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(Montreal Gazette)   Oh, you're serious. Let me laugh harder   (blogs.montrealgazette.com) divider line 73
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7510 clicks; posted to Business » on 04 Feb 2013 at 8:07 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-04 07:36:51 AM
I see you're still an idiot, subby.
 
2013-02-04 07:39:03 AM
FTFA and read in an Andy Rooney voice.

I  get so bogged down with specs, checking what each one means, and find it difficult to know the most important things to consider when making a purchase. (Of course asking a store "expert" also has its drawbacks because he/she could be pushing one product over another for personal interests or those of the store).
 
2013-02-04 08:14:19 AM
There is an electronics shop about 5 minutes walk from my home. That is where I buy my big ticket items, basically anything over $500.

The relatively high amount of competition means prices don't vary much from shop to shop, so there's no real incentive to go very far to buy something, and online means a hassle when I have to return something for servicing.

Also, being close by means that it's not a huge time investment to be a thorn in their side when I need service and don't feel I'm getting it.

Small things like books and toys I will buy online, but anything substantial I'll always go to the bricks and mortar shop.
 
2013-02-04 08:16:53 AM
No, they are not. Learn to Google, you dumb fark.
 
2013-02-04 08:19:15 AM
Who uses a travel agent any more? Talk about a dying industry.
 
2013-02-04 08:31:16 AM
I like this goofy idea of "training" retail employees.

I did a five year stint in retail in three stores.

Your training consists of, "Fill out your W-4, our tv is broken so just sign these forms saying you watched the sexual harassment video, and here's your name tag. Did you punch in? Good, then out on to the floor you go."
 
2013-02-04 08:33:24 AM

AverageAmericanGuy: There is an electronics shop about 5 minutes walk from my home. That is where I buy my big ticket items, basically anything over $500.

The relatively high amount of competition means prices don't vary much from shop to shop, so there's no real incentive to go very far to buy something, and online means a hassle when I have to return something for servicing.

Also, being close by means that it's not a huge time investment to be a thorn in their side when I need service and don't feel I'm getting it.

Small things like books and toys I will buy online, but anything substantial I'll always go to the bricks and mortar shop.


It's slightly different in the UK because you get more legal rights when you buy online, so any big ticket items I'll buy online.  Buy a TV online and you have seven days to return it for a full refund, for any reason, or even no reason at all. Manufacturers who allowed a certain number of stuck pixels for example were a great reason to buy online. Buy a TV from a B+M store and you'd be stuck with it.
 
2013-02-04 08:36:24 AM

MusicMakeMyHeadPound: I like this goofy idea of "training" retail employees.

I did a five year stint in retail in three stores.

Your training consists of, "Fill out your W-4, our tv is broken so just sign these forms saying you watched the sexual harassment video, and here's your name tag. Did you punch in? Good, then out on to the floor you go."


I think you'll find they do spend a lot of time and money training store staff. How to sell the extended warranties for example. And Monster Cable do a lot of training on how to con upsell customers to their worthless $100 HDMI cables.
 
2013-02-04 08:52:58 AM

Flint Ironstag: Buy a TV from a B+M store and you'd be stuck with it.


Well, there's your problem.  I'd expect anything I purchase from a BM store to be sh*t.
 
2013-02-04 08:56:57 AM

Flint Ironstag: MusicMakeMyHeadPound: I like this goofy idea of "training" retail employees.

I did a five year stint in retail in three stores.

Your training consists of, "Fill out your W-4, our tv is broken so just sign these forms saying you watched the sexual harassment video, and here's your name tag. Did you punch in? Good, then out on to the floor you go."

I think you'll find they do spend a lot of time and money training store staff. How to sell the extended warranties for example. And Monster Cable do a lot of training on how to con upsell customers to their worthless $100 HDMI cables.


That comes day number four where they threaten to fire you for non-complance.

At KB Toys it was, "You aren't selling enough batteries. Company policy is you have to ask about batteries with every purchase, even if that purchase is just batteries."

The others had their own versions of Monster Cables
 
2013-02-04 09:04:45 AM
You know, I actually like shopping at Brick and Mortar stores. I like to be able to touch things before I buy them.
 
2013-02-04 09:07:07 AM

RexTalionis: You know, I actually like shopping at Brick and Mortar stores. I like to be able to touch things before I buy them.


I'm insisting on nothing less for my liver transplant.  But I'm having issues finding a donor.
 
2013-02-04 09:16:47 AM

MusicMakeMyHeadPound: At KB Toys it was, "You aren't selling enough batteries. Company policy is you have to ask about batteries with every purchase, even if that purchase is just batteries."


That's just bizarre. And it's also why I'm glad I don't work in retail/deal with the public.
 
2013-02-04 09:17:48 AM
Some stuff I buy online, because finding it in a physical store is way too time consuming, but I'll never buy shoes or jackets online again. electronics? If it is a common item, local; if it is rare, online.
 
2013-02-04 09:17:51 AM

RexTalionis: You know, I actually like shopping at Brick and Mortar stores. I like to be able to touch things before I buy them.


As do I.  However what I do is go to a brick and mortar to check out the things I want, then order them online.  I saved £250 for my TV that way.

Seriously, for the same price I paid for the 46" model online, I could have only bought the 38" model in store.
 
2013-02-04 09:22:08 AM
Has anyone mentioned buggy whips yet?
 
2013-02-04 09:27:28 AM
Is brick and mortar on the verge of a comeback?

Probably just for movie rentals.
 
2013-02-04 09:38:50 AM
Some things you just can't get at "Brick & Mortar" stores nearby.

I recently purchased a new control box for a broken TV. Not an entire TV, just the parts that needed replacing. I could walk into any brick & mortar store around here and ask for the part and they'd tell me.. to look online.

/Their customer service was fantastic. Saved me 30 bucks.
//Didn't ask if I needed an HDMI cable or batteries or to preorder a game that doesnt come out for a year!
 
2013-02-04 09:38:52 AM

Lost Thought 00: No, they are not. Learn to Google, you dumb fark.


The person is probably still stuck figuring out HotBot.
 
2013-02-04 09:49:24 AM
I prefer purchasing items in an actual store. I have a good book store and a good record store very close to my house so I that's where I buy books and music/movies. Buying clothes online is a complete disaster. I end up having to send half the stuff back because it doesn't fit right or I didn't get what I thought I was buying because the photo/description online was worthless.

I've discovered that buying online is not always cheaper when shipping and handling is added. If a company is offering "free shipping", you're paying for it in higher listed price.
 
2013-02-04 09:49:34 AM
I think it's so nice that these stores are willing to act as showrooms for Amazon or Newegg.

I used to work in retail. I know the kind of people who shop retail. Most of them will be dead in twenty or thirty years. The rest, well... there's no real cure for stupidity.
 
2013-02-04 09:52:36 AM
The idea of a brick and mortar shop won't be so bad once the state and federal governments iron out that sales tax issue.  If they do that, then there's a lot of products that are actually cheaper to buy locally than going online and having to pay for shipping+tax.

There are other exceptions, too.  I recently bought a Nexus 7 cheaper at a brick and mortar shop than I would have gotten it through Google Play.  Google was going to charge 7% sales tax, but MicroCenter near me is in an area deemed 'economically depressed', so the sales tax is only 3.5%.
 
2013-02-04 09:59:06 AM

Driedsponge: The idea of a brick and mortar shop won't be so bad once the state and federal governments iron out that sales tax issue.  If they do that, then there's a lot of products that are actually cheaper to buy locally than going online and having to pay for shipping+tax.

There are other exceptions, too.  I recently bought a Nexus 7 cheaper at a brick and mortar shop than I would have gotten it through Google Play.  Google was going to charge 7% sales tax, but MicroCenter near me is in an area deemed 'economically depressed', so the sales tax is only 3.5%.


Before I realized Microcenter was such an awesome deal (It's on the other side of town for me, a solid 30-40 minute drive depending on traffic) I swore my allegience to NewEgg.  But Microcenter's pricing is either same-as or better than NewEgg's, and I can pick it up same day if it is an emergency.  Their intel processor pricing is insane.
 
2013-02-04 10:00:28 AM
I dunno, Mrs. sobernutz and I like to do our sex toy shopping online. Something about the glare from the creepy dude behind the counter kills the mood. It's as if he knows where the dildo will be going into.
 
2013-02-04 10:04:31 AM
Walk into any electronics store, and what will you see? People on their smart phones, looking up and ordering products while browsing them in the store. I'm surprised retail stores haven't banned them, yet. (This is rhetorical.)
 
2013-02-04 10:10:29 AM

Driedsponge: The idea of a brick and mortar shop won't be so bad once the state and federal governments iron out that sales tax issue.  If they do that, then there's a lot of products that are actually cheaper to buy locally than going online and having to pay for shipping+tax.

There are other exceptions, too.  I recently bought a Nexus 7 cheaper at a brick and mortar shop than I would have gotten it through Google Play.  Google was going to charge 7% sales tax, but MicroCenter near me is in an area deemed 'economically depressed', so the sales tax is only 3.5%.


The nearest MicroCenter to me is 20 miles away, but has every tech gadget I need. I only buy from the Internet when I am looking for a rare item. However, I live in a state where they assume you do most of your purcashing on the Internet and has a line item tax on your state tax form so you can't get around state sales tax in any case.
 
2013-02-04 10:12:39 AM

James F. Campbell: Walk into any electronics store, and what will you see? People on their smart phones, looking up and ordering products while browsing them in the store. I'm surprised retail stores haven't banned them, yet. (This is rhetorical.)


I use Amazon and other online stores to get B&Ms to price match. I'll show the salesperson my phone, ready to place an order, but I'd rather buy it from them if they'll beat the price. Works most every time.
 
2013-02-04 10:16:19 AM
I can't ever seem to find an HDMI cable for under $25 in a brick and mortar store.  I generally go online for cables and computer parts, but that's pretty much it.  It's easy to end up with something you didn't expect when you buy online.
 
2013-02-04 10:16:47 AM

sobernutz: I dunno, Mrs. sobernutz and I like to do our sex toy shopping online. Something about the glare from the creepy dude behind the counter kills the mood. It's as if he knows where the dildo will be going into.


He knows. Oh yes. He knows.
 
2013-02-04 10:17:39 AM
Amazon collects sales tax in Pennsylvania, but it's still more convenient to shop for most things from my couch than to go somewhere.
 
2013-02-04 10:20:01 AM
The author of the article rambles aimlessly all over the place.  Useless.

Actual stores that exist in the real world will never go away - if they provide a useful service.  BestBuy and their ilk provide nothing that the internet can't do better, but a good sales staff that can HELP you is a very useful thing.
 
2013-02-04 10:24:58 AM
I would say that it depends on the store.  You really shouldn't go through an entire car buying process online.  You really shouldn't get eggs delivered to you via FedEx.

Most telling example of the fate of brick and mortar stores is Gamestop.  Last month they had a massive lay off and are seeking to close well over 80 stores (the person who told me this is a former coworker of mine when I used to work in the corporate office.  She left one Friday after the massive corporate lay off where several directors and executives and a VP or two were shown the door and told to never return, Monday she returned to the office and found over 80 emails of stores that were being closed.  So at least 80 are closing, possibly 300 or more are on the closing list).  When your competitors are services like iTunes and the Xbox store and PSN and Steam, your brick and mortar store is doomed to failure.  Now with Gamestop there are other factors that I learned about while I was there (company politics and piss poor leadership supported by company politics and nepotism, plus changes in the video game industry leading to a future where consoles will be programmed to not play used video games plus no good console has debuted in almost 10 years) that don't effect all retail companies, the simple fact is that eBay, New Egg, Amazon and others have been beating the long time brick and mortar stores and will continue to.  It's very possible that within our lifetimes shopping malls may become a thing of the past.  Stores like Gamestop which sell only media may have only an online existence since it will be cheaper to operate from a corporate office instead of opening thousands of stores to sell the same stuff that Steam sells for digital download.  The only advantage places like Target and Walmart have right now is their ability to allow the customer to have what they want now instead of the customer paying now and waiting for the product to arrive.
 
2013-02-04 10:31:28 AM

Pants full of macaroni!!: Has anyone mentioned buggy whips yet?


My whips have all been thoroughly debugged. Where do you get yours?
 
2013-02-04 10:35:46 AM

Great Janitor: I would say that it depends on the store.  You really shouldn't go through an entire car buying process online.  You really shouldn't get eggs delivered to you via FedEx.

Most telling example of the fate of brick and mortar stores is Gamestop.  Last month they had a massive lay off and are seeking to close well over 80 stores (the person who told me this is a former coworker of mine when I used to work in the corporate office.  She left one Friday after the massive corporate lay off where several directors and executives and a VP or two were shown the door and told to never return, Monday she returned to the office and found over 80 emails of stores that were being closed.  So at least 80 are closing, possibly 300 or more are on the closing list).  When your competitors are services like iTunes and the Xbox store and PSN and Steam, your brick and mortar store is doomed to failure.  Now with Gamestop there are other factors that I learned about while I was there (company politics and piss poor leadership supported by company politics and nepotism, plus changes in the video game industry leading to a future where consoles will be programmed to not play used video games plus no good console has debuted in almost 10 years) that don't effect all retail companies, the simple fact is that eBay, New Egg, Amazon and others have been beating the long time brick and mortar stores and will continue to.  It's very possible that within our lifetimes shopping malls may become a thing of the past.  Stores like Gamestop which sell only media may have only an online existence since it will be cheaper to operate from a corporate office instead of opening thousands of stores to sell the same stuff that Steam sells for digital download.  The only advantage places like Target and Walmart have right now is their ability to allow the customer to have what they want now instead of the customer paying now and waiting for the product to arrive.


True, but online does not have the same feel of walking inside a game store and looking through all the old games. My four year old son loves walking into a gamestop to look at the games. He knows he has a good chance of walking out with a cheap copy of Lego anything.
 
2013-02-04 10:36:21 AM

Great Janitor: Most telling example of the fate of brick and mortar stores is Gamestop.


And good riddance. The only bad thing about Gamestop slowly heading toward bankruptcy is that we can't feed all of their CEOs to sharks.
 
2013-02-04 10:48:14 AM
I would never buy shoes or clothing online.  (some exceptions for work cloths because it's industry specific)
 
2013-02-04 10:58:37 AM
I like B&Ms for the big ticket stuff. I do all the research online and find a local store to see it in person and pick it up. I even use Best Buy for stuff like Blu-rays (I average one almost every week) or games, but I always go through Store Pickup. Their in-store prices are usually pretty ridiculous, but prices on their site (almost) always match Amazon's. Using Store Pickup, you get the online price, plus you bypass the upselling and intrusive salesmen who have no idea what they're talking about. It's actually pretty nice.
 
2013-02-04 10:59:44 AM
Amazon doesn't want bricks and mortar retailers to go away entirely.  If that happened, Amazon would need to open their own expensive showrooms.
 
2013-02-04 11:04:11 AM
Brick and mortar could make a comeback, but competing with online is a tough business: you've got to do the things that online can't. The uber-upscale places can do it on service, and the deep-discount places can do it on price, but there's a lot of room in the middle where I'm not sure how a brick-and-mortar store would manage.

sobernutz: Most telling example of the fate of brick and mortar stores is Gamestop. Last month they had a massive lay off and are seeking to close well over 80 stores (the person who told me this is a former coworker of mine when I used to work in the corporate office.


Tell me about it. For seven years, I lived right near that rarest of rarities: a good Gamestop. They closed last week.
 
2013-02-04 11:06:16 AM
Sure they are.  Just as soon as the big stores figure out that all they need are small showroom that are little more than fitting rooms they'll be fine.  You go in, make sure it fits and then use their computers to fill your shopping cart on the website.  You go home and buy it there.  Safe, secure and no hassles.

Of course that means accepting that online sales are the future so that'll never happen for another 15-20 years
 
2013-02-04 11:09:14 AM

secularsage: Who uses a travel agent any more? Talk about a dying industry.


The good ones have changed.  For example I've used semi-package tours with agencies for my last couple of trips.  They arrange all the hotels and travel between cities and find some activities.  But it isn't all encompassing like group outings, meals, etc.

To me it was just a lot easier than trying to book 8 different hotels and find all the bus schedules and get tickets to events.

But yeah for anything normal it is just the websites for me.  I'm surprised more companies don't have a booking department that will do it for you -- there's a lot of wasted hours getting that stuff sorted out.  But by a typical company's logic they are wasting $40k on an employee to do a job vs every individual doing it in their spare time.
 
2013-02-04 11:09:39 AM
How long until Amazon purchases FedEx or one of the other delivery companies? Seems like that is the only potential kink in their chain, if for whatever reason those companies refused to play ball with Amazon
 
2013-02-04 11:11:49 AM

sobernutz: He knows he has a good chance of walking out with a cheap copy of Lego anything.


You're going to find the Steam Sale model become the new equivalent of that. Your online service will do flash sales and membership sales on the previous round of top titles. If you give them $20 for a $60 game instead of amazon $40 for a used copy, they're realizing that it's not a loss of $40, it's $20 they didn't have before.

I think the PlaystationPlus membership is really hitting that aspect well. It's what, less than $5 a month? You can't finish the amount of content they release, and if you do want to buy games or DLC, the discounts are meaningful. Yes you need to keep up the service to play the free games, but, again... less than a fiver. It suits the high-energy, low-replay nature of modern gaming very well.
 
2013-02-04 11:12:42 AM

Xythero: I can't ever seem to find an HDMI cable for under $25 in a brick and mortar store.  I generally go online for cables and computer parts, but that's pretty much it.  It's easy to end up with something you didn't expect when you buy online.


Dollar stores have HDMI cables now.

/monoprice is still better
 
2013-02-04 11:14:16 AM

Great Janitor: I would say that it depends on the store.  You really shouldn't go through an entire car buying process online.  You really shouldn't get eggs delivered to you via FedEx.

Most telling example of the fate of brick and mortar stores is Gamestop.  Last month they had a massive lay off and are seeking to close well over 80 stores (the person who told me this is a former coworker of mine when I used to work in the corporate office.  She left one Friday after the massive corporate lay off where several directors and executives and a VP or two were shown the door and told to never return, Monday she returned to the office and found over 80 emails of stores that were being closed.  So at least 80 are closing, possibly 300 or more are on the closing list).  When your competitors are services like iTunes and the Xbox store and PSN and Steam, your brick and mortar store is doomed to failure.  Now with Gamestop there are other factors that I learned about while I was there (company politics and piss poor leadership supported by company politics and nepotism, plus changes in the video game industry leading to a future where consoles will be programmed to not play used video games plus no good console has debuted in almost 10 years) that don't effect all retail companies, the simple fact is that eBay, New Egg, Amazon and others have been beating the long time brick and mortar stores and will continue to.  It's very possible that within our lifetimes shopping malls may become a thing of the past.  Stores like Gamestop which sell only media may have only an online existence since it will be cheaper to operate from a corporate office instead of opening thousands of stores to sell the same stuff that Steam sells for digital download.  The only advantage places like Target and Walmart have right now is their ability to allow the customer to have what they want now instead of the customer paying now and waiting for the product to arrive.


It's their own goddamn fault for having nearly 5000 stores, probably well over half of which have another store(s) less than a mile away.  They should have closed way more stores than they did when they took over EB.  This has been a long time coming.
 
2013-02-04 11:14:26 AM
Call me old-fashioned but I LIKE going out and doing my shopping in the real world.
No wonder you young punks weigh 450 lbs by the time you're thirty! You never leave your g'damn chairs!
 
2013-02-04 11:17:50 AM

secularsage: Who uses a travel agent any more? Talk about a dying industry.


I always do. Costs the same, with added benefits:

- They give bonus CC rewards points
- They watch for price drops and re-adjust automatically
- If something goes wrong, they rebook me or get my money back
- I tend to get free stuff (ex: free bottle of wine in room when booking a cruise, free onboard credit)
- I can fire off a 2-line e-mail from my phone and book whatever I need in 30s.

So why wouldn't I want to do this?
 
kab
2013-02-04 11:20:08 AM
The average consumer seems to love the idea of shopping online for items rather than going to stores, yet at the same time really dislikes the idea of high unemployment numbers.   Acting in their own long-term best interest isn't a strong point for them I suppose.
 
2013-02-04 11:25:42 AM
Our refrigerator died suddenly late last week. We went straight to one of the local B&M stores that had a very wide selection of refrigerators, then spent the next two hours driving the saleswoman nuts with questions, asking for a tape measure to get dimensions, and discussing whether this part or that part could be detached for cleaning. My wife even asked if we could get extra adjustible shelves for various models at the store.

Once we made a selection, the manager (as usual) pushed the extended warranty for the appliance. I told him the only way I'd take it is if he sold it for $50 (it was for 3 years). He agreed to knock $100 off the cost of the appliance (over the 5% already discounted) so the warranty would only cost $50. Delivery was Sunday morning, no troubles at all.

Can't do any of that over an online connection.
 
2013-02-04 11:55:11 AM

John Buck 41: MusicMakeMyHeadPound: At KB Toys it was, "You aren't selling enough batteries. Company policy is you have to ask about batteries with every purchase, even if that purchase is just batteries."

That's just bizarre. And it's also why I'm glad I don't work in retail/deal with the public.


Can't say I miss it.

Between the ridiculously low pay, the endless parade of freaks and criminals, and being a tool for some desk jockey you'll never meet, it was a crappy means to an end.

Part of me regrets sticking with it as long as I did. The other part realizes that no matter how crazy the IT world can get, at least it's better than retail - so maybe it did me some good and built character.

So I'm 50/50 on the impending death of brick and mortars.
 
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