A Just Looking Fee?

What do you think about stores charging people to shop at their locations? You would pay to look around the store, a brick and mortar store, but get the money back if you purchase 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.


via Stores Charges Customers $5 ‘Just Looking’ Fee To Combat Showrooming – Yahoo! Finance Canada.

I’m sure there will be a lot of protest against this. But, I do see the logic behind it. Here in Ontario we used to have a chain of wholesale/ retail stores called Consumer’s Distributing. I don’t know what happened to the stores, they went out of business years ago. I still think they had a near perfect business model. People would come to the store, look at the catalogue and write down the page number and the item number of the product they wanted. If there were extra things like colour or size you wrote that down as well. Then you brought your ticket/ note to the service desk. There were always a few people there and one would take your note and go into the warehouse to bring out what you wanted.  You could open it up from the packaging, take a look and make sure it was what you wanted. Then you paid for it and were done.

Stores now are becoming the catalogue for online shoppers. Not fair to them. Not something which will work out in the long range plan. So, I do understand a retail store trying to get people to shop and buy in the store rather than use the store like a catalogue or display, a place where they can deal with the store staff, have them open packaging and then leave the store without making a purchase. This leaves the store paying for staff, lights, insurance, and so on but not getting the sales which they rely on.

I actually shop the opposite way myself. I look at prices online, see what stores have listed and then I go to a real store to have a better look and at this point I almost always buy whatever I was looking at because I have already done my shopping around online. I prefer to buy from the brick and mortar store than the online stores. I like to really see what I’m buying before I open my wallet.

What do you think?

Would you pay the fee to just look – especially knowing you will get the money off your purchase?

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