Is it ethical to try offline but buy online?

A friend recently confessed that he was a “showroomer.” Not only that, but he didn’t feel guilty about it.

Showrooming, in case you were wondering, is when a shopper checks out a product at a brick and mortar store, then goes online to buy it. According to the 2012 Kellogg Shopper Index, a large segment of people still shop and buy at brick and mortar stores. But the numbers of showroomers are increasing, which threatens the brick and mortars.
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Stuck with a pair of shoes – and confused about Sears’ refund policy

ValeStock /
ValeStock /
Olga O’Hara wants to return the shoes she bought at, but she’s getting mixed signals from the company about how to do so. Is she stuck with her purchase?

Question: I recently ordered a pair of shoes online through The packing slip says I can return the items to any Sears store.

I went to my nearest store and was told they can’t refund my money back to my credit card since I paid with PayPal. The only option they had was to issue a gift card. However, I don’t shop at Sears and I did not want a gift card.

They told me I could ship the items back. Well, I’d have to pay to ship those back, and I don’t want to do that.
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Where’s my refund?

1-Screen Shot 2012-09-28 at 2.30.24 PMQuestion: I ordered three items from three weeks ago. Two arrived, but the other — a coat for $75 — was canceled by Sears the same day I placed the order because it was no longer available in a warehouse or store.

It has been 20 days and I’ve received no refund for the canceled item. I’ve done online chat, e-mailed, and contacted Sears on Twitter and Facebook. According to @searscares, I am now on a waitlist for a “case manager” regarding my refund.
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Charged for an online class I didn’t take

Not going back to school./ Photo by Harry Doyle – Flickr Creative Commons
Question: My daughter registered online for a class with the University of Phoenix and filled out a form for financial aid. She decided that the online course was not for her and never took the class.
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The Insider: How should I buy my next cruise?

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a new Insider series on cruising. Here’s the first installation. As always, please send me any suggestions on topics or content I may have overlooked.

Not so long ago, you had to pick up a phone and call your local travel agent to book a cruise. No longer.

Although 90 percent of all cruise vacations are still bought through travel agents, not all agents are the same. You can turn to a full-service, “bricks-and-mortar” agency or an online agency. Or you could deal directly with the cruise line, in some instances.

But which option is right for you?
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