You just spent the last half hour pushing your cart (or buggy depending upon where you live) up and down seemingly endless aisles to get groceries for your family. You ignored the digitalized end cap advertisements, and the beeping coupons that seem to beg upon you to buy something else that is not on your list. Your mind is filled with weekly menus and remembering the important items on your list. Then, when you finally get all your items together, feeling rather accomplished at the speed and efficiency with which you handled your shopping trip – you end up at the register. Otherwise known as the express lane of hell and up sales. Everywhere you turn; there is some little something intricately placed there to help you splurge at the end of your shopping trip. Whether it’s the tabloid with the crazy headline, “85 Year old woman gives birth to twin chimpanzees” or the chocolate bar that seems to be shouting your name – you are inundated with UPSELLS.
If you have toddlers in tow, they will sing the choruses of the upsell, begging you to buy the piece of crap toy that is oh so conveniently located out of place at the register. Seriously, why is there a Disney princess doll at the cash register. Seems like putting mile high stacks of toilet paper (the number one forgotten item at grocery stores) would be more monetarily valuable, not to mention convenient.
In the grocery and convenience store industry, upsells at the register are a massive marketing ploy. While you might think the stuff compiled under your nose is a just a hodge-podge mixture of items that the store lacked room for in the aisles, nothing is further from the truth. In fact, a large part of grocery marketing is in the upsells throughout AND at the end of the shopping trip. These folks spend time researching human behavior and evilly plan the best ways to get you to give up some more of your mighty dollar. Interestingly, it works, as around 67% of the population ends up spending between $5 and $10 on items strategically placed as upsells. The Krazy Coupon Lady, even encourages grocery store shoppers to reverse their shopping trips from the back of the store forward, in order to miss the strategically placed marketing ploys set up by clever marketing professionals.
Then of course, you also have those stores that ring you up, and then suddenly offer you some amazing discount for signing up for a credit card, or ask if you are interested in the buy of the day. After all, who doesn’t need two candy bars for the price of one? No, well how about the sale on toothbrushes? (To which you immediately grab a pack of gum assuming that your breath must be a problem.) Then, with all the new shoppers cards and courtesy cards today, where you get barraged with coupons and deals of the days stores like Rite-Aid, Wal-Greens and CVS, have employees polished in the art of pushing the upsell. So much so, that you often wonder if they are getting a commission on these sales.
So you say NO! Again. And hope that you can escape the store with your cart-full of groceries and move one without having to hear another word, or receive another piece of propaganda trying to get you to buy more. Your only hope now is that there won’t be someone outside the store selling puppies out of a box, ringing a bell taking donations, or standing at the red light trying to get you to throw loose change in a boot.
Convenience stores are notorious for setting up donation jars, usually with some sort of sad story about a child or family who needs your financial assistance, encouraging you to place your change in the jar. That way when you don’t, you feel like the world’s biggest chump, which is of course is the reason for doing this at all. Each year, when the United Way, or the Muscular Dystrophy Association starts selling $1 shamrocks or hearts or stars, to benefit a children’s hospital, clerks are constantly prodding you with the whole “Would you like to donate a dollar to such and such cause?” “Would you like to round up your total to make a donation?” Again, you say no and again, you feel like a complete chump. What kind of person doesn’t want to donate to a children’s cause, right? (Answer is people like you and I who are trying to make ends meet by providing for own families).
Go car-shopping and you too will get upsold to the tune of thousands of dollars. Of course, all these add-ins only add a few bucks to your monthly payments, so getting you to spend an extra 2 grand over the long term seems like no big deal. Sadly, half of the things they upsell you on at the car dealership, are things you don’t really need. After all, if you wanted the car with the DVD player built in, and the extra chrome around the license plate, wouldn’t you have picked it off the lot to begin with.
All this upselling is, is a well-plotted way to take advantage of consumer idiocy. Going shopping for what you need and want shouldn’t involve arming yourself with mental toughness, and the ability to say no. It should be easy to go into a store, get what you need and leave. You shouldn’t have to be dodging up-sells like a participant in a paint-ball party. It’s frustrating.
Maybe, someone should come up with a badge or t-shirt that says, “Save the Up-Sell, Please, as I am not buying it,” so you can hopefully head off the up-sells before they even happen. Or maybe, you should just stay home and order everything off the internet, hoping that pop-up windows don’t offer you the “frequently bought together,” window that makes you feel for a split second that you would be missing out on something amazing if you hit the red X.