Wednesday, April 18, 2007
The Customer Always Spites (Or, The Art of the Down Sell)
Today I bought some overpriced clothing for an upcoming trip at a local store that specializes in overpriced clothing.
Maybe I'm just a bitter, jaded consumer, but the art of the "upsell" often tap dances on my last nerve.
Let me explain...
As I was paying for said overpriced clothes, wondering why I always get sucked into this particular store, shucking away too much money on semi-impluse purchases like t-shirts and pants and sweaters and hats and scarves and jeans and belts and shoes and shorts and culhottes and skorts and muu-muus and ponchos and pith helmets and ascots and chains and wallets and bags and man-purses and twin-sets and formal gowns when I always end up wearing the same four outfits and always end up looking like a custodian or a truck driver or an undercover cop, I was asked if I would like to apply for a store credit card.
"I already have one." I replied quickly - hoping to cut off what I knew was coming next.
The salesperson helping me was very sweet - but I could tell, he was a new addition to the staff.
"Oh, well then. You should really be using that card then! You get so much with it!!"
I laughed knowingly and thought: Like an 85% annual interest rate on purchases?
I thought my laugh - loud and dripping with an "are you fucking kidding me?" sentiment - would have shut him down.
"Oh, well then. You really should use the store card. Every dollar you spend you get..."
"I know about the card." I said.
"Oh, well then. If you spend just a little more money today, you'll get a $25 gift certificate!"
I looked at the total and asked how much more "a little" money would be for said certificate.
"Oh, well then. Let's see. Just $25 more! That's all you'd have to spend for the certificate!"
I could barely contain myself. A deep chuckle poured out of me.
"So, if I spend $25 more on something I don't want, you'll give me $25 in credit?"
"Yes! You are right!!"
Thing is, nothing - I mean nothing in this store cost $25...not even a pleather chapstick case or a pair of tube socks. I would have had to spend more than $25 to get a return on investment. I was already having post-purchase guilt, so I had to shut the shit down.
"How about, I don't spend that $25 - you keep your $25 and we'll call it a day?"
The salesperson, left with the invisible corpse of his failed upsell, just stared at me and sighed.