I just recently got an email from Tanya asking me this: “have you thought about writing about the whole online price thing? I don’t believe I’ve seen anything on it. I’m a cash supervisor now and one thing I hate more than anything is the stupid online price difference. I have been called a scam artist multiple times, have been yelled at, and on the rare occasion have been kindly asked why.”

Tanya, you asked for a comic about this and I hope I covered it in the right way. Thanks for the email!

I know we all have some sort of cheap go-to answer trying to appease the annoyed/angry customer who asks what the deal is with the price differences. The problem is trying to explain it to them in a sound bite. Saying we provide better customer service, or that they have to pay shipping online, or they don’t have to wait for the book and they can look at it before purchasing, etcetera etcetera…

My guess is they don’t follow the MSRP online because they have a lot less overhead. I heard once that Amazon has a giant robot arm sorting robot machine of robot death that finds all the books and DVDs and whatever else they sell on their site. They also sell “bricked” electronics. Stuff that doesn’t work right out of the box. Suffice it to say, I’m not buying anymore mp3 players from them.

Anyways, with less employees running a website, the online retailers can charge less and still make profits is my opinion. It’s like an electronic IKEA store. Man, I finally went to one of those stores this past week and for the thousands of customers found inside, I counted maybe seven employees. They had really good desserts there though. Some kind of almond, chocolate, marzipan, deliciousness priced at only at a couple bucks. Oh, and they had cream cheese infused with caviar. I didn’t eat that.