Would You Haggle For Better Prices at a Department Store?

As I mentioned in my last post I am trying my best to overcome shyness. I’ve recently stepped out of my comfort zone by asking for better deals from various service providers. So far, I’ve been extremely successful. In fact, I’ve secured discounts, cash back, or some other benefit eight out of the nine times I’ve asked.

After telling my in-laws about my recent haggling success, my mother-in-law directed me to a segment called Haggling, Not Just for Flea Markets that ran Thursday morning on Good Morning America. In the segment an undercover reporter attempts to haggle for reduced prices on full priced retail items at Macy’s, JCPenney’s and Home Depot. With a good deal of persistence and very little fear the reporter ultimately received discounted prices at all three stores.

After watching the segment I read through the 70+ comments posted on the article. Apparently quite a few viewers were disturbed by the reporters tactics and many thought her actions constituted begging.

Personally, the sales large department stores like Macy’s and JCPenney’s run drive me batty. One day an item is 40% off. The next day the item is back up to full price. If I go to the store on a specific day and use my Macy’s card I can save 20% off. The very next day the item is full price again. I’ve had this happen on so many occasions that for a time I swore off large department stores.

Although I would certainly not speak with three or four employees and managers to get a better deal, I see nothing wrong with asking the clerk if he/she might have additional coupons behind the counter. Every once in awhile I leave my coupons on the kitchen counter when I head out to the store. On those occasions, when I get to the front of the line and realize my error I’ll ask the clerk where I might be able to find a coupon. Now, I am a rather organized person, so those times are few and far between, but I certainly don’t see the harm in asking.

What do you think? Could you haggle for better prices at department stores? Do you think the actions of the Good Morning America reporter constitute indecency and begging?

3 thoughts on “Would You Haggle For Better Prices at a Department Store?”

  1. After having worked dept store retail for years, I’ll ask about discounts in certain places or from certain people. A manager is more likely to be able to give a discount at a smaller store than a part-timer, for instance. Even associates that can’t override prices can let you know when the next sale is coming up (provided they know). There are also some stores where you should never pay full price, such as larger jewelry chains. I know at least two of them are always allowed to give up to 30% off a sticker price for no reason whatsoever. However, that cuts down on their commission, so it’s not always done.

  2. I generally don’t try to haggle at department stores and such, especially because I know that the people you deal with at those places don’t have the authority to do that. It never hurts to ask at specialty type stores though…sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I never really push the issue but more just mention it.

  3. I think that people have every right to ask, but I also think that some people get REALLY annoying about it. They must not have hobbies, or something? Also, wheedling and being a general pain in the rear leads to the annoyance of other customers and is out of line. If you are trying to get a coupon honored, or something, then have at it, companies need to be held to their word, and consumers need some insurance that they will not be screwed over. But just begging multiple employees for a deal is gauche.


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