In case you are one of those folks that don’t know the difference, let me lay this out for you and make it CRYSTAL CLEAR. The words “barter” and “haggle” do not mean the same thing! Am I the only person that is driven crazy when these words are sometimes used interchangeably??!! Even my wife (who can’t escape a constant barrage of barter banter) mixes these terms up sometimes. Here are the correct definitions:
Barter: To trade one product or service for another.
Haggle: To negotiate for the best possible price for a product or service.
I think the cause for confusion is twofold:
1) Traditionally, Americans neither barter nor haggle much. As such I think many of us simply lump them both into the mental category of “that undesirable thing that some people do when they try to buy things cheap.”
2) Of course part of bartering involves determining the value of the traded item and that can often include some haggling. The confusion is caused by the fact that both are often conducted at the same time.
The reason that it’s important that folks understand the difference is because many Americans simply refuse to haggle. If they mix these two terms up, their distaste for haggling will infect their feelings about barter. So I send you forth, my little barter fanatics, to educate the world and spread the gospel of barter. Whenever you can please point out the differences between these two terms.