Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Downside of the Upsell

I hate upselling. Don’t know what that is? Sure you do, you just might not recognize it by this name. “Do you want fries with that?” That’s upselling. You thought you knew what you wanted, that was before you met “upseller”, now you have to figure out how to get past him or her without spending more money / consuming more calories.

Restaurants have been upselling for years. I was recently at a business lunch where the server would just not give up.

“Would you like to order any appetizers today?”

“Ah, no, thanks very much, we’re good with just the entrees.”

“Are you sure? The buffalo wings are real good.”

“No, thanks, really – just the entrees please.”

“How about some mozzarella sticks?"

“No, really, we’re good. Thanks.”

“How about…

“Look Pete, stop the upselling, we don’t want any appetizers.”

It was a battle, like trying to cancel a credit card – crikey – I’ve had an easier time ending relationships than trying to cancel a credit card; those people will not let you go, but I digress.

Shipped anything at the Post Office lately? Then you’ve had the upsell treatment. Any of this sound familiar?

“Hi, I’d like to ship this first class mail please.”

“Would you like Priority Mail, guaranteed 2-3 day delivery for only $3.45 more?”

“No thanks, first class is fine.

“Would you like to insure the package?”

“Nope, I’m good.”

“Would you like a delivery signature? Delivery confirmation? Registered or certified mail etc. etc.?”

“Just first class mail please.”

A couple of weeks ago I had to ship 6 packages on the same visit and we went through this routine for every single package. After the first box I informed the clerk that my answer would be the same for every box, that I just wanted the same, plain, service for every package; she informed me that she had to ask for each one, it was the rules.

And the worst, which for me has forever ruined a New England (if not American) icon, is the upsell at Dunkin’ Donuts. I moved away from New England (and thus Dunkin’ Donuts) almost 15 years ago. Back then life was simple; they sold coffee and donuts. Period. You could get your morning breakfast (with a cup of the best coffee in the world) in less than 2 minutes. The only thing that held up the line was someone with decision issues buying a dozen donuts.

Dunkin’ Donuts has recently come to my local airport and the first time I saw it I had all I could do to keep from running through the terminal to get in line for a cup of the best coffee in the world.

The line that I remembered moving at break-neck speed now crawled as servers offered up an array of items that I’d never seen served at a Dunkin’ Donuts before. Orders were placed for double non-fat, extra whip, vanilla lattes (hey, go to Starbucks if you want that!), and bacon-and-egg bagel sandwiches, and sausage/egg/cheese croissants - all of which have to be assembled and cooked on-order. There were 4 people in line ahead of me and I almost missed my flight.

Wikipedia states that upselling is a sales technique whereby a salesperson induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale. Now you know; good luck with your waist and your wallet.

1 comment:

  1. and at my P.O., the final upsell is: "would you like to rent a P.O. box so you can get your mail earlier in the day?" No and please stop.