A Sharp Eye for a Good Buy

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“I try not to pay full price for anything,” says Robert Primus, chief of staff for Massachusetts congressman Michael Capuano. Primus says he has gotten great deals on everything from an old pickup truck to a vintage Rolex.

While renovating a brick Colonial he’d bought in DC’s Fort Dupont neighborhood, he found a Kentucky plumbing supplier willing to sell him a $710 Japanese luxury toilet for $463; no tax, and shipping was free. He waited until Sony brought out a new 60-inch flat-panel TV, which cost $4,000, then bought its predecessor for a marked-down $1,900. A lost-our-lease sale at a Springfield Mall store yielded a pair of home-theater seats and a queen leather sleep sofa for $2,000.

In February, Primus hit the now-shuttered Landover Cmart for a Presidents’ Day furniture blowout. He left with a $4,000 Robert Allen sofa reduced to $800 and a handsome pair of $1,500 chairs for $200 each. He avoided delivery charges by loading them into the truck he’d bought at a vehicle auction for $800 cash, $600 below its Blue Book value. “One bargain begets another,” he says.

He buys designer menswear from Filene’s Basement and from a Hong Kong tailor, Anthony Asaf of Empire International Custom Tailors.

He pays full retail for one indulgence: “Trafalgar suspenders at Nordstrom. They’re $170 a pair and never go on sale. Those are gifts to myself every few months.”

His advice: “Do your homework, be patient, don’t jump at the first thing you see. There is always a deal to be made.”

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