The Investigators: Undercover Savings - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The Investigators: Undercover Savings

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By Andy Wise - bio | email

MEMPHIS (WMC-TV) - What Teri Gault wants, Teri Gault gets.

When she gets 10, 20, 30 percent off stuff just by asking, it'll get you thinking:  what's her trick?

"It's called 'Ask!'" said the professional shopper and CEO of The Grocery Game (www.thegrocerygame.com).

Gault's being modest.

Trust me, haggling at the stores is more than just asking, especially when you're dealing with high-end jewelry or big-box retailers.

Gault does her homework before she haggles. Here are her main haggling strategies:

* SHOW THE COMPS.  She's always armed with comparison prices for the products she's shopping. She pulls them either from competitors' websites/circulars or from third-party e-tailers like amazon.com or buydig.com (for the record, I also recommend price comparison sites like www.mysimon.com and http://dealpilot.com/).

She'll use those comps as bargaining chips to convince store employees she can find a better deal elsewhere. If they don't work, she will...

* CLIMB THE FOOD CHAIN. "I'll ask to talk to a manager," Gault said. Always respectful and complimentary, she'll try to schmooze the person in charge to a lower price.

* SECONDARY PURCHASE. Sometimes, she'll combine two purchases, then "climb the food chain" to score discounts on BOTH.

"You establish a discount on one, then you work for a discount on the other," she said. "Because you are buying both of them."

* FLAWED MERCHANDISE. If there's the slightest defect, Gault requests a discount.

* OUT OF SEASON MERCHANDISE. Gault said store managers are more likely to discount barbecue grills or patio furniture when they're out of season. They want to move them out of inventory.

TERI GAULT'S HAGGLING TACTICS AT SPECIFIC PLACES:

* SALON/SPA. Gault said go or reserve time when they are least busy, which means you'll have to do a little research on your local salon's dead periods. They still have to pay the rent when business is slow, so consider asking for a discount on your service or offer to do more than one service to get a price break.

* FURNITURE. Gault said furniture items sport huge mark-up's, which make them more susceptible to haggling. She said you should not only haggle for a lower price, but also request free delivery and no tax. Try lowering the price by paying in cash, too. Gault said furniture stores lose 2-3 percent of their profit on credit card transactions.

* ELECTRONICS/APPLIANCES. Good items for Gault's "flawed merchandise" strategy. Floor models, blemishes, scratches -- ask for discounts. Also, buy items out of season (air conditioning units, for example).  

* LUGGAGE. If the store is located in a heavy tourism area, Gault said store managers almost expect to haggle. Give it a shot!

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