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Grocery store charges $5 to browse

A BRISBANE specialty grocery store owner is charging customers to browse after becoming fed up with people who enquire but don't buy. A poster telling customers they'll be charged $5 for browsing if they don't purchase anything has been put up at Celiac Supplies in the suburb of Coorparoo.Owner of the gluten free produce store, Georgina, says she resorted to putting up the sign after spending hours each week giving advice to people who leave empty-handed.About 60 people a week would go into the store, ask questions and then buy the same or similar product at a supermarket chain or online.

"I've had a gut full of working and not getting paid," Georgina, who didn't want her surname published, told AAP."I'm not here to dispense a charity service for Coles and Woolworths to make more money.She has became frustrated as her prices often match that of the supermarkets but people still go elsewhere as they are under the impression it will be cheaper.

She says the sign has turned some people away but others are more sympathetic and pay up."I can tell straight away who are the rat bags who are going to come in here and pick my brain and disappear," she said.Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman says charging customers to browse will likely turn people away.

He says a few stores in Queensland are charging to try on shoes or clothing but this is the first time he's heard of a browsing charge.Mr Zimmerman says to be competitive, smaller stores should emphasise what they offer that other stores don't and focus on providing great customer service."If I walked into the store and was told I was going to be charged to browse my immediate reaction would be to leave," he said. You are missing the opportunity for the browsing customer to actually buy from you."

Want to browse? That ll be $5 thanks

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If you buy anything then you get a $5 credit on what ever you buy.

What are your thoughts on this? Fair? Outrages? Would you ever go to this store? (if it was in the US of coarse)


Asked by LostSoul88 at 9:39 AM on Mar. 26, 2013 in Shopping

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This question is closed.
Answers (13)
  • You have to "pay" to join/shop at Costco & Samsclub. Same thing. But they scam people by calling it a "membership". Then you end up buying in bulk which usually is way more than you needed to buy & costs more in the end too & we are "happy" to do it too! LOL!. Scam, scam, scam.

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 9:52 AM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • She's not going to make any more money off of this. The people that would have come in and asked her advice will just go elsewhere, and everyone will spread the word on what she's doing, which could hurt business further.

    I think a better option would have been to have some kind of incentive for people to buy. Something like, "If you buy today, after we've just had this talk, you can get 10% off." Or maybe buy today, and you'll get a coupon for 10% off a future visit. Something that makes people WANT to come in and buy, not want to turn around and walk away.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 10:02 AM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • I would rather have customers that come in to browse versus no customers at all.
    A good portion of these customers would more than likely to come back and shop after educating themselves on what the store carries.
    This is the worst thing she could do to boost business.

    I've been guilty many times of going into a new store and not buying, just for the curiosity of what they have and prices. I've also gone back to several of these stores to purchase after seeing what they have to offer.

    Answer by PMSMom10 at 10:23 AM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • I get her frustrations, but that seems counterproductive.

    Answer by DusterMommy at 10:10 AM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • sounds like being a business owner is too hard for her. "boo hoo i have to give ppl customer service and then they dont buy anything!" like she assumes that if she helps someone they HAVE to buy from her. now she wont get those few browsing customers that do buy. also, i doubt her prices are the same as bigger chain stores...if her store is a specialty store, its a no-brainer that her products are going to be more expensive. shoot, all gluten free stuff is expensive.

    and no i would not go in there.

    Answer by okmanders at 10:59 AM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • I suppose I can understand her frustrations, as a person who tried for a short time to run a specialty gift shop. It was hard to have customers almost ready to buy and then see them leave with a vague promise to maybe come back later. But if I read a sign that said I'd be charged five dollars to browse, that would be my last trip to the store in question, no matter how great the products were. Shoot, I quit going to a local ice cream place because I was disgusted to be charged a nickel for a plastic spoon, which I thought should have come free with the ice cream.

    Answer by Ballad at 11:54 AM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • Georgina, says she resorted to putting up the sign after spending hours each week giving advice to people who leave empty-handed

    So if they are leaving empty-handed it means they aren't buying anything. So she is only punishing the customers who DO buy from her and will end up making them go elsewhere because of the $5 fee. Way to punish your regular customers there Georgina. I expect the "For Sale" to appear in the window shortly.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 9:51 AM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • No I would not go to a store where I had to spend money to look around.

    Answer by virginiamama71 at 10:04 AM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • How many questions could someone have in a GROCERY store? this is just weird.

    Answer by ThatBoysMom at 10:21 AM on Mar. 26, 2013

  • Why not stop giving advise? I would have tried that first.

    Answer by QuinnMae at 11:37 AM on Mar. 26, 2013