The art of haggling is all but lost nowadays. On the internet, the price is the price -- take it or leave it.
Maybe not. PriceWaiter is a plug-in for Chrome and Firefox that lets you bid on items from various online stores. In other words, instead of paying the listed price, you can offer to pay, well, less.
And it gets better, at least if you're a Cheapskate reader: For a limited time, newcomers to PriceWaiter can get $15 back on your first successfully negotiated order of $25 or more.
That credit will come in the form of a PayPal payment, provided you place your first order by Dec. 31. Your payout will arrive by Jan. 15, 2019. Remember, this isn't $15 off your purchase price; it's essentially a $15 rebate.
Here's how PriceWaiter works: Install the plug-in, then shop around like you normally would. At certain stores you'll see the PriceWaiter toolbar appear at the top of your browser, giving you the option to "make an offer." Type in the amount you're willing to pay, then sit back and wait.
(Side note: If you're concerned, like I was, about the plug-in's requirement to "read and change all your data on the websites you visit," it turns out that's pretty common among Chrome extensions -- and necessary for PriceWaiter to do its thing. There's a great article here that explains more.)
For example, I found a pair of RayBan Wayfarer sunglasses on Amazon. Price: $143. Well, there's no way I'm paying that much for a pair of sunglasses, so I made a super lowball offer via PriceWaiter: $50.
The next day, a vendor called Gaffos responded with its counter-offer: $85, a savings of 40 percent. Then I checked the Gaffos website, assuming that was just its everyday price. Nope! I'd normally have paid $143 there as well.
That's pretty amazing, though this is definitely a your-mileage-may-vary proposition. I also bid on a laptop and never got a response. The good news is that even if a seller replies with an acceptance of your offer or with a counteroffer, you're not obligated to make the purchase.
Before you actually buy, though, remember that the seller may be different than where you actually placed your bid -- meaning store protections and policies are likely to be different as well. (In the aforementioned RayBan example, I started on Amazon, but my purchase would have gone directly through Gaffos.)
Indeed, make sure you're getting the exact same item you bid on (color, size, style) and do your due diligence on the seller: check their return policy and so on.
To my thinking, using PriceWaiter is like using a: You're crazy not to. There are no strings attached and you stand to save money you wouldn't have saved otherwise.
Originally published on June 18.
Update, Nov. 29: Added $15 rebate option.