What is the Value of Brick & Mortar???

Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by Volpone, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. Volpone

    Volpone Zombie Hunter

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    Counting the days until I can replace the Blackjack. The phone I want is free--if I buy it on the Web. If I drive down to the corner store I'll pay $20. Oddly enough, I think it is worth $20, and having to drive somewhere during store hours to be able to talk to a person and walk out with the phone.

    What are your thoughts and why? Maybe I should include a poll, but I can't be arsed to right now. That said, I would think a pedophile like 14th Doctor would prefer to buy from a store but maybe having to take a bus to get there would mean he'd buy online.
  2. enlisted person

    enlisted person Black Swan

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    Bricks are getting expensive as there are less places that make them, and masons are getting $500 per thousand bricks layed. Thats 50cents a brick to lay them. Not bad money. A good mason can lay a brick in less than 10 seconds.
  3. Amaris

    Amaris Guest

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    I like brick and mortar stores, and I like buying online. Brick and mortar stores are great for instantly available customer service. Of course, getting that customer service may or may not actually happen. Online, I can buy expensive items for cheap. When I was looking at HDMI cables the other day, I was thinking about that very thing. Here, at Walmart, is a 6' HDMI cable for $25. I can go to Amazon.com, and buy the same 6' HDMI cable for 11 cents, and pay $2 shipping.

    However, I like to buy books, and so for me it's much more rewarding to actually go to a bookstore and browse. Granted, I can buy a book online much cheaper, but there's just something about the experience that I do not wish to replace. Sadly, it is difficult to find a bookstore around here, since they've all closed down, consequently enough, because of retailers like Barnes & Noble Online and Amazon.com. The nearest book retailer (aside from our Walmart, which sells mainly Bibles, magazines and Twilight books), is a Barnes & Noble approx. 20 miles away, and located in the heart of a traffic clusterfuck of a shopping mall.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. Jamey Whistler

    Jamey Whistler Éminence grise

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    This.

    Brick and Mortar businesses have a golden opportunity which they're probably going to piss away because they've grown almost wholly unconcerned with the quality of their customer service.

    Getting your goods online can be great, and you can save a bundle. Problems arise when;

    1) You need - or want - to ask questions about the item which you're interested in buying. Often you have to rely on customer ratings and reviews, or the canned spin spit out by the company which made the item. Nothing replaces being able to talk to someone face-to-face;

    2) You need to make a return. Vague instructions, long phone queues, customer service representatives who speak unintelligibly or who have a shaky grasp of English, the risks and expense of returning via USPS/UPS/FedEx are all liabilities. Some sites have great return systems, some have (what seem to be deliberately) difficult processes.

    That's two among many.

    B&M could rebound/make a killing if they took the time to train their employees, and then hold them accountable for their behaviors. There are few businesses which actually take that seriously, with most tolerating disinterested, sullen service delivered by their staffs.

    Some changes to human resources models, starting with upper-middle management on down would be one of the most effective things that B&M could do, and in doing so, they'd win market share back from their internet competitors.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  5. frontline

    frontline Hedonistic Glutton Staff Member Moderator

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    To add the the other two, that is why I hardly go to B&M any more. I find more knowledge about a product online than in the store. In fact about the only reason I go B&M any more (at least for electronics) is to see the physical object before I buy it online.
  6. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    When it comes to buying sheet music, having a brick and mortar location is almost mandatory, because there can be a good number of versions of the same piece. Unless you know specifically which edition/arranger/transcriber of a piece, you have to look at the music itself to get the right edition.

    For example, take Paul Dukas' Sorceror's Apprentice. Orchestrally, there are several versions, but getting the 'right' one is fairly simple: Don't ever buy one that's been arranged. If getting the Sorceror's Apprentince for a wind band, then problems can arise, as I'd be looking for a faithful transcription (no notes left out). The problems run from not knowing the various arrangers, resulting in 'Mickey Mouse' versions, where the piece has been simplified, abridged, or the key has been changed.

    Sadly, the sheet music store here in Portland closed down, due to 'Internet sales'. None of the musicians I've talked to thinks that was really the case.
  7. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne 1/06 Was An Inside Job Formerly Important

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    Ya know, I never really did appreciate the ability to be able to walk into a store and buy something off the rack as much as I have in the last eight months. I used to be able to drive about to ten or fifteen stores to try on clothes and see what I may like. Now, my only options are to shop online and hope it fits, shift through the Yokosuka NEX's sorry excuse for clothing--all of which being name-brand, and expensive, even with the mil discount--or pony up 30 bucks and five hours round trip to Yokota and shop there, since being 5'6, " a size nine shoe and...well over what the military says my max weight should be ( ;) ), I no longer have the luxury of shopping off base.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 high speed, low drag

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    Sonafabitch I HATE when that happens!
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  9. TheBrew

    TheBrew The Hand of Smod

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    I pretty much only buy something online if I have physically seen the item in question. If I am getting a new phone, I want to mess with it first. Clothes I almost always buy in store (except the random T-Shirt) because I have to try things on to see how they fit and if a store has something that I want for a reasonable price, why wouldn't I buy it there?

    Also, I will pay a premium for customer service and instant-gratification. Jamey is right, B&M need to start placing their customer service as a premium as it can bring me in to a store or make me avoid it. There are no CS reps that can annoy me when I shop at Amazon, so you had better make the B&M shopping experience better than just clicking away. People will pay 10% more for quality CS.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  10. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    To me, browsing thru a bookstore is a stress-reducing exercise in calm pleasure. While I can and do buy books from Amazon, I still love going to the brick and mortar store and just wandering. Never had a problem with staff at one, either . . . Borders, Barnes & Noble, Walden, whatever.

    What bookstores do do that drives me nuts, tho . . .

    Random reorganization of the store. I know some marketing idiot thinks that if you put slow sellers next to hot items, the slow ones will pick up. But just when I know where everything is in a bookstore and can go right to the section I want, they rearrange the whole place. ARGH!!

    And this new practice that's popped up in the last five or so years, where they shrink-wrap the books? WTF?!? If I can't thumb thru it in the store, I ain't buying it. Loss of sale, right there.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. Mr. Plow

    Mr. Plow Fuck Y'all

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    What is the store, the local branch of your service provider (Sprint Store, Verizon Store)? If so, fuck 'em. I made the mistake of going to my local Sprint Store when I upgraded my old phone to a smartphone. Never again.
  12. Volpone

    Volpone Zombie Hunter

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    It's the local TMobile. :shrug: What can I say? I like driving up, hearing the bell ding when you open the door, walking around the showroom, picking up phones and comparing them to each other and my existing phone. I like swiping the credit card, watching the receipt print out and signing it. I like them porting my old sim card over to the new phone and I like walking out of the store carrying a plastic bag with the new phone in it. To me that's worth $20. Hell, $20 won't even get you a beer and a lapdance at anyplace decent.
  13. Uncle Albert

    Uncle Albert Dare to be Stupid

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    Brick and mortar is useful to me when I want to speak to an actual person who happens to be an expert in some particular subject relevant to the purchase I'm trying to make and said store has what I want in stock. Now imagine how often those three factors coincide, and you've got a pretty clear idea of how much I care to shop in a physical store for anything but food.
  14. Mr. Plow

    Mr. Plow Fuck Y'all

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    Try Radio Shack if you like physical stores. They can give you much better deals than your providers can. Mrs. Plow got a Blackberry for her b-day last year for free (with a contract) that would have cost $150 at the Sprint Store (also w/ contract).
  15. Uncle Albert

    Uncle Albert Dare to be Stupid

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    Fucking Radio Shack. :jayzus: They must threaten their employees with actual physical harm if they don't pounce on every customer that walks through the door with high-pressure sales "assistance." If I need your help finding a push-button switch and a couple diodes, I'll ask for it, pal.
  16. Mr. Plow

    Mr. Plow Fuck Y'all

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    To save $150 on my next phone? They can hump my leg as I walk down the aisles.
  17. Jenee

    Jenee Ind. Jenee of Winterfell

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    Radio Shack employees know less about electronics than I know about hunting and cleaning a deer.
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  18. skinofevil

    skinofevil Fresh Meat

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    Skin doesn't go to brick-and-mortar stores to talk to people. Most of the people working there know less about the shit Skin walked in there to buy than Skin does. Skin goes to brick-and-mortar stores because although prices online are generally cheaper, Skin just might not feel like waiting for the thing he's after. When you figure the cost of expedited shipping, some things even out anyway. Why pay $15 shipping for "next day" when you can add that $15 to the point-of-sale cost and have your item the same day?
  19. TheBrew

    TheBrew The Hand of Smod

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    :lol: I like that. B&M should advertise as free same day shipping for all of their products in stock.
  20. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    I'll expand on this, going back to the sheet music store example: When the employees know you by face or even better by name, I make it a point to frequent the establishment, if not to buy something, then to actively browse the selection. Because at some point, I will buy something, even if I think that $280 for just the score of that symphony I'm looking for is highway robbery (I shit you not; it cost me $140 just to buy the scores for the 1st and 4th movements of Gliere 3 because there are no study scores or Dover editions available; no I don't regret the purchase, it's a fucking awesome symphony).
    • Agree Agree x 1
  21. Uncle Albert

    Uncle Albert Dare to be Stupid

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    Just ordered two pair of Khakis off of Amazon today. There is a certain kind I like, and I got tired of the only stores I can find them in locally never having my size. Too fucking bad for you, assholes. Pay more attention to your goddamned inventory.

    :finger:
  22. Elwood

    Elwood I know what I'm about, son.

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    Yeah, not a lot of stores carry 62x22's. :nyer:
    • Agree Agree x 6
  23. Jamey Whistler

    Jamey Whistler Éminence grise

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    Two of my friends are Radio Shack managers, one of them for 25 years. They complain constantly about the unreasonable policies that are handed down from their district managers. The company doesn't threaten physical harm, but they regularly threaten their employees with termination for low sales. At one time, my friend Mark's district manager put a policy into effect that all salespeople would be ranked on a monthly basis, and whoever had the lowest sales figure would be terminated, no questions asked. Every month, he followed through.

    Occasionally, that worked out and he got rid of chaff, but there were plenty of times he got rid of good employees.

    Agreed that they're obnoxious, but that is the exactly the way the policy makers at Radio Shack want it. (It took them decades to figure out that it was bad policy to insist on asking for names and addresses - and they disciplined employees whose N&A percentage fell below 95 percent)

    You don't know what the hell you're talking about.
  24. Uncle Albert

    Uncle Albert Dare to be Stupid

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    It wasn't like that back when I worked for Radio Shack. Granted, this was in 94-95, and it was actually just a corner in a pharmacy in a small Nebraska town, but we helped those who wanted help, and left everyone else the fuck alone. Mostly cleaned VCR heads and soldered leads onto cordless phone batteries, honestly. :shrug:
    • Agree Agree x 1
  25. Chuck

    Chuck Go Giants!

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    I worked for Radio Shack for a few months in 1990 and 1991. The District Manager did the same kind of crap. He drew a "red line" on the sales rankings every month. If a person fell below the line two months in a row, he/she was gone.
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  26. Jamey Whistler

    Jamey Whistler Éminence grise

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    That was a franchise store, I imagine? The company stores are stuck with the draconian policy shit, the franchise holders weren't bound to do anything but carry the "force feed".
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  27. Volpone

    Volpone Zombie Hunter

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    Radio Shack is kind of an interesting animal. Because it has changed markedly even from when UA worked there. Years and years ago it was quite literally a radio shack. There was some crappy consumer stuff in the front and in the back were bins and bins of electronic components.

    Nowdays the front is cell phones, the back is crappy consumer stuff, and there is, like, one drawer of electronic components.

    That said, I read an article a year or two about an old-school Radio Shack--somewhere in California, IIRC. They'd been a franchise holder since forever so they pretty much carried electronics parts and did the bare minimum to maintain their franchise rights.
  28. Scott Hamilton Robert E Ron Paul Lee

    Scott Hamilton Robert E Ron Paul Lee Straight Awesome

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    Auto Zone tried to use the name "Auto Shack."

    Radio Shack sure is glad they made their point now. :\
  29. Muad Dib

    Muad Dib Probably a Dual Deceased Member

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    I buy a few things online: my 5.11 and Tru-Spec pants, supplies for my electronic cigarette, etc.

    For most things, I kind of prefer to look at the item and hold it in my hand before I buy it, try it on. I'm kind of old-fashioned that way.
  30. Muad Dib

    Muad Dib Probably a Dual Deceased Member

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    :unsure: