Would You Pay to Browse a Store?

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The owner of a small business in Australia is sick of people asking for help and never buying anything, so she made a new rule: You stay, you pay.

Georgina too-scared-to-share-her-last-name told The Brisbane Times she’s started charging people $5 (about $5.20 U.S. dollars) just to look around her store. A sign at the door warns people.

It’s a specialty shop for people who can’t eat gluten (a protein found in grains like wheat) which apparently sees a lot of showroomers. Showrooming is when you browse a brick-and-mortar store, then go home or use your phone to buy what you want online or elsewhere. She doesn’t like that. Who would?

Georgina told the Times, “I’ve had a gut full of working and not getting paid. I’m not here to dispense a charity service for Coles and Woolworths to make more money.” She said her prices are similar to those at the supermarkets, but people still come in, question her about products and gluten-related conditions, and then leave under the assumption things are cheaper elsewhere.

She calls those people “rat bags.”

A representative of the Australian Retailers Association quoted in the story points out the obvious: this is likely to cost the store more customers. The story doesn’t say how she deals with people who just laugh and walk out.

Stacy Johnson

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