How I learned to haggle

As the recession bites, consumers are rediscovering the lost art of haggling. But for some shoppers, asking for a discount isn't as easy as it sounds.

The other night, despite recent household budget cutbacks, my husband, kids and I threw a spontaneous (modest) dinner party, inviting two families we've recently become friendly with. Upon arrival, one of the men, who'd come straight from his Wall Street office, presented the five assembled children with small gifts: Sour Flush candies, packaged in little plastic toilets with lollipop "plungers." As the small people gleefully jumped up and down, spreading the sugary contents of their wee loos every which way, the rest of the parents looked quizzically at the bestower of the peculiar presents.

"I haggled," he explained, with a shrug. "I wanted to see how low the guy would go."

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