The credit crunch has brought a touch of the Middle East to Hounslow High Street, with customers haggling for the first time.
Shoppers are using the gloomy economic outlook as an excuse to drive down prices at market stalls as the hunt for a bargain becomes ever more competitive.
Staff at the discount perfume and watch stall near Holy Trinity Church said this is the first year people have sought discounts.
"Everyone wants to haggle, which they never used to do, but our stuff's already as cheap as we can afford to sell it," added one worker.
"Takings are half what they were last year and we're lucky if we end the day with enough money for petrol and food."
Despite reports that discount stores like Poundland and Aldi have bucked the trend for falling sales, it seems no one in Hounslow has escaped the economic meltdown.
Pound World manager Jaz Arora said takings were down 50 per cent on this time last year, while profit margins had halved during the same period.
"People are definitely spending less and I don't think you'll see any more pound stores opening round here at the moment," he added. "We used to be able to buy stuff for 70p but now most items cost us around 85p."
It was a similar story at the nearby 99p Store, where workers told us they were finding it harder to compete with supermarkets.
"Asda and Tesco are into the pound business now and they've got massive buying capacity so people like us are suffering," said one member of staff. "People are spending more on food but much less on toys and Halloween goods than they did last year."
Even charity shops have fallen victim to the looming recession, though they appear to be taking less of a hit.
Ciham Jaber, manager of Cancer Research UK's Hounslow branch, told us trade had fallen by about 20 per cent in the last year.
"We haven't been too badly affected because we have some amazing bargains, like a black Karen Millen jacket for just £5," she said. "Saturdays are still so busy I'm barely able to take a lunch break and thefts are down.
"But we're getting fewer donations and people are haggling more over prices."