Is it Bad Form...
to go to Williams-Sonoma (or any other store) and ask to try out a bunch of different knives to see which ones you like and then go on the internet to purchase them because you can get them cheaper??
I don't think it's bad form. You're not obligated to purchase from Williams-Sonoma just because you tried out a few knives there. If the price difference was minimal (subjective I know) then I would give them the benefit of the sale but if I could save a lot of money buying the same knives over the internet I certainly would.
It's not right to take up a saleperson's time while you test out knives and and then turn around and buy the same item cheaper on-line. Part of the price of those items in a Williams-Sonoma store is precisely due to the fact that they have brick and mortar stores where you can come in, touch things, ask questions, and even test them. These things cost a lot of money, overhead costs that on-line establishments don't have to bear.
And like a previous poster already said, you already knew that or you wouldn't have asked the question.
Without getting too philosophical about the concept of "form," I'd say that it has limited applicability in the retail world. Handling an item in a store, or discussing it with a salesperson, doesn't imply any obligation to buy it, except maybe under very unusual circumstances. Retailers expect that people will shop around for whatever they consider the best value, whether it's based on price alone, on a combination of price and service, or on some more personal issue. With regard to your particular scenario, I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all answer. It may or may not be bad form in your etiquette book (which may have gone through several editions since internet retailing took off), and it may or may not cause a moral dilemma for you, but it's certainly common practice.
Hi Philly Ray, I would have to say that it is definitly bad form to walk into a store, engage a sales person, handle all the lovely items that the store has on display, determine which item best suits your purpose based on this interaction and then leave, go home, log on and order it from some warehouse that provided none of these services.
Can you tell I feel a little strongly about this??? My sister does this all the time and we have had many discussions about it.