How to haggle. . .
1 LOSE THE FEAR Just as 'faint heart never won fair lady', embarrassment or shyness are inner obstacles you'll have to discard to play this game.
Haggling is a performance. Get into it and enjoy the game with a sense of humour.
2 LEARN THE LINGO A good opening is half the battle. "What's the best you can do on this?" is an easy one, or perhaps the carrot-and-stick approach, "I'm interested but definitely not at this price." Keep it succinct and to the point.
3 INFORMATION IS POWER Do your research -- know what the competition are charging. Consumer sites like Bonkers.ie, Compare.ie, Toprice.ie and Economiser.ie are full of info.
Haggling on services often offers the best possibilities -- garage repairs, dentistry, hotels, gym membership or holiday breaks. Big-ticket items like cars, furniture and building work are other obvious opportunities.
4 PICK YOUR MOMENT Haggling is not a good idea during the height of the sales or the madness of Christmas Eve in Clery's.
Pick a quiet time when salespeople are free -- early morning on a Monday or Tuesday is best. Like most foreplay, haggling works best in one-on-one situations.
5 AIM HIGH, BUT NOT TOO HIGH While the boss is usually easily accessible behind the counter in markets and small shops, you'll need to look a little harder in larger stores. Find someone who's older and more experienced -- assistant managers are often the best deal makers.
6 HAVE FUN Can't stress this enough -- enjoy yourself. Flirt with the shopkeeper as you dance this commercial tango. You have nothing to lose but your uptightness -- and everything to gain for the cost of a smile and some easy banter.