The Saturday Miscellany: How to haggle; Parker; Fenella Smith; Garry Disher's bookshelf
How to: Haggle
By Oscar Quine
Haggling isn't just for a foreign bazaar, you can do it every day and save hundreds. Here, Martin Lewis, founder of moneysavingexpert.com gives you the lowdown on how to knock a price down low...
Use charm, chutzpah and a smile. Aggression or anger will just put their back up. You're asking for a discount – they're within their rights not to give it.
Know when it'll work. You can haggle in big UK chain stores. Just find a supervisor at a non-busy time and try your chances. The powerhouse haggle comes when calling service-company call centres when you're nearing contract renewal. At many firms haggling will succeed in more than 50 per cent of cases.
If they won't play ball, say you'll consider leaving. This often gets you put through to 'disconnections,' internally known as 'customer retentions'. They have a much better deal-making ability.
Rotating column: Lost diversity
By Jane Campbell
In the old days the morning commute was enlivened by observing one's fellow passengers, and categorising them acccording to the paper they read. And what a rich world it was: Daily Mail ladies sitting next to Guardian men; sometimes even a lesser-spotted Socialist Worker made it into the mix.But then came the free newspapers and, almost overnight, the carriage became a homogenous blur: no more spotting of potential mates or comrades on the barricades. It was sad, but we still had books to give us tantalising hints about their readers (even if, as during the summer of Fifty Shades of Grey, we'd rather not have known). But as e-readers become ubiquitous these clues, too, are disappearing. The lost diversity of the Tube carriage might not be as upsetting as that of the savanna – but it's a tragedy in its way.
By Ellen E Jones
Q. My friend has taken control of my Tinder account? Is this abdication of responsibility at all wise?
A. Wise doesn't go far enough; this is genius. Tinder's only real flaw is its assumption that most people are capable of selecting a suitable romantic partner for themselves. If that were true, you wouldn't still be single now, would you?
Four play: Thomas Edison's inventions
2. Telephone transmitter
3. Electric light*
4. Two-way telegraph*
*receives patent this day in 1892
Micro Extract: Dinosaur in the garden
'[Dragonflies] have not changed much since the Carboniferous, 320 million years ago, when they were well over 60 centimetres across, the top aerial predators of their day, and they remained king of the sky for 100 million years'
From 'A Buzz in the meadow' by Dave Goulson (Jonathan Cape, £16.99)
All good things
By Charlotte Philby
Marking 125 years of ballpoint brilliance, Parker has created a limited-edition revival collection (above), in coral, grey-green, pink and white. £9.35, parkerpen.com
Homeware designer Fenella Smith has created a new range of canine-inspired ceramics and stationery (above), raising money for the Dog's Trust, with cards and notebooks out next month. For now we want this table jug. £34.95, fenellasmith.com
With a "simple no-nonsense approach to menswear" OPEN is an affordable label that doesn't scrimp on style. With Parka jackets for £40 and £5 tees, the first store will open in Hanley, Staffordshire, and online, next week (18 August). openstores.co.uk
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 SAG Awards: Fake applause track interrupts Reese Witherspoon
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'we're starting to see his demise'
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after Wembley Stadium rant
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Game of Thrones season 5: IMAX releases new trailer with first look footage of Tyrion Lannister
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks