Archive | September, 2010

Good Vibrations

10 Sep

While I was at work today, I started thinking of something that I could put as a new post in this blog. Then, out of nowhere, one of my favorite co-workers came running up to me holding something above his head. He said, “What is our store coming to? Look at what we are carrying now!” Say hello to one of the most recent editions to the “Family Planning” section of our store:

You’ve got to be kidding me! I think we stood there hysterically laughing for about ten minutes because we came up with this elaborate plan to have our store make this item the new “upsell” for the month. Hah!

But seriously, if I have to ring this up to an old lady with some personal lubricant it is going to be very hard for me to just not start laughing out loud. A few years ago, I read in a Cosmo magazine that it was completely frowned upon to even buy such things in public. Now, when walking around the Family Planning section at our store, there are enough sex accessories to open a small adult store. All we need is some furry handcuffs, some whips, and some pleather eight inch hooker heels.  My bet is that this is quickly going to become the item in our store with the most shrinkage.

I’d love to know: What do YOU think about the plethora of sex items in the family planning aisles these days? As a customer/employee, does it make you feel uncomfortable or does it give you that same kind of uncontrollable laughter that most of us experience as kids while in church?

I know this is a short entry…but I should be doing work. I just couldn’t help but post this! Either way, I think our store certainly has a new “vibe” to it.

Would You Like To Eat My Nuts?

2 Sep

Up-selling products has been a trend in businesses and retail for quite a while. One of the most common up-sells, as many are familiar with, is the age-old and often dangerous “Would you like to supersize that?” question. While I do not work at a McDonald’s and will hopefully never have to eat any sort of supersized meal in my lifetime, I have often found my managers asking me to go above and beyond my job as a cashier and promote certain items that are monthly “up-sells.” Based on my discussions with fellow retailers, up-selling (or suggestive selling) has quickly become just another typical duty of cashiers all over the country. And, in my opinion, suggestive and promotional selling are not activities that I feel my enthusiasm getting “supersized” about in the near future.

Some cashiers, as I have witnessed, are naturally good at suggestive selling. It could be a completely random product–like loofahs–and they will be able to effortlessly ring up a customer’s items, point over to the promotional item and say something along the lines of “Well, hey! Would you like to buy a loofah for that body wash that you bought today? They’re great value and our customers absolutely love them!” My favorite up-sell was when we had to promote selling nuts, which made us all crack up consistently. “Hey (insert co-worker name), want to taste my nuts?” “Hey, want to try my nuts? They’re extra salty.” Yeah, you can imagine.   My approach to up-selling promotional items is a bit more, well, lazy. I usually put a few of the promotional items near the credit card machine and, after all the items have been rung out, I simply point to the product and say “Would you like to add one of these to your order today?” Through trial and error I have learned that even mentioning the product is often too confusing for customers. A few months back, for example, our promotional up-sell was cookies or some kind of sweet snack. My district manager actually called our store that day, spoke to me (since I was the main cashier) and told me that my goal was to sell 20 of these cookies and then call her at the end of the day and report back my total sales. So I figured I’d attempt to not be lazy and actually focus my energy on selling the product. Here is an example of the results:

Elderly lady puts her Fleet enemas on the counter and I begin scanning them. I point to the cookies.

Me: “Would you like to try some of our cookies today? They’re only a dollar and they taste great!”

Elderly lady: “What tastes great?”

Me: “Those cookies. They are a dollar. Would you like to buy some?”

Elderly lady: “I did not buy any cookies.”

Me: “Exactly, which is why I’m asking you if you’d like to buy some today.”

Elderly lady: “Buy what?”

Me: “The cookies.”

Elderly lady: “Well how much are they?”

Me: “A dollar.”

Elderly lady: “Five dollars? Wait how much do I owe you? Do I have the receipt?”

Me: “Forget it.”

I kid you not, this is how the majority of my transactions went that day. Or if, God forbid, my customer wasn’t elderly and actually understood what I was saying, they often said that they were either diabetic, didn’t like the store brand cookies, or had already bought dessert items/were on diets and didn’t need to eat any more. Oh, and let’s just say I kind of pulled a trick out of the elderly book and “forgot” to report back to my district manager that day. I bet she doesn’t even eat our bloody cookies.

Despite my failed attempts at up-selling, I still managed to nab fourth place in our yearly district competition for people who have done the most up-sells. I blame it on the fact that I work a lot at one of the highest-traffic stores in the area, but who knows, maybe people really do need a lot of loofahs and cookies after all.

Does anyone have any funny/scary/interesting suggestive selling stories? I’ve love to hear them!

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