Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chapters: a RAW deal

Yesterday I went to Chapters to look for a book on processing RAW images. This is one of the reasons I wanted the G9, so it's probably time I started learning how to manage the images to their potential, I figured. Turns out they had a very nice one that I'd quite like to get when the money's at hand. But I couldn't help noticing — who could? — that the US price was $36 and the Canadian price was $48, a third again as much.

Currently, the Canadian dollar is just shy of par with the US dollar.

I went to the counter and brought this up with the young woman there, asking if they honoured the US price. Nope. She gave me a little smile like she deals with cheapskates like me all the time and the corporate line about how they haven't stocked the new prints of the books with the prices in line. Which has nothing to do with what they charge, of course. And is this my fault?

I recall, when our dollar really started to dip against the US dollar in the early part of the decade, how fast the stickers appeared on books, covering up the "old" Canadian prices with the "new" (read: "higher") ones. So where are those stickers now, now that our dollar goes further and is worth more? Why I am paying for a book they bought with an 85¢ dollar with the same number of dollars that are now worth around 15% more? And why was the price 33% higher even last year in the first place? The book was printed in 2007, not 2002.

Well, I'll tell you who wants my business. It ain't Chapters. It's Amazon. They're selling the same book for about $30 Canadian, offering a discount on a related book by the same author, and shipping them free. With tax figured in, I'd essentially be getting the second for free.

I understand overhead. I'd be willing to pay the $6 difference between Amazon's price and the US price at Chapters. But not 12 bucks on top of that. That's simply gouging. That's a cynical, insulting "stupidity tax", and I'm not paying it.

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