So, what do you think?
Color of Money Question of the Week
Do you think the question about criminal convictions should be removed from job application forms? Send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Ban the Box” in the subject line, and include your full name, city and state.
Live Chats Canceled
I will be away for the next two weeks, so the live online discussions for June 20 and 27 are canceled. I’ll be live on Wednesday, July 3. My guest will be Sharon Graham Niederhaus and John L. Graham, authors of this month’s Color of Money Book Club selection, “All in the Family: A Practical Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living.”
The Cost of Trying on Clothes
Should consumers be worried about “showrooming,” a term used for the shopping practice of researching potential purchases by visiting brick-and-mortar stores but ultimately buying the items online to save money?
A report in The Daily Mail says showrooming is becoming a trend and that some retailers are charging customers up to $25 to try on items in a bid to combat the practice, which the report called toxic for retailers.
In Shanghai, a Vera Wang boutique was charging women almost $500 to try on wedding dresses. If a customer bought a dress, the fee was deducted from the balance of the purchase. The money was not returned to shoppers who failed to make a purchase.
The company said the charge was imposed to deter counterfeiters,” reports Black Enterprise. The cost of a Vera Wang original wedding dress can range from $2,000 to more than $10,000, but knockoff imitations can be found on popular counterfeit online shops for as little as $100.
After some backlash, however, the try-on fee was dropped. In a press release about the policy, Vera Wang Bridal House Ltd. said that the charge is meant to help protect the copyright of the designer, reports Yahoo news.
But, in reality, how big of a retail problem is showrooming? Gallup says its research “suggests that showrooming is more of a myth than a peril.”
John H. Fleming, Gallup’s chief scientist, writes: “Clearly if there is a monster under retailers’ beds, it is not “showrooming.” The real monster under the bed -- the real peril -- is retailers failing to create a compelling and differentiated brand promise that allows them to engage their customers.”
The Price of Being a Whistleblower
Edward Snowden leaked sensitive information to the press about the National Security Agency, which was secretly monitoring citizens’ and foreigners’ phone and Internet activities. The 29-year-old, who describes himself as a “whistleblower” and remains in hiding, lost his six-figure-salary job and may face prosecution.
In one tweet, Snowden said: “I shudder to think of all the compromising situations I used to have to watch people in. No paycheck is worth that. I’d rather go to prison.”
For last week’s Color of Money Question, I asked: “Would you have traded financial security for a higher ideal?”
“This is an interesting question in that, should we say, ‘No, I’d pick money over idealism,’ then we risk appearing materialistic; whereas, if our answer is ‘Yes, I’d blow the whistle on my employer,’ then we’re assured of signing our own pink slip with the admission!” wrote Lorna Gilkey of Alexandria, Va. “While it would make me sick to see the foul things some employers do, I take non-disclosure agreements seriously. And because of that, I would never say anything. Snowden knew the nature of the job before he worked there, so he has no excuse. It is better to leave and maintain trust, integrity and financial stability than it is to blow the whistle and spend your life broke, in hiding and/or in prison.”
John Kenyon of Laurel, Md., wrote: “As for whistle-blowing, I would have to know for certain all the facts before I would betray an employer, and I would likely take my concerns to the inside first. Failing at that (and very possibly getting fired in the process), if I felt some truly serious compromise of the public trust were being violated, then yes, absolutely, I would blow the whistle. And then I would stand in the fire for my convictions, not run away to some other country while I thought over what I had just done.”
Tia Lewis contributed to this report.
Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or email@example.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to www.postbusiness.com. Follow Michelle Singletary on Twitter @SingletaryM.