Australian Shop Charges Visitors $5 Just for Looking

Tired of having people walk into her gluten free produce store looking around and asking questions only to leave empty-handed and buy similar products somewhere else, a business owner from Brisbane, Australia, put up a sign announcing would-be shoppers they will be charged a $5 fee for “just looking”.

A photo of the notice in the window of Celiac Supplies went viral on popular social news site Reddit, this week. A lot of people thought it was a joke, but reporters from the Australian Associated Press tracked down the owner of “Brisbane’s only glutenfree and wheatfree store” who confirmed the measure was for real. Apparently Georgina felt forced to take radical action after spending several hours each week giving advice to people only to see them walk out empty handed and buying the same kind of products from local supermarkets or online shops. “I’ve had a gut full of working and not getting paid,” she told AAP. “I’m not here to dispense a charity service for Coles and Woolworths to make more money.” Her frustration is also fueled by the fact that in most cases her prices match those of larger supermarkets, but people still prefer to shop elsewhere thinking they’d find them cheaper. As you can imagine, her $5 “just looking” tax has turned some potential customers away, but Georgina says a few have actually paid up.


“I can tell straight away who are the rat bags who are going to come in here and pick my brain and disappear,” Georgina says. The only upside to this showrooming-prevention fee is that people who actually buy something are refunded the initial $5. Still, experts believe this kind of approach will likely turn potential customers away and affect earnings. Although product-browsing fees haven’t yet been reported in the United States, Celiac Supplies’ owner says the measure is “in line with other [Australian] clothing, shoe and electronic stores who are also facing the same issue.” It’s been confirmed that some Queensland businesses have a similar tax in place for trying out shoes and clothing items.


In the two months since Georgina put up the sign, only four people have paid the $5, but she doesn’t charge regular customers, pensioners and children. Asked if the measure has affected her business in any way, she said there is “no difference”. Still the tax remains in place because she has to “wake people up that everything in life is not free”. According to The Verge, showrooming is a relatively new term that “describes shoppers that examine a product in-store before looking online or in other stores to find the same item cheaper”.

Source: Brisbane Times

Posted in News        Tags: , , , , ,

Feedback (3 Comments)

  • sigmund Posted on March 29, 2013

    Some stores simply reek ‘expensive’. Why drop in and ask about the prices when you are obviously not going to buy anything instead of staying away?

  • Lickem Goud Posted on March 30, 2013

    This “Just Looking” tax can be used even more effectively in bookstores and adult product stores. They’ll make a fortune on the all the browsers.

  • casidhe Posted on April 2, 2013

    There is this thing called “freedom of choice” …and I’m stressing the word “free” in “freedom” !!!. It is your right as a consumer to be aware of what you are purchasing and the costs involved and to make an informed decision that matches your budget ! Sigmunds snobbish attitude (posted on March 29,2013) catches on I wouldn’t be surprised if the hoi polloi bring back the guillotine !

    Sigmunds your statement ” Some stores simply reek ‘expensive’Why drop in and ask about the prices when you are obviously not going to buy anything instead of staying away?” begs for an answer so here it is :- “quite simply my dear sir I find that expensive reek you refer to as alluring ! Although I am not yet classified as vermin the smell of “posh” attracts me the way cheese pulls a mouse ! As one of the growing poor it is true I can’t afford such luxury but up until now I could afford to dream,to hope and to imagine …it was my one comfort sir ! I even like to pretend I could save up enough one day to buy something (that is where asking the price comes in useful). But if dreams now cost $5 ( a veritable mouse trap to a poor mouse like me) I will have to “stay away”, certainly my ill begotten savings would dwindle.

    But perhaps “staying away” won’t be good enough for you. Perhaps those that are “obviously not going to buy anything” should stay in the gutter where they belong and not take up any space or time that a more deserving wealthy person such as yourself might occupy ! (excuse my reek of sarcasm….it’s the only thing I can afford these days !)