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Old 02-14-2013, 01:11 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by murraypaul View Post
So it not an issue if you shoo salesmen away as soon as they approach? (Which I always do anyway, whether I'm buying or not.)



Or from someone who never enters the store in the first place.
Whether I go in or not, I do not affect that outcome.
Neither of those is the scenario under discussion.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:16 PM   #152
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Having re-read all your posts in this thread You have still not demonstrated in virtue of what does "having not intention of buying" (sic), have an ethical value? All you have done is expressed a feeling about it - which is not the same thing at all.
Perhaps you should take a remedial course in reading comprehension then. Or perhaps just accept that other people do not agree with you. (I also suspect that you have no idea what my opinion on this matter actually is, despite me having said it quite plainly more than once. I do not consider it unethical, and I say that as someone who has spent 30+ years working in retail. It's part of the business, and not actually difficult to deal with by someone who knows what they're doing. But it's not irrational, or "bonkers," to feel that it is, when it is an issue that directly costs retailers money.)

Since you're clearly not reading, or at least not understanding, what I've said, I'll be ignoring you until you do, since it would be pointless to do otherwise.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:21 PM   #153
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I can see you're hoping for a "gotcha" moment here, but I fully admit what "seems" to be my position.
No "gotcha." I'm trying to figure out what your position is. I really can't tell.

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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
If a store sets up their business in such a way that they provide sales people to assist customers, on the assumption that an assisted customer is one that is more likely (but not guaranteed) to buy,
Which is almost universally true.

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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
then I don't have a problem with someone getting the offered assistance. A person not buying, even after someone has helped them, is the cost the business has chosen to pay in setting up their business in the manner they did. Any time a salesperson helps anyone, he or she is taking a risk that there's a better customer somewhere in the store that he or she is missing out on.
That's the business, yes. The issue is the non-customer deliberately manipulating the situation so as to cause that missed opportunity.

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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
The salesperson might be annoyed at a browser, but being annoyed at someone doesn't equal that someone having acted unethically.
What the salesperson does, or feels, is completely irrelevant to whether or not the non-customer is unethical. No connection at all.

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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
And just as an aside, I like how you shifted the goalposts in the above from "unethical" to "less than desirable".
That's not a shifted goalpost, it's a turn of phrase. If it bothers you that much, pretend I said "unethical" again.

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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post

I also like how you've limited your example to commissioned salespeople.
Except I haven't. I've offered that as the most extreme example, but lookie-looks directly affect the income of the store in all cases.

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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
So do we agree that, in the case of a bookstore, which probably doesn't have any commissioned salespeople, it's not reasonable to say someone with no intention of buying has acted unethically, even if they "waste" a salesperson's time?
I said that from the beginning. Perhaps you should review the conversation, to find the parts you've forgotten.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:25 PM   #154
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Lol, maybe life in rural France is not the same as life in Prague or Budapest. My idea of Europe I must say refers to a lifestyle more closer related to Central and South-East Europe and not rural France. And of course online shops are nice thing to resort to, but every small town should have one or two of these quirky shops with more then one antiquary shop for books. And most towns in areas of Europe I mentioned have that. Same as I cant imagine every coffee shop in Prague turning into a Starbucks, I cant imagine every bookshop turning into chain store.

In comparison to where I'm currently living where 99.9% of shops are chain bookstores.
Prague and Budapest are their own places; most of the bookstores I visited in the three years I lived in Germany and Austria had less charm than a mall store Waldenbooks. (The tendency to shelve books by publisher (!) didn't help). The stores were efficient operations if you knew the book you wanted, but they weren't set up for browsing.

I'm sure that there were plenty of quirky bookstores in Berlin and (maybe) Munich, but the ones around me were pretty barren and uninviting. Particularly when compared to, say, a B&N or Borders (RIP).
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:50 PM   #155
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Originally Posted by taustin View Post
Perhaps you should take a remedial course in reading comprehension then. Or perhaps just accept that other people do not agree with you. (I also suspect that you have no idea what my opinion on this matter actually is, despite me having said it quite plainly more than once. I do not consider it unethical, and I say that as someone who has spent 30+ years working in retail. It's part of the business, and not actually difficult to deal with by someone who knows what they're doing. But it's not irrational, or "bonkers," to feel that it is, when it is an issue that directly costs retailers money.)

Since you're clearly not reading, or at least not understanding, what I've said, I'll be ignoring you until you do, since it would be pointless to do otherwise.
Perhaps you should take a remedial course in not being rude. Since you do not consider browsing without buying to be unethical, we do not disagree. Which is nice.
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Old 02-14-2013, 05:04 PM   #156
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Except I haven't. I've offered that as the most extreme example, but lookie-looks directly affect the income of the store in all cases.
Wha...? So if I walk into Chapters (Barnes and Noble of the North) from the mall, scan a few barcodes with my phone, order the books from Amazon, and walk out, I've cost the store money? How? It's not like they heated the place and opened the doors just for me, they were going to have to pay their rent and staff whether or not I ever darkened their doorstep.

I plan to do some car shopping this weekend. So I'll probably do a few test drives at random dealerships, waste the time of several salespeople (who could definitely be helping other customers) and then do research on-line to find the best deal (which might be at a completely different dealership). I guess it would be reasonable for someone to think that I'm, ethically, one of the greatest monsters in history.


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Originally Posted by taustin View Post
I said that from the beginning. Perhaps you should review the conversation, to find the parts you've forgotten.
I seem to recall you saying that morals were all opinions, so it would be reasonable for someone to think it's immoral to browse but not have any intention of buying. But if you're now saying that position is unreasonable, than great, I'm glad you agree with me.

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Old 02-14-2013, 05:26 PM   #157
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Prior to the advent of the "Big Box" bookstore, when I was a kid, bookstores were about efficiency with books stacked floor to ceiling front to back. Then came the analog of today's big-box stores, only for books. There larger corporate cut-throat priced with the same cut-throat business practices drove small friendly neighborhood shops out of business depriving some of a livelihood that may have been handed down for a generation or two. The big-box bookshops were cold, indifferent and pretty much totally lacking in knowledge about any of the sections in the store. It was buy cheap, play low wages and let the customers either buy what was offered or sod-off.

Seems this has clearly gone full circle. Those same mega-stores are now about to be squashed. In many cases it is because the stores themselves are portraits to waste and excess. Amazing amounts of square footage is squandered to offer the illusion of boutique exclusivity...image over substance. They now try to sell an image rather than what those old smaller shops offered, knowledge, quality and personal service. The stores not only are monuments to wasted space but typically located in areas with the highest cost per sq. ft. in a location. Far as I am concerned it is adapt or die, the same thing they did to where the real personal service and quality once existed, the good ol' Mom-n-Pop Book Shoppe...screw B&N, Waldens, or whoever if they can't adjust the factors now driving them into the pavement under the jack-booted-demand of the shareholder. Welcome to the club of failing to adapt.

Basically I am using the absurd extension to illustrate what is happening today is the same thing they began dishing out some 20-30yrs ago, here in the US anyway. Nothing will change until business, well those with stockholders anyway, get past the current pyramid scheme of the need for profits to accelerate year-over-year which is pretty much a geometric growth impossible to sustain longer term inherently doomed to collapse under it's own weight. That is the aspect of their model putting on the pressure which is taught in the cookie-cutter "business" schools where they all learn the same model as a one-size-fits-all thing.

I love book shops. I visit them often but mostly for reference materials for business. However I need to point out that the references I buy are for too small of a market to entice book stores, of any size, to stock them. So for 3-4 decades those in the business have spent our thousands per year directly with the publishers who, btw, offer us all a 40% discount off the cover price with a trivial minimum order of about $100. That long predates anything web related. Oh, and when I sold those references at conventions or other field related events I was paying between 30%-40% of cover then offered them for sale to the public at a 20% discount of the cover price...and my overhead for these events has HUGE compared to B&M stores. Often I spent more for a week than stores did for a month. Thing was I offered a FULL inventory as well as bringing my store to the very demographic who would go to a B&M for example to find a dozen titles where I would have pretty much all titles in a given category. It was extremely lucrative for me, in fact, promoters began to bid on my presence at their events as well as promoting me being there in promo materials. Eventually the market dried up so did my small business but I got out when it was time...that is how it works. It was fun but it was over...welcome to my world Big-Box-Booksellers.

Today it is the website sellers who offer everything I once did save the hands-on access. By this time people know the quality and are comfy with spending a few hundred bucks sight unseen. I had many people, who could order direct use my displays to see if they wanted to buy a book direct from the publishers. I told them sure why not I had zero problem with it, I gave them a card to use as a referral where that particular publisher gave me a small referral fee or credit to my account. Lost a sale but still found a way to grab a small piece of the pie. I sure know I would never have tried to charge my customers a fee to look at books...better a store with people in it than one with nobody wandering the isles.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:37 PM   #158
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Perhaps you should take a remedial course in not being rude.
See my .sig.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:38 PM   #159
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Wha...? So if I walk into Chapters (Barnes and Noble of the North) from the mall, scan a few barcodes with my phone, order the books from Amazon, and walk out, I've cost the store money?
At no point have I said that, or remotely suggested it. If you're not going to read what I've posted, or don't (or can't) understand it, there's no point in trying to have a disccusion with you.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:33 PM   #160
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Prior to the advent of the "Big Box" bookstore, when I was a kid, bookstores were about efficiency with books stacked floor to ceiling front to back. Then came the analog of today's big-box stores, only for books. There larger corporate cut-throat priced with the same cut-throat business practices drove small friendly neighborhood shops out of business depriving some of a livelihood that may have been handed down for a generation or two. The big-box bookshops were cold, indifferent and pretty much totally lacking in knowledge about any of the sections in the store. It was buy cheap, play low wages and let the customers either buy what was offered or sod-off.

Seems this has clearly gone full circle. Those same mega-stores are now about to be squashed. In many cases it is because the stores themselves are portraits to waste and excess. Amazing amounts of square footage is squandered to offer the illusion of boutique exclusivity...image over substance. They now try to sell an image rather than what those old smaller shops offered, knowledge, quality and personal service. The stores not only are monuments to wasted space but typically located in areas with the highest cost per sq. ft. in a location. Far as I am concerned it is adapt or die, the same thing they did to where the real personal service and quality once existed, the good ol' Mom-n-Pop Book Shoppe...screw B&N, Waldens, or whoever if they can't adjust the factors now driving them into the pavement under the jack-booted-demand of the shareholder. Welcome to the club of failing to adapt.

Basically I am using the absurd extension to illustrate what is happening today is the same thing they began dishing out some 20-30yrs ago, here in the US anyway. Nothing will change until business, well those with stockholders anyway, get past the current pyramid scheme of the need for profits to accelerate year-over-year which is pretty much a geometric growth impossible to sustain longer term inherently doomed to collapse under it's own weight. That is the aspect of their model putting on the pressure which is taught in the cookie-cutter "business" schools where they all learn the same model as a one-size-fits-all thing.

I love book shops. I visit them often but mostly for reference materials for business. However I need to point out that the references I buy are for too small of a market to entice book stores, of any size, to stock them. So for 3-4 decades those in the business have spent our thousands per year directly with the publishers who, btw, offer us all a 40% discount off the cover price with a trivial minimum order of about $100. That long predates anything web related. Oh, and when I sold those references at conventions or other field related events I was paying between 30%-40% of cover then offered them for sale to the public at a 20% discount of the cover price...and my overhead for these events has HUGE compared to B&M stores. Often I spent more for a week than stores did for a month. Thing was I offered a FULL inventory as well as bringing my store to the very demographic who would go to a B&M for example to find a dozen titles where I would have pretty much all titles in a given category. It was extremely lucrative for me, in fact, promoters began to bid on my presence at their events as well as promoting me being there in promo materials. Eventually the market dried up so did my small business but I got out when it was time...that is how it works. It was fun but it was over...welcome to my world Big-Box-Booksellers.

Today it is the website sellers who offer everything I once did save the hands-on access. By this time people know the quality and are comfy with spending a few hundred bucks sight unseen. I had many people, who could order direct use my displays to see if they wanted to buy a book direct from the publishers. I told them sure why not I had zero problem with it, I gave them a card to use as a referral where that particular publisher gave me a small referral fee or credit to my account. Lost a sale but still found a way to grab a small piece of the pie. I sure know I would never have tried to charge my customers a fee to look at books...better a store with people in it than one with nobody wandering the isles.
I wouldn't blame businesses for giving customers what they want. The old Mom&Pop stores with friendly service died out not because of competition from the big box stores but because customers didn't care about the "added value" those Mom&Pop stores provided. If enough people had kept shopping at the small stores they would have survived, even thrived. The people vote with their feet, then as now.

Now Amazon has reduced costs even further and is driving the big box stores out. What makes them an even more dangerous competitor is that they have managed to combine great service and low prices. I really don't see a future for physical book stores, except for some special market niches.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:27 PM   #161
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Originally Posted by taustin View Post
At no point have I said that, or remotely suggested it. If you're not going to read what I've posted, or don't (or can't) understand it, there's no point in trying to have a disccusion with you.
Uh...you said that all "lookie-looks directly affect the income of the store in all cases." It was pretty clear from the context that you were implying that all browsers affect the store's income negatively.

In any event, I can see this conversation is drawing to a close, but I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed it. You went from reasonable points to (virtual) sputtering, spitting anger. Delicious.


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Old 02-14-2013, 10:37 PM   #162
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Uh...you said that all "lookie-looks directly affect the income of the store in all cases." It was pretty clear from the context that you were implying that all browsers affect the store's income negatively.
No, it's not. Since you are either incapable of understanding what I'm saying, or simply refusing to, goodbye.

(And the picture, BTW, is bordering on namecalling. I'm supposed to complain to the moderators about that sort of thing, or so say the moderators. Fortunately for you, I'm not inclined to act like a third grader in the playgound, running to Teacher when the bully wantsw my lunch money.)

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Old 02-15-2013, 01:01 AM   #163
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I wouldn't blame businesses for giving customers what they want. The old Mom&Pop stores with friendly service died out not because of competition from the big box stores but because customers didn't care about the "added value" those Mom&Pop stores provided. If enough people had kept shopping at the small stores they would have survived, even thrived. The people vote with their feet, then as now.

Now Amazon has reduced costs even further and is driving the big box stores out. What makes them an even more dangerous competitor is that they have managed to combine great service and low prices. I really don't see a future for physical book stores, except for some special market niches.
Amen. It is us the not so loyal customers that danced on the grave of the mom&pops, and are now shuttering those big box stores.

We are getting what we want! Are we satisfied yet?
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:17 AM   #164
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Originally Posted by HansTWN View Post
I wouldn't blame businesses for giving customers what they want. The old Mom&Pop stores with friendly service died out not because of competition from the big box stores but because customers didn't care about the "added value" those Mom&Pop stores provided. If enough people had kept shopping at the small stores they would have survived, even thrived. The people vote with their feet, then as now.
That's the myth, yeah. And there's an element of truth to it, but it's certainly not the entire story. Most of those Mom&Pop stores didn't actually have all that good of service. Those that did are gone in the sense of not being Mom&Pop stores any more, but rather, having grown in to small regional chains[1]. Price is a criteria, yeah, but if you get indifferent service no matter where you go, it's the only one that matters.

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Originally Posted by HansTWN View Post
Now Amazon has reduced costs even further and is driving the big box stores out. What makes them an even more dangerous competitor is that they have managed to combine great service and low prices. I really don't see a future for physical book stores, except for some special market niches.
Amazon has service? Great or otherwise? I've never noticed it. They're a mail order house with more efficient communications, and mail order doesn't provide service that competes with face to face service - so long as they face to face service doesn't suck.

[1]I work for one, and have been with it as it has grown from a small regional chain to a medium sized mult-state regional chain, and what makes us unique is service, service, and service. People will pay a little more for personal service, but only if they actually get personal service. Very few retailers know how to do that any more (or, I suspect, ever really did).
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:34 AM   #165
Shushan
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Okay I hope you don't think this comment is
but I usually 'browse' online - free chapters, reviews, and all that...
I tried to buy locally, in person, whenever I could but...

1) my pin money decreased

2) At least one of my former favorite booksellers kept not having the latest in series I was looking for and then didn't keep faith when I tried to order with them and pick it up (sold it to someone else repeatedly. Tried to claim I wasn't the one who put it on reserve with my name clearly on the paper slip poking out of the top. Sent it back without even bothering to call or email. Wiped out my details in front of me and pretended they lacked the info...) I complained to the chain, but there was no apology or recompense for these incidents. When you buy a book from Amazon, it simply arrives, with no goofiness.

3) Closest bookseller kept claiming that books I knew were still in print...weren't. Wanted me to buy whatever she had in stock, as opposed to books I actually asked about. I bought lovely journals and calendars from her, but could only get the latest titles in the series from her, and they generally had to be special ordered - always slow - always full retail. I was trying to support her Indie store but I just couldn't keep that up.

The other biggest bookseller I can reach has had similar issues, just on a larger scale. They have neat trinkets, and usually something I can use in a pinch (for a birthday or whatever) but don't stay stocked on what I like best. Maybe my taste isn't as mainstream as it used to be, or maybe these are just leftovers until they work up the courage to restock, but either way, I usually come in and am ignored until I determine they don't have even half of what I wanted. Maybe I end up with a small purchase if the lines aren't too long. Then I go home and order what I really wanted, often at a healthy discount. That's not showrooming.

4) The fascinating odd titles they used to pile up on tables at the big brick & mortar stores are just...gone. Odd beautiful tomes on spy codes and clothes from the Middle Ages used to jump right onto my basket. There were books on legends of Native peoples, humor through the ages, homes made from gorgeous caves and controversial works of history or archaeology that tried to solve mysterious ruins or lost civilizations - and didn't sound too goofy :P Who knew? Maybe I'd find the history of all major domestic inventions with old photos and woodcut illustrations or joke books claiming to be Steve Jobs or Bill Gates' Secret Laptop?

These impulse buys were what drew me back for so many years. I never knew what unusual gem I would find next.

Alas, such times are no more.

[Though i I can still get fascinating catalogs from Edward Hamilton
http://www.hamiltonbook.com/books ]

Would I pay a cover charge to browse? No, because I can't afford to eat even further into what little money I can spend on books. And what would I see even if my circumstances dramatically improved? Just more of the same 'big names' and leftovers? What would be the point?

Last edited by Shushan; 02-15-2013 at 02:46 AM.
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