How to lose customers

The first e-reader Gail had was a Barnes and Noble Nook, gift of her son Ross.  In time, she graduated to reading almost exclusively on her iPhone, and gave the Nook away.

Today, we got an email telling us that as a result of some class action suit, we had a $35 credit with Barnes and Noble that was expiring.  Gail had no use for it because she gets all her books from Amazon, so she gave it to me.

There is a photo book I have been wanting, but not enough to spend $55 for it.  On the BN.com website, I found it for $40, and they said I could get it at the local store.  So off I trundled to downtown Walnut Creek, parked in the 15 minute zone in front of Apple, and went in to find my treasure.  The helpful ladies in the store pointed me to the appropriate shelf, and I virtually skipped to the checkout line.

And then they rang the book up for $55.

You can get the book for the website price, but not in the store.  Even though the website urges you to visit the store to get the book.  Even though Barnes and Noble are in desperate straits, and need all the customers they can get.

Their ploy didn’t work, of course.  I came straight home and ordered the book online, at the lower price, with free shipping.  I’ll have it in 2 or 3 days.

I can’t begin to imagine why Barnes and Noble would want to alienate someone they actually managed to inveigle to their brick and mortar store. Just being in a real bookstore was a nice change.  I love the way it smells, the way it looks, the endless choices of ways to learn, grow, or simply escape.  Too bad I won’t be going back.

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2 thoughts on “How to lose customers

  1. What do you expect? The brick and mortar store has lots more expenses than ordering through the on-line ”store.” They should charge more. They NEED to charge more. Part of the ”product” you’re getting by going into the real store, is the atmosphere you spoke so lovingly of in the last paragraph of your write-up. Well, that atmosphere costs more to produce for the customer than does the non-existant, non-real atmosphere of ordering on-line.

    Sooner or later, you won’t be able to find a real book store. Then you’ll wonder why not…and maybe think of the Joni Mitchell song…you know, the one with the line “they took all the book stores, and put ’em in the book store museum, and charged the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em.”

    • What do I expect? I expect that when the website says the price is $40 and I can get it at the real store, they won’t try to hold me up for another fifteen clams like I’m too stupid to remember what I saw 30 minutes earlier.

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