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'Pay to browse' concept puzzles local retailer

Christine Belik of the Home Breadmakers Shop was surprised by the new concept "pay to browse" which was introduced by one frustrated shop owner in Brisbane.
Christine Belik of the Home Breadmakers Shop was surprised by the new concept "pay to browse" which was introduced by one frustrated shop owner in Brisbane. Anthea Gleeson

PART of Christine Belik's business is providing advice and solving the problems associated with baking a perfect loaf of bread at home.

It is a specialised field and often customers have quite specific questions.

Mrs Belik was surprised then to hear about a fellow store owner charging customers $5 to browse.

A Brisbane retailer made national headlines this week after becoming fed up with people who inquire but don't buy.

The owner of Celiac Supplies in Coorparoo posted a sign telling customers they would be charged for browsing after spending hours each week providing advice to people who left empty handed.

>> Check out what our Facebook friends think of the browsing fee here

Although the concept puzzled her, local retailer Mrs Belik could sympathise with busy shop owners.

"Sometimes when I am busy, and someone wants some advice, I often think to myself, I should be doing this or that," she said.

Mrs Belik not only provides bread-making tips for free, she also tests customers' bread machines.

"My husband thinks I should charge for that service, but I think it is good customer relations," she said.

"People are grateful for the advice."

Topics:  business, retail, toowoomba


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