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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12 Responses to “Would You Like To Eat My Nuts?”

  1. Adam September 2, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Up-selling is definitely beneficial in some ways, like reminding a customer that their electronic item needs batteries and you conveniently have some right next to you. I always used to just let the food sell itself. A person is either going to see it and want it, see it and pay no attention, or not see it at all, but there is always a bunch of other things to suggest that are better than food!

    • rezuri September 2, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

      That is definitely true! I remember we had to upsell batteries a few times and it was always easy to do, especially during the holidays. I agree that food items basically just have to sell themselves, but my managers tend to think differently. I wouldn’t want to buy two Chips Ahoy-sized cookies for fifty cents…think of the mark up! If you spent $2.50 more you can buy a whole package of them, and that’s way more worth for your money.

  2. Matt September 2, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    At first I thought you were going to be talking about http://www.trymynuts.com. You would do great upselling there!

    • rezuri September 2, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

      Haha how funny! I may try your nuts, in fact.

      • mightydustbunny September 4, 2010 at 11:24 am #

        You just made me think of how my work apparently has upsells in different departments, like in produce where they have to suggest selling an expensive kind of peach or something. Lucky for me, I don’t really have to do that, but I DO have to ask for donations to things like Jerry’s Kids (which we’re asking until the telethon over this coming weekend), breast cancer, Easter Seals. I usually don’t mind asking, but we get people who make complete and I mean COMPLETE speeches about how apparently the proceeds don’t go to the charities, we take a portion of it. We usually have a soda we put on the checkstand and says, “If your checker doesn’t ask for a donation, you get this soda FREE! 100% of the donations go to so and so!” I’ve only given up one soda and it was because this idiot tricked me. I’ll tell you another day. But yeah, our demographic is mostly elderly and Asian people that overpopulate the town I work in(most of who apparently can’t speak English but can read a sign that says “Corn: 6 for $1!”) I usually don’t ask the Asians who hardly speak English cause they go, “Eh?” or “Huh?” when I ask. So in order to avoid five minutes of asking, I don’t bother with most of them.
        I also just thought back to when my boss forced me to do food sampling because I apparently did so well when I stood in for another girl who did the sampling. I guess that’s suggestive selling. I absolutely HATED sampling! People would totally mooch off of whatever it is I was sampling. Coming back and trying to use the same toothpick! I made sure to give them a new toothpick! Then I had to go to my corporate office for a sampling seminar which the program didn’t go through, thank heavens. But it was BORING as hell!

      • Retail Robot September 5, 2010 at 9:05 am #

        Haha oh man I am VERY glad that we don’t have to do food sampling at my store…I can only imagine! And yeah we do donations for charities at my store too, and I always feel really uncomfortable asking people for them. One time I asked a nun to donate when she was ringing up her items and she said no. So if a nun doesn’t want to donate I don’t know who would! 😛 Ever since I’ve been in retail I’ve always tried to say yes to whatever upsell other stores that I go into are selling, though, just because I understand that they have quotas they need to meet and I guess I sympathize with that.

  3. mightydustbunny September 4, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    Also, the items I was sampling out were not on sale at the time of the sampling. So it was very hard to get people to buy small containers of soup for $3.99.

  4. alonewithcats September 5, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    I read the headline “Would you like to eat my nuts?” and immediately said outloud “Yes.” I wonder what Freud would say.

    Also, that conversation with the elderly shopper cracked me up. It’s basically a transcript of my calls to my 90-year-old grandfather. Without the upselling, though.

    • Retail Robot September 5, 2010 at 9:07 am #

      Lol! Yes, any form of conversation with an elderly person usually follows the same kind of basic format! I think that’s why they came out with those “As Seen on TV” phones now that supposedly translate what the person on the other line is saying into text on the phone screen. It must suck to be hard of hearing :/ Thank you for reading, btw!

  5. minilaptop410 September 27, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    I was a cashier zombie, never was really good at being a promoter of anything unless I really endorsed it myself. Now i’m a warehouse rat, no more dealing directly with customers. Planters peanuts are great btw, just felt like saying that lol. Good read.

    • Retail Robot September 27, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

      Yeah, my mentality is that since it is only a part-time job, I really don’t care if I endorse things or not (or get in trouble for it). The only thing I am good at selling are things that I have used, like cosmetics! How do you like working in a warehouse, by the way? Also, thank you for reading!! 🙂

      • minilaptop410 September 28, 2010 at 12:10 am #

        Warehouse work is pretty cool, It gets very repetitive but I like it because it’s physical and it’ll help me get back in shape. Usually in most warehouses the management kind of sucks but the pay is pretty good. I’m working there as a seasonal employee until i get myself back into school, I actually start my 1st day back at this old macy’s warehouse that I used to work at on Thursday. Can’t wait to start making money again lol.

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