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eBay Urges Rethink On EU Plan's "Brick and Mortar" Vendor Requirement 139

Posted by timothy
from the them-as-has-gits dept.
mernil writes with this snippet from Reuters: "According to a draft regulation drawn up by the European Commission and seen by Reuters, suppliers may be allowed to require that distributors have a 'brick-and-mortar' shop before they can sell online. The proposed rules would replace existing guidelines exempting companies from strict EU competition rules under certain circumstances. Those rules expire at the end of May."
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eBay Urges Rethink On EU Plan's "Brick and Mortar" Vendor Requirement

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  • No words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:30PM (#31202638) Journal

    Living in a EU country and while lately I've been happy with EU's decisions, this is just bullshit. Not just because of eBay, but because there are several online stores in my country too that only have a website and warehouse. This includes the online stores that sell at lower price than you can find in stores and specialized stores like funny items and hot spices, hot sauces and specialized stores that import oversears and sell here.

    Some of the items you can't just on normal stores. This is bullshit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by flyneye (84093)

      I can't imagine what they want that provision for, unless, somehow it makes collecting taxes easier. Then it's just plain laziness.
      If its pressure from brick and mortar stores, then it's unfair competition. Any insights as to this backward reasoning?

      • People have been ducking sales tax in the US by buying online because you generally have to have a physical presence in a state to be required to remit sales tax. I say people, and not businesses/web vendors, since most states have a "use tax" which applies to anything purchased out of state and used within the state, and very few people ever pay the use tax since there is no reporting.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by P-Nuts (592605)
          But that's because sales tax is really complicated in the USA. In the EU there's only VAT (the rates vary between the countries, but it's one tax at one rate within each country). You can't get out of paying it just by buying online.
          • by sopssa (1498795) *

            Exactly, and you have to remember that every individual country in the in the EU is still, well, their own country. They have great interest in looking after taxes and different languages create even more problems, and not even starting on that international money transfers are even easier to spot for taxing agencies. I really don't think it's about taxes - USA with its states could be so, but EU really is completely different system.

          • by xaxa (988988)

            You can avoid it if you buy low-value things from outside the EU, e.g. from play.com, which is based in Jersey.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TooMuchToDo (882796)

          People have been ducking sales tax in the US by buying online because you generally have to have a physical presence in a state to be required to remit sales tax. I say people, and not businesses/web vendors, since most states have a "use tax" which applies to anything purchased out of state and used within the state, and very few people ever pay the use tax since there is no reporting.

          Bullshit. Flat out bullshit. If I buy something at a brick and mortar store, yes, sales tax should apply because infrastructure is used (local roads, fire, police, etc) for the store. But if I buy something online, sales tax *shouldn't* apply if that infrastructure isn't used (interstate roads are paid by tolls or fuel taxes, not sales taxes). If sales tax means stores can't compete, so be it.

          • by cstdenis (1118589)

            Sales tax is still paid anyway on infrastructure used. The shipping company is (presumably) charging sales tax on the shipping price to the company sending it.

            And since they have a presence in each state, they will pay the appropriate tax rate to cover whatever their share of the state infrastructure costs are.

          • by xaxa (988988)

            So why should people living in the same state as the warehouse pay sales tax on their purchase? (I believe this is what happens.)

            Also, you maybe covered roads (ignoring that you don't live on an interstate etc), but you didn't cover fire, police, or any of the other things sales tax pays for.

            • by mjwalshe (1680392)
              its VAT Value added tax with no Hypothecation, it would make running a business in the states much simpler if you followed this model.
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by davester666 (731373)

            unless you are licensing something purely digital, that's not really true.

            If you are buying a physical 'good', presumably it still actually needs to be transported to where you physically are.

            I supposed if they have a large enough trebuchet, they could get around using roads...

        • by ae1294 (1547521)

          People have been ducking sales tax in the US by buying online because you generally have to have a physical presence in a state to be required to remit sales tax. I say people, and not businesses/web vendors, since most states have a "use tax" which applies to anything purchased out of state

          I think in most states even regular people are required to declare what they buy online and pay the use tax. It's that way in the state in which I live but no one does it. We had a 1% sales tax increase recently because people haven't been buying as much due to the recession but hey I'm sure when things do pick back up they will repeal that increase just like they did with income tax way back in the day... O right, that never happened.. I think the government has a tumor and we need some chemo to shrink it.

          • Sort of like how they instituted a special tax on alcohol here in Pennsylvania to help Johnstown after their big flood... about a hundred years ago. It's now up to 18% from I think 7% initially, and going into a general fund now as opposed to helping the region.

        • by flyneye (84093)

          So far, it's like that on purpose. Although several states are pushing for "net" tax on purchases.
                  I think the time will come to choose between state tax and income tax. Provision was made long ago for a weak Federal government living off tariffs on imports. Not only would that make for a better U.S.,a return to constitutional values, but I think the world would more appreciate our role, minding our own business within our borders.

      • by xaxa (988988)

        I'll roughly quote an advert I've seen a lot on London Underground trains recently:

        "Stroll into the plush interior of the most expensive high-street audio shop. Let the smartly dressed assistant demonstrate the beauty of the latest surround sound system.
        Then but it online from ____" (I can't remember the company.)

        The provision is meant to protect high-street shops being beaten on price by online-only retailers.

        Note that it's only a draft anyway, so it'll probably be changed.

        • by flyneye (84093)

          I see.
                    When dinosaurs couldn't adapt,they at least had the common courtesy to fossilize while more fit beasts took care of earths maintenance. Only displacing the inevitable for a short bit. Maybe they will wise up and put up websites. No need to drag down the whole EU for one street of merchants. Well, perhaps in other cities as well.
          (cue Dylans "Times, They are a Changin')

      • by GNious (953874)

        Makes it easier for buyers to go to a real place when the appl^h^h^h^shit-hardware they just bought* turns out to be failing for no apparent reason. We've had WAY too many cases in Europe where buyers have been left high-n-dry by internet-only "stores".

        *: Yeah, my USB-Ethernet just turned out be non-functional - yay, now to track down official representatives in Belgium.

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          That's the risk you take when you buy online. If you want accountability and returnability, buy from a local B&M store, or from a big online place like Amazon.com. Small places are obviously a bigger risk.

          However, a store being a local B&M retailer, and even a giant national chain, is no guarantee that you'll be able to return a failed item. Just look at Best Buy; they're famous for horrendous return policies and jacking people. I bought a laptop there several years ago which failed, and they tr

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      straneg still if this passes the is a business opertunity running a B&M store for internet retailers :-)

      a big wharehouse and a few clerks, oh soory sir yes the unmade up road is on our to fix list and yes Famer Jones should realy have fixed that gate but i'me shure those dents from that champaion bull will buff right out.

    • by Ruede (824831)

      it says may be allowed.

      any sane manufacturer would not do that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by houghi (78078)

      They have a warehouse, so they can easily make a brick and mortar one out of it. Nobody says it has to be cheaper or easy accesible or even customer friendly. Just make a store the size of a phone booth and explain clearly that it will be more expensive if they buy stuff there and the service will be lousy.

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        But does it have to have certain open times every day?

        I buy my hot spices & sauces from a company that is basically ran by 3 guys who are doing it aside from their actual work. They do own warehouse, but if you want to pick up from there instead their posting it, they have two such times a week (mondays and thursdays, at 3pm). I went there once to pick up since they're near me, but remember it's a specialized store importing stuff overseas and mostly selling online, because there just isn't so many peop

    • by kheldan (1460303)
      I have a simple solution that is guaranteed to piss off these paper-pushers: You get a tiny little kiosk somewhere, with one person working in it, and all they do is take orders to be shipped somewhere else. No inventory whatsoever, but it's a physical presense for that company. :-)
    • I'm a retailer in the US and this is the kind of anti-competitive bullshit we have to deal with daily. We need our own rules against forcing brick and mortar stores, MAP prices, sale regions, and restrictions against online sales. If customers want the 'luxury' of a brick and mortar store let them pay a bit extra. Personally I like buying everything online and having it show up at my door at a fraction of the hassle and price. How are these restrictions from manufacturers benefiting consumers and the econom
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by qnetter (312322)

      Did you READ the story? The proposed law does not allow GOVERNMENTS to restrict sales to online retailers that have brick-and-mortar shops. It allows SUPPLIERS to allow their goods to be sold only by online retailers who have brick-and-mortar stores.

      Since suppliers should be free to control who sells their products in any way they choose that does not violate protected-class laws, they should be free to do so. Hell, they should be free to allow their products only to be sold by companies whose names star

  • WTF (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot&gmail,com> on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:37PM (#31202736) Homepage Journal

    This is one of the dumbest ideas I've heard out of a politico in a long, long time.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by twrake (168507)

      Just wait a dumber one is on the way!

      • by Em Emalb (452530)

        Yes, I understand that a bill is before Congress in the US requiring parents to wrap their children in bubble wrap until they're 18 years old.

        GOSHDAMNIT, THINK OF THE CHILDREN, YOU SELFISH BASTARDS!

        • by khallow (566160)
          No way. Spheres of unobtainium floating in renewable vegatable oil fluid to cushion all possible shocks. Nothing bad can possibly get in.
          • by Golddess (1361003)
            But nothing good can get in either. We should just dive right in and go straight for Borg maturation chambers.
            • by khallow (566160)

              But nothing good can get in either. We should just dive right in and go straight for Borg maturation chambers.

              Sounds like a plan. Nothing's too good for the children.

              • by jonwil (467024)

                Plus Borg chambers will prepare the kids for life working as an unskilled worker flipping burgers at McDonald's (or more likely special synthetic burgers that taste vaguely like Big Mac's but are really synthetic goop of all the nutrients some government scientist has said we need)

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      They can't figure out how to tax people into the dirt. So that's how they're going to do it.

  • Luxury Brands? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by odin84gk (1162545) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:40PM (#31202778)

    From the article

    Brand owners - often in the high-end or luxury segment - say the provision is necessary to stop so-called free riders, competitors who benefit from promotions carried out by brand name companies, shifting stock online on the back of advertising of a brand's products and services.

    Because "free riders" do not have to pay for the costs of a shop and related overheads, they can frequently offer brand-name products over the Internet at discounted prices.

    "The purpose of a brick-and-mortar shop provision is to help retailers invest in luxury shops," said Antoine Winkler, a partner at law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton who represents several brand name companies.

    I'm slightly confused. Are they doing this to help the brick-and-mortar stores? Are they doing this to help the brands? I'm confused. It sounds like they are trying to take down low-overhead companies because they are too efficient. Does anyone know why this would be a good idea?

    • by 0racle (667029)

      Does anyone know why this would be a good idea?

      The brink and motor and/or brands are paying the politicians more?

    • I'm slightly confused. Are they doing this to help the brick-and-mortar stores? Are they doing this to help the brands? I'm confused. It sounds like they are trying to take down low-overhead companies because they are too efficient. Does anyone know why this would be a good idea?

      If you owned a mom-and-pop store, I think that you would see it as a good idea.

      I don't defend the concept that they are promoting, but clearly, that's one obvious example of a group

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192)

        What's to stop Mom and Pop from starting a website instead? There's a difference between being unable to compete, and being unwilling to compete.

      • Re:Luxury Brands? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by compro01 (777531) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:56PM (#31202972)

        If you owned a mom-and-pop store, I think that you would see it as a good idea.

        And if you owned a mom-and-pop online store, I think you would see it as a horrible idea.

      • Mom and pop stores are going to go away. It's just cheaper for mom and pop to sell online and if governments care so much about the environment they'd support this transition rather than expecting everyone to have a physical shop. Protecting outdated models never works.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Danse (1026)

      From the article

      Brand owners - often in the high-end or luxury segment - say the provision is necessary to stop so-called free riders, competitors who benefit from promotions carried out by brand name companies, shifting stock online on the back of advertising of a brand's products and services.

      Because "free riders" do not have to pay for the costs of a shop and related overheads, they can frequently offer brand-name products over the Internet at discounted prices.

      "The purpose of a brick-and-mortar shop provision is to help retailers invest in luxury shops," said Antoine Winkler, a partner at law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton who represents several brand name companies.

      I'm slightly confused. Are they doing this to help the brick-and-mortar stores? Are they doing this to help the brands? I'm confused. It sounds like they are trying to take down low-overhead companies because they are too efficient. Does anyone know why this would be a good idea?

      I don't know either. Is the next move to mandate that companies selling "luxury" brands must locate their store in a high-rent part of town too? I mean it just can't be fair if they set up a shop in the bad part of town and pay a fraction of the rent that the luxury stores pay, right? I'm not sure where this madness would end...

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The EU is not requiring that there is a brick-and-mortar store. The luxury brands themselves are doing. It's just that the EU used to prohibit them from discriminating against online retailers. Now they are letting luxury brands make that choice if they feel like it's worth it for their brand image. I don't see why there's such an uproar on slashdot.

        • by Danse (1026)

          The EU is not requiring that there is a brick-and-mortar store. The luxury brands themselves are doing. It's just that the EU used to prohibit them from discriminating against online retailers. Now they are letting luxury brands make that choice if they feel like it's worth it for their brand image. I don't see why there's such an uproar on slashdot.

          Probably because TFA does a piss poor job of explaining that. Even after reading your explanation I'm still left wondering if this change only applies to luxury brands or everyone. I'm fine with the supplier getting to choose who they sell to, but the rules should be the same for everyone, and that's hardly clear here.

    • by Thansal (999464)

      "According to a draft regulation drawn up by the European Commission and seen by Reuters, suppliers may be allowed to require that distributors have a "brick-and-mortar" shop before they can sell online."

      First sentence in the article.

      The law would allow suppliers to require the retail stores to have a brick and mortar location before they sell, something I gues they aren't allowed to do now. This actually sounds like the EU saying "ok, you can refuse to sell to people who don't fit your business model", wh

    • Re:Luxury Brands? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by should_be_linear (779431) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:36PM (#31203666)
      As a EU citizen, I expect Commission will soon figure they did something _really_ stupid _again_. Therefore, next provision will enable *SOME* shops (enumerated in 1200 pages book) to remain online-only. For enumerating all privileged online shops and nagotieting per-member country number, European Online Retail Agency will be established (EORA) in, say, Rome, with huge building and army of translators and other staff.
    • From the perspective of the brand owners - they want to promote their stuff in the major retailers. In recent years brands have been cooperating tightly with major stores to the point that they even send salespeople and rent store space. I feel more like I'm walking into a showroom than a retail store.
      The retailers can have premium margins, and the major brands can be sure to stomp out pesky competition.
      It used to be that retailers sought to purchase the best stock available and sell it at competitive price

  • of course its anticompetitive bullshit, i guess department stores are adapting music industry tactics, complete with buying off legislators

    but it would be pretty neat to have an "eBay" showroom

    ebay could pick the wackiest shit: jesus on toast, my 7 year old's baby teeth, this obscene and bizarre plastic thing i bought in bangkok 3 years ago, etc., and put it on prominent display, like million dollar art work. purposefully play off a contrived vibe of reverence and awe, for really crappy mundane shit. it could be funny

    then you can only buy certain stuff at say, 11 am sharp

    and during checkout, if the guy behind you gives the clerk 10 cents more than your price while you are still reaching for your cash, he gets it instead

  • But imagine (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jgtg32a (1173373) on Friday February 19, 2010 @02:42PM (#31202798)

    Going to the Newegg store, where it's a warehouse with a couple of cashiers in the front. The employees aren't there to help you they are there to get stuff to shipping. I'd wander around there for hours.

    • by tepples (727027)
      That sounds a lot like where I work [myatomic.com]: local people can walk in and place orders, but most of our sales are done online.
    • by xaxa (988988)

      I've been to an online retailer's "store"/warehouse. There was a computer at the front desk, so you could place an order, and have it within a few minutes. That was all.

    • Sounds like Frys TODAY
    • by idontgno (624372)

      My favorite electronics components store [jameco.com] has something like that. Or did a few years back, when I was in the Bay area on other business and stopped by one afternoon.

      Their "storefront" was the front of their warehouse, a waiting-room looking area with a couple of registers and some assorted other folks behind a counter. The seating area, and the counter top, had current and recent copies of their paper catalog and big stacks of order forms.

      Pick up an order form, page through the catalog, fill in your order,

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ArhcAngel (247594)

      Actually it would be more like Directron [directron.com] Their multi-acre warehouse in Houston, Texas has a small store in the front full of PC cases of every conceivable design and off-lease equipment. They also have several kiosks where you can sit down to browse their web site and order what you want. Once you order you walk over to the Will call kiosk and type in your order number to tell them you are there to pick up the merchandise. A few minutes later someone will come out from the warehouse with your stuff and proc

      • A very similar system has been practiced by a supermarket chain in Russia as well (mostly selling electronics and other hardware) - kiosks to browse catalogs, order gives you a printout with a number, then you wait until it pops up on one of the screens around (there are plenty, with some "conveniently" tucked into the surrounding fast food shops), and finally head to the place where they will hand it out. It drives the price down by quite a bit, which is why the thing was very popular among those in the kn

  • This law will require major reworking of Weird Al's EBay song [youtube.com].

    Goodbye Beanie Babies from Norway...snif...

  • 1. Find a small village where rooms are cheap. No one will want to go there, but that doesn't matter; you don't actually plan to sell much there anyway.
    2. Rent a small room, and pay one employee to be there and sell. The selling happens to be just that if someone goes to him to buy, he orders the product online to the shop address, and then the person ordering it can fetch it there. You will not sell much this way (maybe a few items per year), but then, it's only to comply to the law.
    3. Tell the regulators

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oakgrove (845019)
      You just ran a significant percentage of the people this law is already aimed at straight out of business. Many people that sell online do it in their spare time often because they just enjoy it. Not a whole lot of money is made. Certainly not enough to pay rent even in the dinkiest hole in the wall and actually pay somebody to stand around in it all day.
      • That's why one person sets up a business like that and offers, for a very small fee, to act as "agent" of any business that needs to satisfy the letter of the law. "Yes, my name is Steve, which of these 1000 companies whose logos are here on the wall are you here to visit?" Even a small fee, multiplied a thousand times, could pay for a reasonable lifestyle for the agent.
  • EU arrogance ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BlueTrin (683373)
    I am living in the EU, and I think the EU should maybe start by having a real government before to be so quick on judging on other matters, it feels much like the EU is a group of country trying to chase their lost empire in the 19th century or so ...

    The EU government seems to think that they are the most important in the world while neither China or the US care about them as Obama showed recently.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    When a smaller number of people can supply an equal amount of goods and services, that frees up the superfluous people to do other jobs, for example supply back massages or clean windows. In net, society is better off, even if someone painfully loses their job in the short term.

    This is different from another model of employment, which we may call the "Soviet" model, where something done by few people is a social ill because it deprives the remaining people of jobs.

    Seriously, sometimes it seems like our Euro

  • The big guys would buy some relatively cheap shack, bung a couple of PCs in there for EPOS and use it as a warehouse-cum-shop, a bit like a single Argos store but smaller. Meanwhile your smaller setups who can't afford a "brick and mortar" presence are screwed. Nice one, EU!
  • by noidentity (188756) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:21PM (#31203400)
    This'll be great for webspace providers and discussion boards like Slashdot. I'd love to go to a brick and mortar store for these things. They could have them hanging like gift cards. "Yes, two websites please, a first post, three replies, and two +1 Funny moderations please. How much?"... "Yeah, paper is fine."
  • by beset (745752) on Friday February 19, 2010 @03:54PM (#31203974) Homepage
    I work in eCommerce, in particular the high end AV and home electricals' market. "Premium" brands have been penalising eCommerce only ventures for a number of years now. It can be as simple as giving traditional retailers better retro (% of turn over paid back once a year) and has harsh as limited stock. The same goes on in online photography. To be clear, we're not an online only brand, we have a number of high street stores with decent turnover. Now, the manufacturers are getting even tougher. The amount of premium brands we've had to take off our website in the past 6 months to keep our decent terms for the traditional is shocking. These weren't small accounts either, they run into 7 figures of the UKs finest GBP. Why? The brands think by selling online you're selling on price (which is largely true thanks to sites like pricegrabber, pricerunner, kelkoo etc) and this devalues their brand. How they control the market is nothing short of cartel like, but it's not going to change, only get worse if this law comes into effect. FWIW, even as someone who is struggling to do online business thanks to these they do have a point. Pure, price comparison based online shopping will eventually leave us with very few trained product experts or the ability to see products in the "flesh" before buying online. A balance needs to be found.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Newsflash you are always selling on price, before they were using lack of information as a method of gaining profit. Profit is waste, and efficient systems that ensure equal information remove waste.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by beset (745752)
        I guess you've never worked in retail, nor understand quite how retail works.

        Do you not sell on price alone. If this were the case the world would be full of geeks running e-stores out of bedrooms which allow for the lowest overheads thus the smallest margin.

        Customers (outside of /. (they do exist)) generally want advice, the unwashed masses aren't supergeeks like we are. Bricks and Mortar stores allow customers to compare ranges of products in the flesh and speak to a real person who has likely had y
  • by noidentity (188756) on Friday February 19, 2010 @04:30PM (#31204406)

    I like this requirement. I think they should also require that all brick-and-mortar stores have an online store that sells everything they have in the brick-and-mortar store, and always be up to date.

  • Could eBay just work out a deal with FedEx (or whatever the major shipping carrier is in the EU) where they have a few in-store electronic "catalogs" (web browsers set to eBay's website)? Then you could come in, browse, choose an item you want, find out "Sorry, it's not in stock. We can order from our distributor.", then come back a few days and buy the item, or even have it delivered directly to your home. Maybe they could keep a few stupid things in stock, like shipping boxes and bricks.

  • Why? what the fuck? this probably is to make these brick & mortar shops be able to compete with the online ones. so is a anti-competitive measure, but since we sell online to the world, will harm our industry.
    Why again?

  • 1. Buy a small brick & mortar location (it can be out of the way - that's not the point).
    2. 'Host' a virtual business store front in a portion of your location for a monthly fee.
    3. To keep the overhead low, only be open for 1 hour a day & require that there be no products available for sale.
    4. Only accept cash.
    5. The money from sales made (which there shouldn't be) go to the brick & mortar business owner.

    It's just like web hosting, except your' renting virtual brick & mortar space.

  • all an online retailer has to do is open up a small sale office at their warehouse where people can order and pay for products by ID/SKU. Voila! Instant Brick and Mortar store. Hell, setting up a lemonade stand in the warehouse parking lot would qualify as a brick and mortar store as long as you charge VAT.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Yup. Additionally, they could have a take-a-number system and only see one customer per day, and they could charge a 300% surcharge for in-person pickups. It isn't like any of their customers are going to be bothered by this - their entire real market is online.

      The only real impact would be on companies that are 100% based out-of-country. However, those companies can still keep selling to the locals, and it will be up to the local government to try to intercept all the packages in the mail lest heaven fo

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Not all online retailers have warehouses; some are home-based businesses, selling niche products at quantities only sufficient to employ one or two people.

      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        Do you think they would have suppliers who would want to restrict sales to those with a brick-and-mortar store?

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          It depends. IMO, any home-based business trying to compete with some giant B&M store directly (or with the likes of Newegg.com) is idiotic. The place where tiny online businesses really shine is with niche markets that simply aren't served by retail stores. Check out this place for an example: http://www.jammaboards.com/ [jammaboards.com]

          What kind of retail store are you going to shop at for a replacement arcade cabinet button? Or for a new power supply for your original Pac-Man game? I've never heard of any retail

  • ... that sells air. Buyer supplies the packaging, though.

    I believe that would take a single guy with a cash register to satisfy the legal requirements, no?

  • Several higher end electronics companies (Panasonic for example) have stopped selling to online-only stores.

    Too many people go into the B&M store, get the product demo, show the online-only store price and ask for a price match and then (when they are inevitably refused), go to the online only store and buy the product.

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