Saturday, 2 May 2015

The awful upselling - a good reason to shop online!


I don't go shopping in real shops very much these days, apart from the weekly food/household stuff and the odd bit of clothes buying.  Generally speaking, if I need something specific I'll look it up online first.  I don't really do crowds of people, so 21st century shopping suits me.

The other day, however, I went into Newcastle as I had to buy some birthday presents for Him Indoors.  Newcastle is, after all, a fine city, and I love to have a look round the Grainger Market.  There used to be a wonderful book shop in there, which closed recently; I believe business had suffered since people like me started buying cheap Kindle books.  It's a shame, but, alas, the world changes on a regular basis (and I probably bought as many books from that shop as I do from Amazon, honest, and support local small shops, etc etc - I'll just make that clear before I get slagged off too much!).  

On this day, though, I went into only four shops, and was reminded why I now prefer to shop from home.


Isn't it just the worst???

In a smarty, arty looking shop selling cards, wrapping paper and small gifty things, I spent no less than £23 on cards, wrapping paper and a small gifty thingy I couldn't resist.  While the woman behind the counter was bagging up my purchases, she tried to engage me in chat to the extent that I almost said, "look, I just want to buy the birthday cards, I don't want a freakin' relationship."  During this (mostly one-sided) conversation she tried to get me to sign up for a loyalty card (which would include being emailed with news of promotions, having my details passed on to others, etc etc).  When I said I didn't want one, she insisted on 'just popping' the details into my bag anyway.  During the five minutes she took to roll up my wrapping paper, she also pointed out many other attractive items within the shop.  Dead chattily, like.  Obviously this was company policy; some other person suggested I 'have a nice day' on the way out, too.  I chose to ignore her in a dignified manner, rather than pointing out that we are in Tyne and Wear, not San Diego, and telling her to bugger off, which is what I felt more like doing.



That's one shop I won't be going back to.  Next I went to WH Smiths, where I was accosted by someone trying to sell me something on the way in, offered a bargain on items similar to those I was purchasing whilst at the till, and accosted by someone else trying to sign me up for WH Smith insurance/a monthly subscription to Beekeeping Monthly on the way out.


In Marks and Spencer I was offered some other data mining tool (loyalty card, store card, whatever), whilst in Superdrug I was offered a store card and some facial wipes currently on offer, or it might have been a gift pack of aftershave or buy-one-get-one-free on haemorrhoid cream, I can't remember.


I know that the high street shops are all in trouble since the rise in internet shopping, but surely this isn't the way forward?  For every one person who says, "d'you know, Kerry/Gav/Shirl, I reckon I will take that cream.  I haven't got piles, but it's best to be prepared!", I bet there are ten more who, like me, have the f*** irritated out of them by this strategy.   There is a chemist in my local town centre where I only go if in a tearing hurry, as you can't nip in to buy a 32p packet of paracetomol without being offered at least four more products.  The other day I handed my purchase over and just said "please don't try to sell me anything else", but so programmed was the sales lad that he said "no problem," (as is customary with all shop/restaurant assistants under the age of thirty), then put my bottle of Mr Muscle shower spray into a bag and launched into his speech before he even realised what he was doing.  

Because food shopping is one thing I don't like to do online (and because I do need to get out of the house sometimes), I put up with the till assistants in Morrissons asking me if I have a Match & More card, are collecting vouchers for the set of knives (don't tempt me), would like any stamps (postage or saving), phone credit, fries with that, a meal deal, or a voucher which will mean that I'll get 6p off per every £657 I spend, and bombarded with junk mail from five hundred different companies for the rest of my life.  But aside from that, I won't shop anywhere that practices this ghastly upselling.  Fine, advertise your wares all you like, splatter them over every shop window, but don't see every purchase I make as an opportunity to get more money out of me.  Just be polite and helpful and I'll come back.  



It would be like someone telling me that they liked one of my books, and me saying, "that's great, would you like to buy another?"  It would guarantee that person never did ~ and I think this is what upselling must do to thousands of people.

I mentioned the local chemist shop that I avoid - about a year ago, I listened to a girl's sales spiel and then asked her how she felt about having to do it.  She said, oh, we all hate it, and lots of customers feel about it like you do.  I actually wrote to the customer services department to 'give them feedback' about this strategy; the reply said that they didn't see it as hard selling but as offering the customers information about what was currently on offer.  

Yes, that might be the idea, but it doesn't work.  If you've got something on offer, stick posters where people can see them, have the item on display at the counter, and at least educate your staff on basic sales/interpersonal skillsThe woman who tried to upsell me in that card shop should have spotted my irritation and lack of interest.  That as a 'mark', I wasn't going to happen.

I wrote that letter to the chemist's customer services after seeing a seventeen year old lad offering a Nicki Minaj body spray and perfume gift set to an OAP.  Poor chap probably felt pressured into buying it, then remembered he hadn't got any grandchildren.  But what the hell, eh?  It's another sale!








 

26 comments:

  1. Oh, Terry, I was laughing all the way through this – I SO agree with you. And even if they are not trying to sell you anything, it's ridiculous insisting that the sales assistants chat to you. Some are quite skilled at it and it doesn't feel an intrusion but some are just hopeless. I lost my temper with a young man in Sainsbury's who insisted on addressing me as Miss (honestly, I'd have preferred Madam, but better still nothing at all) – the first time I made a joke of it, the second time I asked him not to which he replied most people don't mind (therefore I was wrong and had to take it). It's a hazardous world out there, no wonder we don't want to live our desks.
    BTW, love the Grainger market – apart from the all pervading smell of meat – but worth it for the public weigh house – I just love it that people have been going there every week for practically their whole lives.

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    1. Yes, re the Grainger market! As for the rest of it.... grrrrr! I remember one girl recently in some shop actually commenting on all my purchases to the extent that in the end I had to say 'could you just serve me, please'. And then there's 'did you find everything you were looking for today?' GRRRR!!!

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  2. I couldn’t agree more, Terry. It annoys the **** out of me. That and having to buy two food items taped together at a reduced price when I only want one!! I do a lot of my shopping online too.

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    1. Oh yes, that old trick!!! I'm sure all these sales tactics only work on the terminally stupid :)

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  3. Oh yes - and such a shame it puts us off going into real shops. Having said that, I often chatting to the people in our bookshop or the toyshop, because they are genuinely fun people who like the things they are selling and know a lot about them. So very different from the script that so many splurge when all you want to do is pay and escape.

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    1. Exactly. You can't force it. The trouble comes when you employ spotty teenagers straight out of school who have zero social skills.... or dreadful women like the one in the card shop who insulted me straight away by pointing out the cheap paper as opposed to the £2.50 a sheet. I felt like saying "do I look as though I can't afford this, then?" ha ha!!!

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  4. Oh Terry, this has made me chuckle! I do much of my shopping online too, as I'm not into crowds (except at gigs, and you can't help that) or people, particularly.
    I like to buy my food in store so I can see/feel/smell/squeeze to check if it's definitely the apple/bread/orange/cabbage for me. I don't like special offers on things I neither need not want...but they seem to accompany me home somehow.
    As for the ' have a nice day now' crowd? They can bleep off!'
    Maybe we should all make it clear that no, we did not find everything we wanted today, because you don't effing stock it.
    You always manage to make me laugh 😂

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    1. Oh, good, glad to entertain, Claire - that's all I need to hear, ha ha! Yes, crowds, people... lemme out of here!! xxx

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  5. It throws them and is quite fun if you fire questions back at them, or even get a question or comment in first, then I go for the ultimate kill, with a queue building up I insist on finding the exact money (if it's a small purchase of course) and I count it all out to their open hand, then take ages putting my purse safely away before allowing them to get on to the next customer - don't want to get mugged on the way out now do I?

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    1. Rosie, I applaud you! Time I had some fun with it, too :)

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  6. Yep..shop online a lot. Mainly clothes coz the mirrors all depress me. And I only use certain online shops that I know will send stuff that fits. Having said that, I do like wondering through the odd store and noting how badly trained the staff usually are. ,, I gues that's the 'sell sell'' thing. Have you noticed that banks do this ..and sadly, I won't use online banking as I'm too scared of my account being hacked. ''No, I don't want to see your business adviser/mortgage person/investment manager''. Should we design a badge?

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    1. Carol, I used to work for the Nationwide. I left because I was employed to be a customer services advisor, not a salesperson. Dreadful business. I was thinking of incorporating my experience with that into the post, but it would have made it too long. Maybe next week - yes, I think I will!

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  7. Whenever I buy something from W H Smith's, the assistant asks me if I want to buy something made of chocolate, for a pound. Chocolate? Is there anyone left on the planet who doesn't know about my feelings for chocolate? Where do Smith's find them?

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    1. I doubt it, I see them on Twitter most days. This is the sort of one that really pisses me off, when it's not even something related to what you're buying. I go into Poundland to buy biscuits for Him Indoors as they have some particularly interesting and unusual ones in there. On paying for them, I am frequently offered polos/batteries/tissues. I feel sorry for the assistants who have to make themselves look dumb by asking everyone. They have to ask everyone because the one they don't ask will be a mystery shopper, and then they will lost their job, alas.

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  8. I'm so annoyed that even M&S do it. I was buying a sandwich and a couple of other things, and the bloke at the checkout asked me what sort of a day I was having, and what was I doing in Norwich! I was so outraged that I gave him my best Lady Bracknell stare and froze him with the most icy comment I could rustle up. Later, I thought I should have told him I'd come in on the latest leg of my serial-killing of shop assistants tour. Oh, and when the assistants in WH Smith offer me massive bars of chocolate, I feel like saying 'not if it's going to make me end up looking like you'. But I don't because it's not their fault - though I'm really turning into Victoria Meldrew these days as, I see, is Terry!

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    1. Good for you for reacting like that - it's only by doing it that the assistants are going to go back to their HR managers and say 'I don't think the customers like it'. I am sure these wanky sales techniques don't actually work; maybe they haven't been in place long enough for them to realise this.

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  9. "Do you want fries with that..." the original up-sell that started the madness. To me, the worst is the credit card up-sell. Some department stores require that their sales people sell a quota and if they don't make it by the end of the month, it reflects negatively on their job performance.

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    1. Yes - I feel sorry for people who work in retail these days, they have to be active salespeople, not just shop assistants!

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  10. Glad I'm not the only one feeling this way. My supermarket people ask me at least 3 times if I want help out with the groceries. Clearly, they paid no attention to my first NO.

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  11. Yes, it seems like no-one can just scan your purchases and take your money these days! I've tried saying at the supermarket "I just want my shopping, nothing else, thanks" and still they offer me .... everything above!

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  12. I just pretend I'm deaf - they soon give up.

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    1. Clearly you are more tolerant than me!

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  13. Enjoyed your post, Terry & absolutely support your views (esp hate when you phone an insurance company or the like & they try to flog you pensions or funerals while they've got you hanging on for your reference number). However, when it comes to shops you have to look at the other side of the coin - surly unhelpful teenage assistants who wouldn't know a size 14 if it blew off a washing line & crushed them! Snooty fashion mavens so up themsrlves they can barely condescend to acknowledge your existence & would no more wish you a 'nice day' than shrivel your marrow with one icy 'if-you-have-to-ask-you-can't-afford-it' glare! All I want is a nice friendly assistant who doesn't mind you browsing but is happy to help when you ask!

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    1. Oh dear - you've obviously had some bad experiences! Alas, this is much of the problem with the retail industry generally - it pays minimum wage, and if you pay peanuts you get monkeys. Similarly, the licensed and restaurant trade. Most of them know less than I do about the products they're employed to sell, I find.

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  14. Hi Terry - I'd rather shop in a store .. and still do mostly - but I revert to the online line as you say it's so convenient .. no-one seems to know what's what .. and if I can't find out - it gets left off the list ... I hate shopping anyway!! Even London doesn't entice - I can go up for an exhibition or museum and fast run back to the train down south!

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. ha ha, that's how I always feel, Hilary - I can't wait to get away and on the journey back home!

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