Store Decides To Charge $5 For Browsing

I have always thought that health-nuts veered toward the latter syllable of that phrase and far away from the former.

When an obsession becomes creepy — and, often, pungent — one’s sympathy for it wanes like one’s affection for a morning banana.

One place of moral and digestional virtue has, perhaps, superseded the usual boundaries of HealthNuttia.

For a gluten-free grocery store in Brisbane, Australia is charging browsers.

No, not those things you use to search online for things you don’t need, gluten-free or not. I am talking about people who wander into the store with a minimum of fascination.

A sign on the store’s door reads: “As of the first of February, this store will be charging people a $5 fee per person for ‘just looking’.”

There might be some psychiatric professionals in Australia who would like to charge the owners of this store $500 for “just being.”

However, Celiac Supplies is deadly, glutenfully serious.

The sign explains that there have been far too many people wafting onto the premises in order to use it “as a reference and then purchase goods elsewhere.”

Here is where obsession meets confusion and I must command my chaise-longue.

For the store’s owners say their prices are mostly the same as those of other stores. They also remind people that many of its products aren’t available elsewhere.


How is it, then, that people buy the same products elsewhere? Are inhabitants of Brisbane, Australia so insane that they come into Celiac Supplies, browse products and then buy things elsewhere that aren’t these products at all?

Or might they admire the merchandise at Celiac Supplies, but so abhor the ambience that they feel compelled to spend more precious time trying to find the very same items at the very same prices anywhere else but Celiac Supplies?

Of course, most people are, these days, guilty of so-called showrooming.

You go into Best Buy, but order from Amazon because, well, it’s easier and no one will bore you with talk about extended warranties.

You go into one of America’s five remaining bookstores, then go home and order on Amazon because it’s cheaper and, well, cheaper.

Yet neither of these stores has ever charged $5 for the privilege of keeping them safe from bankruptcy

Some might sympathize with the Sacro-Celiac stance. I am sure these are the same people who often try on shoes and end their purchase-decision with: “I’ll think about it.”

Or even the very dainty: “I’ll come back.”

But how is this desperate measure being enforced? How many additional employees of imposing stature and unshaven complexion will Celiac Supplies have to find in order to intimidate $5 notes onto its collection plate?

How many times will customers claim they were assaulted and sue the store out of existence?

Oh, wait. This is Australia, not America.

There is, of course, a very interesting psychology being tested here.

If you know, before walking into a store, that you will have to buy something in order to avoid paying the $5 penalty, might that simply enhance the pace of your purchase-juices?

Will it make you focus more forcefully on those products that cost, say, $4.99 or less?

Or will it make you think that the owners of Celiac Supplies have allowed their gluten-free emotions to exceed their whole wheat senses?

Might you be tempted to wander in and offer them a year’s supply of Wonder Bread?

Yes, for a mere $5.









Image: BarretFox/Reddit