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Store now charging $5.00 entry fee for just browsing.

There's a store in Australia that really hates it when its customers walk around the store without buying anything.

Redditor BarrettFox posted a pic of a sign informing shoppers of a new fee at a specialty food store in Brisbane.

It's $5 for "just looking."

The fee exists to stop people from "showrooming" — which occurs when a customer looks at items in a physical store, then makes the purchase online.

The sign assures that you'll have the five dollars deducted from the final purchase price, so you'll get your money back if you buy something.

Here's what the sign says:

As of the first of February, this store will be charging people a $5 fee per person for “just looking.”

The $5 fee will be deducted when goods are purchased.

Why has this come about?

There has been high volume of people who use this store as a reference and then purchase goods elsewhere. These people are unaware our prices are almost the same as the other stores plus we have products simply not available anywhere else.

This policy is line with many other clothing, shoe and electronic stores who are also facing the same issue.


The policy is being ripped apart unanimously.

"It has to be the most misguided strategy we've seen for dealing with showrooming," wrote Matt Brownell at Daily Finance. "The goal of any retailer should be to impress customers with competitive pricing and great customer service — not treat their customers with suspicion and hostility from the moment they walk in the door."

"If customers aren’t buying, the seller needs to figure out why and adapt accordingly," wrote Chris Morran at The Consumerist. "If this store’s prices are truly the best, then maybe it should be offering a price-match guarantee. If it truly offers products that aren’t available elsewhere, then how are these showrooming shoppers buying these items from someone else?"

The commenters in the Reddit thread were more straightforward.

"This store seems desperate to go out of business," quipped one commenter.

"If it was me, I'd say 'Screw you.' and not give them a dime, walk out and refuse them any future business," wrote another. " They are asking to go out of business."

And those were the polite ones.

by Anonymousreply 5403/29/2013

[quote]"If it was me, I'd say 'Screw you.' and not give them a dime, walk out and refuse them any future business," wrote another. " They are asking to go out of business."

I would do the same thing to any store that asked this. Fuck that shit.

by Anonymousreply 103/27/2013

Not the smoothest of moves...

by Anonymousreply 203/27/2013

So I guess none of you are Costco members? They effectively do the same thing, annually.

by Anonymousreply 303/27/2013

You can go into Costco and shop, r3--same with Sam's Club. You have to ask permission, but they'll let you do it.

by Anonymousreply 403/27/2013

I would love to have that fee at the door to every mall. Keeps the proletariat out and reduces crowding.

by Anonymousreply 503/27/2013

Ewww, R5.

You shop at malls?

And you rag on the proletariat???

by Anonymousreply 603/27/2013

Oh that ought to build customer loyalty.

by Anonymousreply 703/27/2013

I'm sure he means malls along the lines of Short Hills: Tiffany, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, etc.

by Anonymousreply 803/27/2013

I think there is a huge difference between an annual membership fee at a warehouse club and an entrance fee to a random store - refunded or not. I know I would never go for it.

by Anonymousreply 903/27/2013

The store in question is Celiac Supplies - Brisbane's first and only gluten and dairy free supermarket. This is starting to make more sense and is probably a good business move given the "prestige" of the gluten free lifestyle.

by Anonymousreply 1003/27/2013

Oh those sensitive celiacs.

by Anonymousreply 1103/28/2013

Stupid move. A lot of purchases are "impulse purchases." People are going to figure they don't really need anything, so why pay to just browse?

by Anonymousreply 1203/28/2013

[quote]Oh those sensitive celiacs.

They were only stating their boundaries.

by Anonymousreply 1303/28/2013

You pay a $50 annual membership fee to shop at Costco. You have to show a membership card to get in the door. Isn't that the same as paying a fee to shop?

by Anonymousreply 1403/28/2013

R14 you can just walk into Costco and browse. If you want to buy something, you need to show your membership card.

by Anonymousreply 1503/28/2013

Poor R14. So exhausted from reading the lengthy responses at R1 & R2, he couldn't make it to R3.

by Anonymousreply 1603/28/2013

Why do they assume every browser is "showrooming?" Lots of shoppers would genuinely buy something if you had what they were looking for..... but they have to LOOK to see if you have something they want (color, size, etc).

Lots of times I breeze into a store and spend less than two minutes perusing the racks and shelves, knowing fairly quickly that there isn't anything I would be interested in purchasing. I'd be pissed to have to pay $5 just for the privilege of browsing.

by Anonymousreply 1703/28/2013

I can imagine it's to keep the annoying shut ins who are obsessed with their diets cornering the help and treating them as a captive audience as they talk about their bowel health.

I have a small shop and you wouldn't believe the boring people who appear to have no friends who just come in here to "chat." About weird stuff.

by Anonymousreply 1803/28/2013

So I guess that means no one would bother making a purchase for under $5, since apparently they're gonna be out five bucks anyway.

by Anonymousreply 1903/28/2013

Whenever a business does something like this, you just know they are in trouble and are probably going to go belly up any day.

by Anonymousreply 2003/28/2013

I like to browse at potential major purchases a few times before I actually buy. I call it visiting. When I'm sure what I want and where I want to buy it and that it's a fair price I will go back one final time to spend the money. A browsing charge would ensure that I never set foot into a store.

by Anonymousreply 2103/28/2013

I think this is probably a smart move for this particular store since it is targeting a very particular niche market. I think it would be a stupid move for just about anyone else.

HOWEVER, showrooming is a huge problem in retail, and clearly the economists don't get it. It is impossible for a brick and mortar store to be competitive with someone who is working out of his garage. This is why huge categories of retail exist almost exclusively online, not necessarily to the benefit of all consumers.

by Anonymousreply 2203/28/2013

[quote] It is impossible for a brick and mortar store to be competitive with someone who is working out of his garage.

Someone working out their garage is not doing the same volume of business as a brick and mortar. They will have higher shipping costs and because they can only hold a very limited inventory, they will not get the same price on merchandise as a store that can fill a 20000 square foot warehouse gets. A brick and mortar also outspends a small time operator in advertising and promotions. A brick and mortar CAN compete with a smaller, on line retailer. When businesses have to compete to get customers, the consumer wins.

by Anonymousreply 2303/28/2013

R23, Actually, a smart online retailer can do the same volume as an independent store. You think that the only options are garage and a 20000 square foot warehouse, which pretty much illustrates how "Showrooming" has destroyed the entire middle level of retail.

Many independent stores are limited to a basement of a backroom for storage. Maybe they rent a storage facility, the same as a "working out of his garage" online retailer would do. As far as inventory storage, it is a pretty level playing field.

The volume that one needs to order to get discounts are beyond most retailers with only a few stores.

The advertising that a storefront does is not the same as the advertising that an online retailer does, and it is much more expensive. Your argument is flawed because if the brick and mortar store "out spends" the online store in advertising, that loss of profit has to be reflected in the price of goods.

Actually, discounting does not benefit the consumer. Oddly, this is one of the first things a learned in my business 101 class in the 1970s. Unfortunately, the wisdom of this has been lost in a race to the bottom.

by Anonymousreply 2403/28/2013

[quote]You think that the only options are garage and a 20000 square foot warehouse

I never said anything even remotely like that. Sorry, but when someone makes up something like you just did, I really cant be bothered to read whatever else you may have written.

by Anonymousreply 2503/28/2013

R3, who the fuck goes to Costco to browse?

by Anonymousreply 2603/28/2013

You would be surprised R26

by Anonymousreply 2703/28/2013

Ha, R26, people go to Costco just for the free food samples.

by Anonymousreply 2803/28/2013

I've been known to go to Costco to graze. Those sample stations can equal a meal. I've actually put my rotisserie chicken back because I was full from the sample stations.

by Anonymousreply 2903/28/2013

The old phrase "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it" is perhaps relevant. Now the old farts who come in there anyway will willingly put down five bucks and expect them to give them their undivided attention and they still won't buy anything. Five bucks buys a lot of loneliness cure!

by Anonymousreply 3003/28/2013

I can understand why people would go to look at hard goods (appliances, electronics, and clothes) before buying them online, but what benefit could be found by looking at dairy or gluten free food products?

What do they think people are doing in the store?

by Anonymousreply 3103/28/2013

It's a logical position to take, but too hard a sell.

by Anonymousreply 3203/28/2013

I see where they are coming from, but this just won't work. Some people are just going to shop you, and buy elsewhere. That is just something that you need to deal with. A couple of weeks ago, I found a pair of jeans at Nordstrom that I loved. They were $220. I looked on my phone in the dressing room, and found the same pair for $140 online. I felt bad (screwing the sales associate out of her commission) but still bought online. All stores would benefit from a price guarantee in the age of technology. They would probably benefit from an internet block while in the store as well, to make it harder for customers to shop you.

by Anonymousreply 3303/28/2013

If a store wants to charge me $5.00 for browsing then I will take my business elsewhere.

by Anonymousreply 3403/28/2013

What are you idiots talking about?

I saw this woman interviewed on Sunrise yesterday morning. This woman sells specialty health products. She isn't charging people to walk into the store and browse. What she is charging $5 for is when customers ask for her advice about her food products and what they should eat and she spends 15 to 30 minutes giving them dietary advice and then they walk out of the store and purchase the product somewhere else (mostly online she said). She said she is acting as a dietician for many of her customers.

So in essence, she is providing medical dietary advice for free and now she has decided to charge for it.

Once you hear it put that way it does seem quite reasonable.

by Anonymousreply 3503/28/2013

It's a total lose-lose situation for everybody. Retailers are getting squeezed out by online retailers who offer lower prices, free shipping and can escape changing sales tax.

It's pretty clear people want to see before buying. These people will be the first to complain when their local retailers disappear.

by Anonymousreply 3603/28/2013

r35 - And then what does she do? Tackle people as they attempt to leave? Call the police and report that someone has stolen her advice?

by Anonymousreply 3703/28/2013

If she isn't a nutritionist or a doctor, her advice isn't worth 2 cents let alone $5, R35.

Part of sales is educating the customer. You don't get to charge for it. Providing information is critical to the sales process because it turns browsers into a buyers. If she was any good at selling, people would buy from her on the spot. She doesn't get to charge people a fee because she sucks at closing.

by Anonymousreply 3803/28/2013

If this store gets away with it, they will all be charging it.

by Anonymousreply 3903/28/2013

How the fuck would I know R39?

I was just explaining what the lady said on the Sunrise show because no-one has bothered to report the facts. I personally wouldn't pay her the $5 but I also wouldn't engage her for 15 minutes requesting her advice about my health requirements. I'd Google it. I don't even think she has any qualifications.

by Anonymousreply 4003/28/2013

r38 is spot on. If she wants to sell medical advice, let her get a degree and an office.

by Anonymousreply 4103/28/2013

Oops I meant;

How the fuck would I know R37?

by Anonymousreply 4203/28/2013

Not even a glory hole in the dressing room for their $5???

by Anonymousreply 4303/28/2013

[quote]What she is charging $5 for is when customers ask for her advice about her food products and what they should eat and she spends 15 to 30 minutes giving them dietary advice...Once you hear it put that way it does seem quite reasonable.

No, it seems even worse. As in illegal and unethical. Unless she's a licensed doctor or dietitian, she cant go around charging people for her advice. I dont know what the laws are there, but in the US, we arrest people for doing that.

by Anonymousreply 4403/29/2013

R44, You are wrong. In fact not all department stores offer free design services. If you want design advice, you pay for it. Some stores will also charge if you want them to be your stylist and put together an entire ensemble for you. Antique store charge to do appraisals. Heck, if what you say is true, then every fortune teller and palm reader would be out of business.

by Anonymousreply 4503/29/2013

R45 Horrible analogy. Decorating your home and getting your palm read is not the same as getting medical advise. If you cant see the difference in the two then you are exactly the kind of sucker this woman is looking to scam.

by Anonymousreply 4603/29/2013

Also R44, the reasons they are charging this fee is very clearly stated. No where in their explanation does the word advise or consultation appear. The fee is for people who are just looking.

by Anonymousreply 4703/29/2013

R46, it is not medical advice. Any health food or vitamin store does the same thing. These items are NOT regulated by the FDA in the USA.

by Anonymousreply 4803/29/2013

[quote]it is not medical advice. Any health food or vitamin store does the same thing.

Exactly, and the average snake oil salesman is better informed about health and nutrition than the lunkhead retail clerks at GNC.

by Anonymousreply 4903/29/2013

R48 As has been pointed out a few times, they are NOT charging for advise. They are charging people who come it to just look. They say so themselves.

by Anonymousreply 5003/29/2013

[quote] I personally wouldn't pay her the $5 but I also wouldn't engage her for 15 minutes requesting her advice about my health requirements. I'd Google it.

That is probably the exact thing they are going through. A lot of people do this. They have nothing to do and don't think anything of wasting someone else's time. And they don't care if other people are waiting or they are holding up everyone else.

I used to work in a pharmacy and the pharmacist used to have to spend a lot of time with people trying to get free advice so they don't have to go to a Dr. Then they wouldn't buy anything. And it was to the detriment of the other paying customers in the store. They would have to wait while the cheap idiot was monopolizing the pharmacist telling them every single thing about their illnesses. A lot of the time they (the real customers) would just give up and leave

by Anonymousreply 5103/29/2013

Some friends and I were in Philly, and we stopped by an antiques shop/thrift store that one of my friends used to frequent in college. The old bastard who owned the place tried to charge us a dollar to look around, so we left.

by Anonymousreply 5203/29/2013

R50. One more time for the dummy.

The woman said she was [bold]not[/bold] charging people to come into the store and look or browse for as long as they liked.

She did say that if she gives them 15 to 30 minutes of [bold]advice[/bold] (not advise) and they buy [bold]nothing[/bold] that she charges them $5. Whether they pay it or not I don't know or care.

I saw the woman say this on the Sunrise morning breakfast news show on Thursday morning Australian time in an interview. Whether she's bat shit crazy or not, I can't say.

But get the facts right.

Advice not advise.

by Anonymousreply 5303/29/2013

R53 Unfortunately for you, this dummy knows how to read. Its a skill you may want to pick up instead of getting all your information from morning television.

Here's what the sign on the door to her store says:

[quote]As of the first of February, this store will be charging people a $5 fee per person for "just looking."

If those jumble of words look familiar, they should. Its from the very article you are commenting on. The rest of what is printed on the sign is also in this article. Check it out. No where do the words advice, consultation, or anything along that appear. The information people walking up to her store were given was "just looking" now came with a fee. This is, for all intention and purposes, the official requirement for the charge. That a few days later after the dust up started she went on television and tried to amend the requirement means nothing. In fact, its illogical. Why put up a sign at your store's entrance, a sign that clearly states you will be expected to part with money upon entry, when in fact its not true? If the charge is for advice, then why not ask for it when the advice is sought? That makes more sense. Her new excuse does not, and if something does not make sense it is not true. Her new reasoning is nothing more than back-peddling. That's an American term. Its something a person does once they realize what they said makes them look like an asshole.

by Anonymousreply 5403/29/2013
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