off a cab driver for a fair fare. As a matter of observation, come to think of it,  -I never found anyone of them even come up with a pretense of a haggle'

They just payup what is demanded and hum away. Never a  care in the world.

The hotel business is reeling as firms and families cut their travel budgets. But that is not the only industry that has become more willing to grant discounts to confident hagglers.

Clothes and electronics shops have become particularly eager to move their merchandise, and consumers,  aware of their desperation, have grown bolder.

According to America's Research Group, a market research firm, in 2010, 72% of American consumers had haggled (over a period of four months), compared with 56%, for and over the same period,  of a year earlier.

Britt Beemer, the firm's chief executive, estimated that the hagglers  were successful 80% of the time.

Hunting for a bargain may be rooted in the American shopping experience but haggling is not. 

Now that even big department stores such as Nordstrom are open to customers trying to cut a deal, however, haggling is becoming more accepted, at least for as long as the recession grinds on.

Even if they cannot get a discount, shoppers can ask for another item to be thrown in, for the retailers to pay the shipping costs or the sales tax. 

HAGGLING works best when times are hard.

And it works very well against hard-hit-industries: car dealers are more willing than ever to hammer out a bargain when sales have slumped, and property brokers will cut prices and fees when pushed.

But the trend is spreading.

Providers of phone and internet services are willing to cut monthly rates to keep customers from cancelling or switching.

***Richard Zeckhauser of  Harvard Business School expects prospective students negotiate more financial aid from universities. If they have the strength, patients can also haggle over medical bills***.

Credit-card companies are being more flexible with customers who want interest rates reduced or late fees waived.

Curtis Arnold, author of  ''How you can profit from Credit-Cards'', says more companies are creating   ''hardship programmes''   that they can tell consumers about only once they try to haggle.

In the long term, firms may suffer if American consumers get used to the idea of all this  horse-trading.

But in the short term, it could prop up sales.

In New York's deserted shops, a haggler is better than no customer at all.

Even the Pakistani shopkeepers will do well to remember this survival formula. So. let's go make a deal because the world over,  Cash-strapped consumers are haggling their way:

To big savings. This maybe the world's new realistic model.

With respectful dedication to all the consumers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW! the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Digging Deep '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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