Duchess Kate asked for a discount at an antiques shop: clever or tacky?

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I often discuss and analyze (and over-analyze) what I consider “royal propaganda,” which in Duchess Kate and Prince William’s case, seems to be an endless repitition of just how “normal” and “just like us” they are. To be fair, I think if we’re judging Duchess Kate and Prince William against other members of the royal family, they are more “normal” than most. But if we’re judging them against non-royal people, Will and Kate are still pretty inconsistent and out of touch with reality. This is all a preface because The Mirror has a funny story about Will and Kate which is one of the first “normal” stories that I actually believe. Probably because it doesn’t have that propaganda gloss of “Will and Kate adore each other, everything is perfect in their marriage, they’re so normal and hard-working!” This story makes it sound… I don’t know, realistic?

The Duchess of Cambridge asked for a DISCOUNT in an antiques shop, the owner has claimed. Thrifty Kate, 31, is said to have haggled over the bill after going shopping while pregnant with baby George.

And while his missus bagged a money-off deal, hubby Wills was said to have been sitting in the car outside looking “bored stiff”.

The royal couple were visiting the Old Stables shop in Norfolk near their new 10-bedroom Georgian country home Anmer Hall on the Queen’s Sandringham estate.

Shop owner Caroline Combe revealed: “Kate came in when quite pregnant. Such thin legs in her wellies. She was looking at various things and asked for a discount.”

Asked if she agreed to Kate’s cheeky request for a price cut, Caroline told society magazine Tatler: “Of course, she’s got a big house to do up. But I love her for asking.”

Her husband Roger, who helps run the shop, described how the couple’s visit – before the birth of Prince George in July – looked like a typical husband and wife’s shopping scene.

He added: “If I may say so, William looked like every man who’s forced to go shopping with his wife, which is bored bloody stiff and didn’t get out of the car.”

[From The Mirror]

I love every piece of this. I love that come hell or high water – even at eight and half months pregnant or whatever, Kate was STILL shopping. And that William was totally over it and he wouldn’t get out of the car. Deal royal propagandists: THIS is what a real marriage sounds like. A wife who won’t stop spending that money and a husband who couldn’t care less about his pregnant wife’s need for MORE SHOPPING.

As for the discount thing – is that cheeky or tacky? I’m of two minds. On one side, even if you’re Duchess Kate, I don’t think it hurts to ask because you never know, especially in an antiques shop where prices could be negotiable. Plus, I don’t know how it works in England, but in America, many of the big furniture shops and the like will offer discounts to designers or special clients. So, you never know. But on the other side… I thought Kate made such a big deal about how she wasn’t going to accept freebies or discounts? Huh.

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Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and WENN.

 

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114 Responses to “Duchess Kate asked for a discount at an antiques shop: clever or tacky?”

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  1. Samtha says:

    Was she asking for a discount or just haggling? It may sound like the same thing, but not really. One is a request to pay less, and the other is an attempt to make a deal. Haggling is just a normal part of antiquing, IMO.

  2. teehee says:

    Well, they have money- but that doesnt mean that shopowners can write up a larger bill. Often times you CAN haggle a price in a privately owned business (not large chain). It still comes across as odd though to hear a royal wanting a discount- hopefully not because of who she is. Or maybe Kate hasnt fully realized who she in fact is- a princess who doent need to get a discount…

    • Maggie says:

      OR, is asking for a discount better because they are using the UK People’s money? I obviously don’t know how this works, living in the US, but I think I would rather they pay less. But then…either way, someone is getting screwed. Either the People, or the shop owner. I dunno.

  3. Ncboudicca says:

    Remember when the entire Royal Court would go on progressions around the country and expect their hosts to entertain them and the entire court at the host’s expense?

    I don’t know why this makes me think of that. I suppose I should admire her for trying to save the taxpayers’ money, but I can’t seem to do it.

  4. smee says:

    I’m an antiques dealer here in the U.S. and everyone asks for a discount. So, everything is priced with that in mind. IMO, if you don’t really need the discount, don’t ask for it. I doubt she asks for a discount in a dress store and you know they marked everything up………

    • TheEntrepreneursWife says:

      My husband and I love antiquing and we always negotiate with antique dealers. Just because you have lots of money doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate! (And I’m not suggesting we have lots of money. We definitely don’t!!) But even if we can pay full price why would we if the dealer is willing to negotiate? A fool and his/her money are soon parted…

    • Florc says:

      Discounts on custom pieces? Now that would be tacky.

      If she did ask for discounts for a dress that the profits did not go to a charitable cause that would be fine. By her wearing it it will sell out. And she technically can’t accept free gifts (even though she shockingly does).

      I wonder if someone told her to bring back her spending a bit. Hmm

      • bluhare says:

        She does since they got married? I thought it was supposed to stop then.

      • Florc says:

        Bluhare
        I’m referring to when she and William were caught using a helicopter for personal use. I believe it was an official statement addressing how they were gifted use of their friend’s helicopter while he was in town. The whole thing was sketchy since their friend seemed to be giving them a cover and by doing so contradicting their policy to not accept gifts.

        It’s silly. 1 person snaps a few cell phone pics of them and a statement needs to be issued.

      • LAK says:

        Florc – it’s not silly if you think about the image they always try to project ie that rather than being 1%-ters, they are ‘normal’ and ‘down to earth’. Being caught helicopter hoping, with additional explanation from the pilot that he often gives them a lift from Wales, isn’t great for that image.

        The Palace had to downplay it, and then contradict their own rules by claiming it was a gift rather than give further explanation as to who paid for said ‘gift’. The lesser evil I guess.

        The royal family, in general, like to downplay their wealth or at least NOT flaunt it as part of their ongoing PR. I think only Charles has been caught out, and only due to loose-lipped ex-staff.

      • Florc says:

        Thanks LAK!
        I suppose With all that it seems less silly. For better or worse Kate and her family are bringing more interest and eyes to the Royals and Middleton’s spending habits. Helicopter rides, car services, and nearly daily shopping trips with little more than a few hours of work a month between the duke and duchess can only be concealed with fluffy pr stories for so long. Or maybe longer? I often underestimate the publics patience of repeatedly being lied to.

  5. ALG says:

    I would’ve laughed at her. I wonder if she and her mother and sister get a discount on bulk orders of black eyeliner pencils and cheap tanning lotion.

  6. Original N says:

    If the British taxpayers could ask for a discount off what they pay per taxpayer for W & K, then I would say no … but given that W & K’s lifestyle is paid for by the very people they asked the discount from, tacky is an understatement.

    • Harriet says:

      The British tax payer- aka someone like me, contributes very little towards the royal family, which I also believe make Britain what it is today (If we didn’t pay to them we would be paying to the government to maintain all their properties, artefacts etc) Besides which, this British tax payer has no qualms contributing when she also gets free basic healthcare! It’s also money’s worth- the royal family doesn’t shut down and we didn’t even vote for them.

      • Doosh says:

        +100! No one actually realises how much the royals contribute towards the country in general, to the economy, moral & international reputation compared to actually how little tax is actually being paid to them in the grand scheme of things. Plus, they only get to retire when they die, which is a pretty tiresome job!

      • Tish says:

        I didn’t know this. Thanks for that.

      • Lisa says:

        Doosh (says it all really) — kind of sad that that bunch of scammers and adulterers is upholding the “moral . . . reputation” of your country. Apart from the queen they’re just a bunch of tabloid items for most of us actually living in the 21st century.

      • Florc says:

        If there’s 2 things I’ve learned from conversations on this subject and outside research it’s…

        No one knows exactly how much the Royal Family takes from the tax payers. It’s all concealed so well I’ve yet to find an actual figure that isn’t inflated or deflated to suit their bias. Many of their expenses are not covered in straight forward language.

        And..

        The Royal family does not bring in as much as they cost their country. Even in the year W & K got married they still banked in tourism less than countries with their Royal Families long gone.
        And as far as an international reputation goes… Much will be lost when the Queen passes and Charles follows. Despite how the American press tries to praise the next generation of royals as cutting edge many politicians and people in power hold little respect for them outside of formalities unless they truly have something other than a title to offer..

      • Original N says:

        @Harriet & Doosh-
        For your own edification….Daily Finance has an informative article concerning the cost of the royal family. It seems that you could use the information to enhance your perspective. If the link doesn’t work, the article was from 24 Jul 2013. Best to you!
        http://www.dailyfinance.com/on/royal-baby-riches-monarchy-costs-great-britain/

      • Harriet says:

        One thing I have learnt about this subject is no one will ever agree and at least one person will make reference to the taxpayer. Well I’m a taxpayer and I’m fine with having a royal family.

        @Lisa, let’s not be name calling. It’s tacky. When you say ‘your’ country, I might add that I feel the same about the Kardashians. Although to be fair to you I don’t know where you’re from.

      • Harriet says:

        @Original N, many thanks for all the effort it took for you to find and post your link. Enlightening as it was I’m quite content with my own perspective. All the best to you too!

      • Suze says:

        Aren’t Will and Kate on a year long slowdown though? ; ).

      • Lisa says:

        Doosh dear — let me help you out here with a little civics lesson. Last time I checked the Kardashians were not in line to be our next head of state. Nor does a penny of my tax money support them. Nor do they represent this country in any significant way — merely an arguable representation of the cultural zeitgeist at a specific moment in time.

        You and your compatriots, on the other, give the Windsors your tax money and undivided loyalty as your heads of state. Charles and William are really the best men to represent your country? A country that has produced some of the greatest minds the world has ever seen and Charles and William are seen as the best and brightest fit to represent it? Because, why? God told you so? How very, very sad and subservient.

      • B says:

        @Harriet and Doosh Your healthcare is paid for by taxes, it’s not exactly free when every taxpayer bears the cost.I can’t get my head around some of your comments – moral reputation? When, where and how? Prince Charles is mostly known for cheating on Diana and marrying his mistress. The Queen shamefully requested money from the poverty fund, money allocated to people who truly have money issues, to pay her heating bills a few years ago. They’re not moral beacons but it looks like elocution and protocol covers a multitude of sins.

        The only things the Royals have are money and class/status and they cling to these things because it’s all the have. And it’s these unearned things which they were born with that many people blindly worship them for. I don’t understand how regular people stan for these archaic people who would ignorantly regard you as “common”.

        And tbh I hardly consider having a team of assistants to help you in every way and chauffeuring you to and from events as tiresome especially when it’s by choice(she could have retired if she wanted to).

        As for the argument that they bring in more in tourism, what evidence is there for that? That people wouldn’t come to London were it not for them? Other cities like New York seem to do pretty well with tourists without a Royal Family and London is a popular destination for many reasons. Even if it were true that the palaces bring in a substantial amount of revenue (something which requires the Royals doing barely anything at all) why does it justify regular taxpayers subsidizing THEM? I remember when Paul Burrell was on tv and revealed he was paid peanuts when he worked for the Queen – the royals are stingy and entitled.

    • Original N says:

      @ FLORC – I am not certain it is a matter of the public’s patience as you stated in the earlier comment to LAK, but rather some members of the public choosing to remain ignorant (see above). ^^^

    • Harriet says:

      @Linda I made the comment about the Kardashians in reference to the ‘moral reputations’ and quite frankly I’m not a hardcore royalist- but nor am I republican. I just don’t like being patronised or having this intense, non stop emphasis about how stupid we must be to agree to continue to be a taxpayer in Britain. Well, at least it’s not your problem! Heaven forbid.

      • Lisa says:

        Linda — You’re right — I’m very lucky I don’t have to support a system as outdated and obscene as a monarchy. I’m lucky that every child born in this country is considered fit to serve and lead it some day and that our head of state for the next 100 years is not a white Christian male. I’ll admit I’m shocked that ostensibly intelligent sentient people buy and pay into this system.

      • Jay says:

        @Linda, as someone from another country with the Queen as the head of state, I’d just like to say:

        Our country tried the government shutdown thing once. The Queen fired all of them and we got to elect new representatives who went on with the business of actually running the country rather than trying to hold our budget hostage.

        Constitutional monarchy ain’t all that bad, y’know.

  7. Mon says:

    I think that’s actually quite out of order. The recession has not yet departed from the UK and businesses (especially small) are falling on their faces. With the money they have, they should not dare to be asking for any refunds!

  8. Cerulean Skygirl says:

    I think it was more tacky for the shop owners to say anything to the press. Haggling is normal in most parts of the world, whether the customer “needs” it or not. I say good for Kate for trying to save some money. Many wealthy people have become wealthy because they understand how to save & use any/all discounts and coupons available to them.

  9. Chinoiserie says:

    It is different to expect a discount because who you are and ask one in a antique store where everybody really asks.

    But how much antique shopping she really does? They do have such a large place they need a lot of furniture to decorate it tough.

  10. Bridget says:

    I thought everyone haggled at antiques stores?

  11. Prim says:

    It’s normal when you buy antiques. Would be odd if you didn’t ask.

  12. Harriet says:

    To the people calling this tacky and insensitive to the poor old people of Britain- I happen to go to a lot of antiques places and bargaining and asking for a discount is neither tacky, wrong or unheard of. If Kate hadn’t asked, then this entire comment section would be filled with- “she just wastes the tax payers money and can’t even get the prices right!” Anyway the shop owner didn’t give the discount- and at the end of the day it’s up to her!

  13. Banskygirl says:

    He proper thing to do would have been to haggle as it is expected and then pay the original price .

    She’s cheap and it shows she has no budget

  14. fhm57 says:

    It’s just part and parcel of antiquing. “this is marked 25, would you take 20?” it’s fun, not cheap.

  15. Maum says:

    I don’t know. Unless you’re market shopping, it’s not considered ‘normal’ to ask for discounts in the UK.
    Even in antiques shops.

  16. Lisa says:

    The only thing tacky about it is how unequal their bargaining positions are. The shop owner probably felt a LOT of pressure to give her a great deal that she wouldn’t feel with any other customer — that’s the problem I have with it. Interesting comment though about how skinny her legs were in her boots.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      That’s exactly what I was going to say. It put the antiques dealer in an unfair position. Did she really feel that she had a choice?
      Having said that, I agree with the poster above that it was tacky of the antiques dealer to talk to the press about it. You shouldn’t gossip about your clients.

  17. Florc says:

    I’m all over the board on this…

    Prices can be negotiated in those kinds of stores. And I do think this is believable. Kate negotiated for that Audi while dating/on a break from William. She’s possibly very skilled at haggling and enjoys it. Of course, the action of her trying to save money she hasn’t earned and possibly doesn’t understand the real value of seems empty. Seems to me if she was this thrifty image being sold to us she wouldn’t be shopping as much as she does. And yes, she has many homes now, but since her purchases are well documented they appear to be more impulse buys to pass the time than pulling a room together.

    W&K’s image needs constant stories to make them likable. Since we never see them acting charitable or relatable it’s up to these articles to fill in the gaps. If I saw more of them acting more like harry (getting his hands dirty and spending time really listening to charities and the people they help) I would like them more.

  18. dorothy says:

    I agree with previous posts. I find it tacky that the shop owner revealed the request. Doubt Kate will be going back to that shop again.

  19. emmie_a says:

    I don’t know. If it’s a small ‘mom & pop’ type shop I feel bad asking for a discount because I feel like I’m taking away from their livelihood… but if you know the discount is worked in to the price beforehand then I guess it’s ok.

  20. Green Girl says:

    I really don’t know about this one! On the one hand, it could be considered tacky (even if completely normal for others to do) if she asked for a discount on one item. But if she bought a table, chairs, dressers and other items, then said “And may I have that vase on discount?” – eh, I don’t know.

    Don’t forget, too, the shopowner is getting something out of this story. She gets to say Kate shops at her store, and she also gets free publicity by having her store’s name mentioned in the paper.

  21. Crabcake says:

    So… everyone would rather prefer she spend their taxdollars with no regard, especially in a shop where everyone can haggle for a decent price?

  22. MavenTheFirst says:

    It’s not about the money. It’s about status and power made visible. Tacky and arrogant and pathetic.

  23. Melanie says:

    In the UK when shopping in antique shops or similar, it’s pretty much normal to ask “how much for cash” or “if I was to get all of these, what would be your best price”

    The price labels in most places like this take into account the fact that customers will haggle over the price.

  24. Nymeria says:

    The owners of the shop pay taxes, which go to support Duchess Dude & Balding Bill. They don’t get to ask to pay less in taxes.

    Eh, this whole system is borked: Duchess Dude has no right to go around spending taxpayers’ money on herself, yet she also has no right to ask for a discount on anything because she obviously doesn’t need it. The royals should be abolished already.

    • themummy says:

      I see what you mean in theory (and more or less agree), but reality is that even without taxpayer money, they are rich, rich, rich. The Queen owns more land than anyone else in the world, I think…and she’s either the richest or second richest person (if I remember correctly), so tax payer money or not, they do have their own income, property, etc. So, yes, she gets to haggle at the antiques place just like every other person does. Not just that, but don’t we hope she will try to spend as little as possible, if indeed it’s about taxpayer money?

      • Nymeria says:

        You’d have an excellent point, if it weren’t for the fact that the royal family is essentially sitting on the accumulation of centuries’ worth of taxpayer money; they are like the Vatican in this regard.

        Your second point is in line with my second point – whether they haggle or not, the royals are spending money that isn’t theirs; and as they serve very little purpose these days, the royal family is obsolete.

  25. The Original Mia says:

    Tacky. She doesn’t need a discount or freebie.

  26. BeckyR says:

    Part of antiques shopping is asking,
    “Is this your best price?” Totally normal.

  27. Merritt says:

    That is part of antiquing.

    I don’t think it needed to go into the sexism of women always shopping and spending money. When it comes to these two I think they both spend, she is just more visible since it is in the shops. He has very expensive hobbies.

  28. RobN says:

    Haggling is an expected part of certain transactions and the odd thing would be to not do it. Nobody with a brain pays the posted price, I don’t care who they are.

    • Lisa says:

      Bless your heart, Ducky Girl. Let me clue you in — ANY time you see a product/store mentioned in connection with a celebrity (which is what Kate is) you can bet said celebrity received a VERY steep discount in exchange for the free advertising.

  29. GeeMoney says:

    Ugh… everyone should STFU. Just b/c you have money, doesn’t mean you don’t like deals or getting things on sale. Sheesh.

    Besides… how do you think rich people stay rich? By not spending ALL of their money.

    • Florc says:

      GeeMoney
      Yes and No. Rich people stay rich by 1. Earning more money than they spend and 2. Not spending their own.
      This is the same outrage that happens in the USA when the 1% people hold and protect their own money and refuse spend it while wanting more tax breaks.

      Ultimately, Kate is receiving money from taxes of people living in a recession. She’s then wanting to hold onto that money rather than bring it back into circulation. Maybe if she was somehow earning that money it would seem less… out of touch with reality.

  30. mslewis says:

    The shop owners might have felt justified in telling the world that the Duchess of Cambridge shopped at their place but I really doubt the Duchess will do it again. The shop owners may have talked themselves out of a lot of money from the Cambridges. The shop owners talking to the press is what’s tacky in this story.

    I don’t haggle well at antique shops or at the flea market so I only go when my sister can go with me. At these places it is expected that the buyer will haggle with the seller. If you don’t, you’re the fool. But, of course, Kate can’t win at anything she does. If she had paid full price the owners would have told that to the press and Kate would have been beaten up for that; she asked for a discount and she’s still being beaten up for it. Amazing!!

    • Florc says:

      Often Kate has been praised. Wearing her hair back… Dressing appropriately… Attending charity events… Appropriate make up. These compliments are often overlooked so posters may post how Kate can never win and damned if she does.

      And as for the Story owners talking. The story was written in a flattering way. Kate knows what she wears, buys, and goes gets attention. If she truly wanted nothing to get out she would have sent her personal shoppers to haggle or shop for her. That would not be anything new as she has a steady history of PSs. My point is this story is PR for her image and the store.

  31. bluhare says:

    Thread Hijack!!

    I’ve never seen William look as happy on an engagement as he was today at BP hosting the football match.

  32. Kyle Randall says:

    If she’s paying with Middleton money: Tacky.

    If she’s paying with Royal allowance money from the taxpayers: Smart.

    • Florc says:

      Last post! Thread is getting reparative…

      Kate is seen shopping a few times a week. At times her purchases seem like meaningless items just to spend money for retail therapy purposes.
      The money she might have saved from putting into a business will likely not be thought of when the RF asks for a tax hike to cover expenses. Just seems like an empty gesture for PR purposes only.

  33. Maria says:

    >> THIS is what a real marriage sounds like. A wife who won’t stop spending that money and a husband who couldn’t care less about his pregnant wife’s need for MORE SHOPPING.

    No, actually. This sounds like a ridiculous stereotype and one of the most anti-feminist things I’ve ever read here.

  34. Suze says:

    Heh – well, did she get the discount? That answer the shop owner gave was sort of a non-answer.

    Honestly, if it is like every antique store I’ve ever been in, there is no set price on anything, so she was probably just naming a price for a piece and not asking for a discount.

    I give old Kate grief all the time but this is not one of those times. I think she was just doing what you do in an antique shop. If she had gone into a grocery store and started haggling over the price of canned goods, the story may have had legs.

    What I don’t get is – don’t the royals have palaces and country homes and storage buildings filled with antiques? Why do they need to buy anything? I thought it was very declasse for people of that ilk – the super rich, the upper upper class – to ever buy furniture. You simply inherit it and move it from house to house.

    That old adage was: Middle class people decorate, the upper class furnishes.

  35. B says:

    “I thought Kate made such a big deal about how she wasn’t going to accept freebies or discounts?”
    This would hardly even be admirable when Kate’s whole life is practically one big freebie, subsidized by the taxpayer – the most recent freebie being the million pounds allocated to the renovation of her apartment drawn from PUBLIC FUNDS, an amount her and William could easily cough up themselves.
    Maybe she asks for discounts on the rare occasions when she’s spending what is slightly more recognizable as “her own” or William’s own cash. I vote tacky, the clever(or considerate)thing for a millionairess(with more money than she could ever possibly need) to do would be to give shop owners with considerably less than her generous tips.

    • Amelia says:

      Well at least the UK has William and Kate who are beautiful and seemingly down to earth. We’ve got the Obamas who act like royalty. We’re experiencing major fiscal crises yet they command an Osprey military helicopter to fly their dog to join theism on vacation. They act more entitled than Will and Kate.

    • Tara says:

      The apartment at KP wasnt done by or just for Kate. She, her husband and the third in line to the throne will live there. Prince Charles paid for the furnishings/decor and taxes paid for the renovations because KP is a public trust. Americans dont blame the first family when the White House needs refurbishing and even if so I doubt the first lady would be singled out in this way.
      And who tips a shopkeeper? Those in the service industry, yes always, but small business owners? The shop owners will get increased business as a result of the royal visit.

      • Suze says:

        That apartment has been redone for every royal who has lived there. It was also redone for the charity that occupied it before them. Every 20 years or so it gets an expensive, major rehaul. And it’s not even the center of operations for the government!

        I’m not blaming Kate for this, it’s the system and she’s just part of it at this point. It just amazes me that the public trust pays to redo that building at the whim of whoever lives or works there for a few years, it seems.

        And the White House comparison is not valid, that functions more like 10 Downing street. The White House not only houses the president, his family, and various federal employees, it is a heavily, daily used federal office building. It is also the symbolic center of the federal branch of the government and has thousands of tourists come through yearly. That place needs constant attention or it would fall down. And the public still howls at the cost.

        If you don’t think the president or First Lady get singled out for spending, you haven’t been reading our conservative papers!

  36. Aud says:

    I’m not sure. I think with antiques shops the rules are different and there is a lot of haggling that takes place in the UK. No one buys without haggling in antique shops. Sothebys/Christies auctions are another thing entirely, but if you’re walking into a teeny ‘antique’ shop, you’re potentially being overcharged in most instances.
    It is the fact that she is married to the next king of England that makes this tacky.
    If she wasn’t married to William and dating some other toff, no one would care, although if she was known to have money or dating a wealthy person, the same view would be held: tacky.
    Basically if you can well afford something, it’s just embarrassing to haggle and come across like some type of cheapskate.
    Then again Queen Elizabeth is known to be a bit of a tightwad herself.

  37. eliza says:

    Tacky and cheap. If the rules of being royal don’t apply to us why should the rules of commomers apply to her? Pretty cheap to try to get a discount.

  38. murphy says:

    I’m surprised he was even there.

  39. Deedee says:

    So there was nothing in the vast collections of antiques already owned by the Queen to please Kate? Rather than wonder about the haggling, it’s the need to shop that I would question.

  40. jackie says:

    I so agree with you about the NEED to SHOP