Originally Posted by BWinmill
It's called comparison shopping. People have been doing it for generations. In the past information garnered from such experiences would permit a process called bargaining. Unfortunately, a lot of people have dismissed the idea of being informed consumers in favour of the misplaced notion of customer loyalty. (Very few people shop at places that would return that loyalty.)
So no, I don't see the process as dishonest.
Businesses need to look at what they're doing wrong. I've heard a theory about the reckoning happening with electronic retailers in Canada. For the non-Canucks: big box stores like Future Shop and Best Buy are shutting down stores, while small retailers like The Source (nee Radio Shack) are expanding. Now the theory goes that the big box stores are too big to sustain themselves due to rent and staffing costs. In other words, they are dinosaurs who could only exist while the food supply was plentiful. But it isn't the case anymore, so they are suffering while other businesses are taking their place (both online and brick and mortar).
I have to agree, to suggest there's anything morally wrong about browsing in-store and then buying online is ridiculous.
Am I acting "dishonestly" when I browse Amazon's reviews but then buy an ebook at Kobo's store because I can use a discount code? Does this apply between physical stores? Is it morally wrong for me to test drive a car at one dealership and then buy the same type of car from another dealership that offers me a better price? Or am I morally obligated to spend more money at the store I initially browsed at?
If bookstores can't compete for the finite dollars of sophisticated customers, then that's too bad for them but it's not dishonest, unethical or immoral. Bookstore don't need this HarryT's past-looking, protectionist sentiment, they need to offer products and services that customers actually want to buy from them.
Equating a personal choice to buy from a physical store to proper moral conduct marks a notable low-point in arguments on Mobileread. I can barely express my incredulity at the idea that supporting a failing business model is the "moral" path.