When I was a kid, my parents (as all good parents do) did something that embarrassed me on a regular basis. My Dad’s particular recipe for mortification was his insistence on negotiating prices — everywhere and on everything. In fact, I distinctly remember trying to disappear once when he was trying to work the guy in the electronics department at Sears down on the price for our big-screen TV.

Fast forward 20 years and, like all good children, I have become my father’s daughter. In my daily shopping life, especially on big-ticket items, I consider the price-tag price akin to the speed limit: a good jumping off point for a discussion of what price I’m really going to pay.

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