What would be the welfare gains if we banned customers from talking to the sales clerks, and vice versa? I find that at least once a week I am frustrated, waiting in line, while the customers and sales clerks chat merrily. They don't seem to care. They don't know how truly important *I* am. They think their little conversation means something in the broader scheme of things.
What are they doing, negotiating over the price?
I have a modest proposal: let us ban such conversations, on penalty of death.
Of course zero conversation does not mean zero communication. The sales clerks will be given, by their employers, little signs to hold up, communicating the most frequently needed pieces of information. Customers might carry around little signs as well. Like "no, I won't give you my email address." On the whole I expect the transactions to become more efficient.
I fear only the second-order effect that fewer sales clerks will be hired.
Or if these conversations go away, might customers flee and Borders would close down altogether?