While Mary-Kate Olsen is stomping around New York congratulating herself on the latest bargain from 'Recession', we in Britain are apparently learning how to haggle. Indeed, as my friend assured me over dinner last night, the price on the ticket is now simply seen as jumping off point to start negotiations.
It seems that there really is no part of 'no' that British consumers understand - if we can't afford it we demand our right to a price drop. And, with more and more highstreet retailers heading towards administration over the coming months, the customer is king in a way not seen for years.
But in what stores and on what items, my dinner companion wondered aloud, was it okay to go in for the haggle? She tried her luck on an unsuspecting Body Shop employee and had no joy, while I had copped an incredible deal in Gap. We both agreed that haggling should be kept strictly to sale items - non-sale items seen as bad play. Electrical items and associated memory cards and pouches are definitely fair game. While a little competitive blackmail along the line of 'well, they're 50% off online' was certainly felt to be the best approach.
Suddenly those cheap EasyJet flights to Marrakesh begin to come in useful as a short course in the art of bartering!