(This is part 3 of a series that started with Confronting Agoraphobia, Part I: Carefully Taught and Confronting our Agoraphobia Part II: The Bad Guys are Winning.)
Where We've Been
Over the past two entries in this series we've reviewed how bargaining has gone from common to rare, and how shopping in America has become a passive experience. We've discussed how the evolution of marketing and discounting have consolidated the power of pricing entirely in the hands of the manufacturers. We've discussed the potential gain from choosing to haggle - a peak negotiator saved $2500 in a year. That means an average negotiator could save about $1500. What we haven't discussed is how to work our way back to an even distribution of power.
Let me expand on that number a bit. $1500 saved per person, per year. 206 million adults in the United States, give or take a hundred thousand or so.Wolfram alpha: What is the adult population of North America, July 2012. Roughly 10% of them are incarcerated.NY Times: Adam Liptak, "1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars, New Study Says," Feb 2008. If the rest of them saved $1500 per year, that would total $278.2 Billion saved. Annually. (That's about 2x the annual revenue of Wal-Mart as reported to the NYSE,Ycharts: Wal-Mart Stores Revenue (WMT) as of July, 2012 or, sadly, just 1.7% of the national debt at this moment.US National Debt Clock, July 2012)
Let's have one more quote to get things moving forward:
"A recent Consumer Reports survey showed only 28 percent of Americans haggle over prices. A separate report from market research firm BIGresearch found 45.1 percent of adults haggle for things other than cars and homes.
However, the Consumer Reports survey found that consumers who haggle succeed as often as 83 percent of the time in landing a better bargain."
-- Yuki Noguchi, "Haggling picks up steam during recession," NPR.org, August 2009.