Friday, March 11, 2011

Enough with the upselling

Last week I took a several day trip to the Midwest, and it felt like I spent most of my travel time listening to people "upselling" me. You know, when you buy one thing, the person selling it to you starts asking if there are other things that you want as well.

* I checked in at United Airlines, and the check-in kiosk asked if I wanted to purchase seats with extra legroom or an earlier place in line.
* I bought a bottle of water at the newsstand as was asked if I would like to buy some tea (in bags, not even a bottle!) for my trip. Now, why would I want a tea bag for my trip?
* At Kohl's, after I arrived, I spend most the transaction explaining to the cashier that I really did not want a Kohl's charge card--even with the extra 10% off.
* At a supermarket, they have the "item of the week" at the checkout stand, and they ask if you want it.

I recently went to a hospital to visit a sick relative, and at least I didn't get any upselling there. For an extra $200, we will make sure that he doesn't get an infection." "Would you like to upgrade the quality of the food we serve?"

I'm probably just being cranky about it because I'm getting old (why, back in the good old days....).  Also, I realize that they're just doing what they are told to do.  Still, I wonder, though, if I should start practicing "downselling." Maybe each time I'm asked if I want something more with my purchase, I'll ask if I can have the item for less money. Or maybe reduce what I'm purchasing. "You know, I think I would like just half of a hamburger. Could you take 50% off?"

Or maybe I could start selling them something that I own.  "We've got an old television set at home, just sitting in the garage.  Would you like to buy it for 20% off today?"

Hey, if we're going to negotiate, why not?



Anonymous said...

I work at a store and we are told we need to upsell to every customer and I can tell you we hate doing it as much as customers hate having it done to them. They keep a record of each shift's upsells and use mystery shoppers to secretly see if we're upselling to everyone. Oh, and we don't get a cent extra not matter how many extra goods we sell. The only way to stop it is to complain to senior management as they're the ones that choose to do it.

Or start a Facebook page complaining about it. Or start selling "No thanks, I'd rather not buy your upsold items thanks" badges!

Hilary said...

The whole world hates upselling. I have an idea about what we could do about it.

When in a shop and the person takes a breath to start on the upselling, politely interrupt them and say that you're a member of the anti-upselling group, and that if they try to upsell, you will simply leave the shop without making a single purchase.

I'm fairly sure that if lots of people started doing this, the negative impact on sales would be enough to put an end to the practice quite soon!

If you wanted to go further, you could even write to the company enclosing a copy of the receipt from your purchase in a competitor store that didn't try to upsell you!

Hilary x