Why can’t I pick it up at the store?

So, one of my kids is having a birthday and my mom wanted me to order a book she could give him – the Complete Calvin & Hobbes. My mom lives in the middle of nowhere, so we agreed that it would probably be easiest, and best, for me to buy it, wrap it, and give it to my son for her, rather than her try to find it and then give it to him whenever we get back in her general direction (though that’s happening next week).  If you don’t know, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes is a box set of either trade paperbacks or hardcovers.  Since I don’t really want to give Amazon my book buying business, I went to Barnes and Noble’s website and was thrilled to see it was about 40% off.  I noticed a button that said, “pick up in store.” Clicking this gave me a list of local B&N’s, and suggested I call them for pricing and availability.

wait, pricing? But I just got a price off of your website. Why would I have to call a store to see what their price is when you just told me your price?

Because the brick and mortar stores charge whatever the hell they please, that’s why. Instead of being 40% off, it was 0% off.  Contrast this to my buying experience at that company on the leading edge of online retail, Menards. I was able to buy a trashcan, a handcart, and a broom, click on an option to “pick up in store,” pay for it, and then magically pick it up at a service desk at the store. Memards can manage to figure out how to make this work for trash cans and push brooms, why can’t Barnes & Noble figure out how to make it work for books?

Needless to say, I saved myself forty bucks, ordered the book off their website, and had it shipped to my mom’s house at this point. Because, well, why wouldn’t I? I saved myself a good chunk of money, saved myself the drive to the store, and I didn’t find myself tempted to buy some stuff I didn’t need like I did at Menards when I got there and then shelled out for a back of Brach’s candies and some on-sale sanding disks. I guess the Barnes and Noble store I didn’t go to didn’t have to sell something at a lower than retail price, but then they didn’t get to sell anything at all. It’s still sitting on their shelf. On top of that, my order qualified for free shipping from B&N, shipping that has to cost them more in the long run than just chucking one extra box set of comic books onto a truck that would have been going to one of their stores regardless.

I get not wanting to take money out of the mouths of their stores, but they did that today when I couldn’t just buy my book and pick it up at one of their stores. It was silly, it was stupid, and it gives people no reason not to just go to Amazon, because they’ll mail the thing to your door just as well. Get in the game, B&N, and use your natural shipping/distribution hubs -your stores –  more to your advantage.

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