Charging A Fee To Demo An Amplifier In A Brick & Mortar Store

I Saw a pair of pre-owned tube monoblocs for sale on an onlline forum for around $17k.
The seller has a retail store for hiigh end audio. The seller mentioned that there will be an up-front fee for the demo if a prospect comes to the store the amps are not purchased. The demo fee may also be used for credit towards any purchase in the store.

This is the first time I’ve ever heard of this. Is this now a common occurance in high end audio stores? I sent a note to the seller asking what the demo fee amount was....two weeks and I didn’t get a response.

Does anyone know what amount of fees are charged for a demo?
I tried to nuy a used 911 turbo early this year and they wanted to run credit and get a deal hashed out before a test drive. I drove 300 miles to see the car but they do that to weed out joy rides. Is this coming to high end audio?

I worked in a high end store in NY in the 1990's and we would spend a lot of time taking amps or speakers to a prospective buyers house that never was compensated.

I would actually pay for an in home demo myself but not an in store demo.
Fifty years ago, I worked for an audio retailer. Wow, how times change?

Today? I am in a pivotal role at a major global enterprise online service.

My professional attitude is that IF a product or service can be bought online, it SHOULD be bought online. From a professional point of view it is great that Brick & Mortars are charging, because that pushes more business to online enterprises where returns are a fact of life and not a big deal.

My audiophile attitude is that charging by Brick & Mortars gives me grief, because it is a straw on the camel’s back and a death knoll for their style of doing business. It places them on a danger of extinction list. That makes me sad.

Currently, I live in an area of the world, where there is only one High-End shop in the region, despite being the greatest concentration of post-graduate degree education and technology in the country. I always found that strange . . . very strange indeed. The focus appears more on quantity, than quality. Odd that.

To johnto;  Have yo rver worked in retail?  Not everyone who walks in is going to buy!  No reputable dealer would charge for an audition.
I don’t have a ’dog in the fight’ here, but I surely understand why this is done.

Back in the day, when you asked for a sales rep’s time, there was a ’gentleman’s agreement’ that you’d buy from them if the item is what you wanted. Perhaps the explosion of online buying coupled with an entitlement mentality and degradation of what others are worth causes many of us to forget that.
Case Study: Years ago (Circa 1990’s) a friend of mine discovered a little store in Northern NJ that specialized in GPS hardware and software. "Come check this place out!" he said. "They have a great selection, the staff is really knowledgeable and they’re great with service when you have questions."
About six months later, he was in the market for a new Garmin, and he went to the store, burned a lot of their time, and bought from the local catalog warehouse because the price was cheaper. Some time after that he was ready to upgrade again, went to the store, and was astounded to discover they went out of business. Go figure.
If you don’t want to pay for professionalism, be prepared to get what you pay for. Everybody wants good service and knowledgeable, professional salespeople, but that costs money. You don’t work for free, and they shouldn’t either.
"If I was a serious buyer I’d feel offended but there are so many tire kickers who have no intention of buying. If a reasonable fee was posted for like a 30 minute demo there is equipment I wouldn’t mind paying to hear. I don’t think it’s fair to take someone’s time if I know I’m not buying.
I'm not saying I agree with his policy, but I completely understand the reasons for it.

Is there no really good customer service anymore?  The place that I buy from always gladly offers to put you in a listing room and ask if you want them to stick around for any help or questions if not they says take your time and if you need anything just let me know.

If I was asked to pay for a demo I would walk out faster than I came in but thats just me.