A store charging a $5 “just looking” fee to customers who leave without making purchases became the center of a torrent of criticism after a would-be customer posted a photo of the store’s strongly worded sign online.
The Australian store came to the internet’s attention last week when a user on Reddit posted a picture of a sign informing customers that they are no longer welcome to browse around and check out prices without buying anything.
Apparently the store had a problem with people using the specialty food store as a reference for prices and then making the purchases online instead. Hence, the $5 “just looking” fee.
The store informed customers of the new policy with a sign:
“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.
The $5 “just looking” fee was widely criticized. The original post on Reddit was filled with scorn for the store and what seemed to be a foolish idea.
“This store seems desperate to go out of business,” wrote one Reddit user in the most popular comment.
Chris Morran, a writer at The Consumerist, said that if customers aren’t buying it reflects something wrong with the store.
“If this store’s prices are truly the best, then maybe it should be offering a price-match guarantee,” he wrote. “If it truly offers products that aren’t available elsewhere, then how are these showrooming shoppers buying these items from someone else?”
Some people just approached the $5 “just looking” fee with a bit of humor, like the Reddit user who said this about the sign: “I don’t have my glasses. Does it say ‘Going Out of Business Sale’?”