Signage Fails: Finance and Portability
Ashy-Boy's Gag-Inducing Retail Hell

Retail Hell: Suggestive Selling

RHSEPT 302a Greetings, my fellow retail hell dwellers!

I work at a retail store that was poked fun at in a movie with Adam Sandler. I'll just call it B-Cubed.

I have some awful manager stories to share in addition to some nutty custy moments, but I'll post those later.

Anyhow, every month or so we have a different suggested sale item.

In every instance, I have hated it, no matter what the item was. I dislike having random items/credit cards suggested to me and I'd rather not subject my customers to it either.

Unfortunately, my managers and some of my co-workers don't see why I dislike it so much.

Every day, each manager has to do 'cashier evaluations' and every day I work I hope they don't do the evals during my shift, because one of the questions on the eval form is "Did cashier suggest an item for sale to the customer?"

And each time that answer is, "No. Reminded cashier she must suggest a sale item."

I try to adjust my behavior when I see one of my managers hanging around the CS counter more than usual, because I know they're doing the cashier evaluations.

One part I hate about suggested(-ive?) selling is the items I'm expected to offer.

When I was first hired last December, the suggested item was hand moisturizing cream, which isn't hard to sell: everyone's hands are dry in the winter.

But then came ....the cookie dough scoops? Cookie dough scoops work in the same manner as ice cream scoops, only they're smaller and enable their user to make perfectly sized cookies. If you are helping a customer purchase a pillow and a shower curtain, how the hell do you tie a cookie dough scoop in?

Me: "Sir, would you like to buy a cookie dough scooper to go with that bath sponge and electric razor?"

Customer: O_o....

Then came the air deodorizers.

At $14.99 a pop, they were the most expensive suggested selling item I've ever had to offer, plus the price gave pause to a lot of customers.

(Our most successful selling item was the hand moisturizers, partly because their price was just $1.99.)

And now we have to offer Tic-Tacs to our customers without accidentally implying that their breath stinks (although for many custys, it does!).

What's the worst suggested selling item you've had to offer?

--Unearthed Knight




souvenir soda/beer glasses... 10-11$ each.. ffffuuuu


At olive garden you were supposed to bring a bottle of wine to every table when you greeted them. Give a description and what it pairs well with and offer a sample blah blah blah. I seriously wanted to bomb that place. It was, by far, the worst job i have ever had.


for some strange reason I like suggesting things :)

As for the random things like.. cookie dough scoops.. I don't know..I would maybe engage a random cooking related convo if it was possible :/

And the worse item? FREAKING NAIL POLISH REMOVER! How the heck I was supposed to suggest nail polish remover to old grumby men and women god knew.. Managed to sell a few, thanks to teenagers and mums :)

Hellgreens Slave

ours are usually some type of candy. but EVERYONE pretty much has to suggestive sell- you go to the golden arches & order a meal & they try to get you to size up. my cashiers have to or else we managers get to write them up. i think it's dumb- i've thought it was dumb since i was a cashier & had to do it. but for my company at least i don't think its that hard.. we have signs up saying "free if failed to offer" plus the clerks make 5 - 10 cents off each one they sell.

the worst suggestive sell item i've had was cookies with 10mg of trans fat for $1- in a rich, snobby town where the women are all anorexics lol, who the eff there wants a cookie with 350 calories and 10mg of freaking trans fat!!!!!!! lol i sold maybe 10 that month.. ugh!


I hate having to listen to the spiel. I know you don't like doing it and I kind of resent having you try to sell me stuff I didn't ask for. Just put a display near checkout with the price clearly marked and I will see it. If I want it I'll take it, if not, nobody bothered me about it and I'll feel better about the store instead of having a negative experience.


Wish it could work this way Earl but sadly it doesn't. I was thinking the same but after I got more in retail, I found out it's impossible when the company follows this tactic.

Back in my previous job, even when we were stocking, we were supposed to suggest products to costumers else we would get written up. :/

Timekeeper's Twit

we're supposed to suggest things, but I try to be more sneaky about it. I only ask, "hey would you like a new band with this battery?" only if their band is shot to hell. Otherwise I just ask if they need anything else. No pushing, just hey, while you're here... It helps.

A Supermarket Slave

Promoting car insurance at a supermarket. But we're not allowed to say that people should sign up, or that we like it. That would make us liable if the customer signed up and wanted to get out of it. lol

"I just put this car insurance information slip in your bag. Look into it if you're interested. That is all. Kthxbai"

Hellbound Alleee

The worst thing I have been asked to suggestive sell is our credit card with the unreasonably high interest rate. In a world where people are losing their homes because of unscrupulous persons betting they default on their loans, well, I have to draw the line.


Can you update some more face masks which are related to the cartoons...


Fast food means promoting every new product, even if they taste awful. And if salads are going out of date, they have to be sold asap, and suggested to every. single. customer. Who the fuck wants a gross, over-priced salad-of-some-kind with their 1/4 chicken & chips or kids meal anyway, especially if that one item is all they've asked for?!


*note on new products: we also have to make out that they're so much yummier than EVERYTHING else on the menu, and you KNOW you want to try one! -_-;;

Former Caldor Slave

On a recent flight the flight attendants were pushing their airlines credit card. They wandered the aisles handing out the applications. It was obnoxious. I literally had nowhere to go.

Former Caldor Slave

Oh yeah and they also used the PA system to pimp their card. I thought that was for important things like the plane is crashing or something.


@tina I worked at olive garden where I was supposed to offer the stupid ass wine too.

One day, my manager was hovering right behind me and several other wait staff(he did that to every waitress when he was doing "evals" on them) and my long time friend of mine, who was out to lunch with his wife. Now, said friend just got out of rehab for a chronic booze problem and had been sober only 92 days at this point. I didn't feel right offering him the wine. So when I took his and his wife's order, I skipped the wine promotions.

My manager went ape shit on me over how I wasn't pushing the wine. He was very sternly and loudly correcting me in front of other staff and custys.

I loved the "oh shit" look on his face when I explained just as loudly that the custy had only been out of rehab for 2 days and as his friend, was not going to offer him the wine.


I absolutely despise having to do that, for the same reason as you do -- I just. don't. get. it. I figure, if they wanted it, they'd have gotten it already.
At my store, we have "connecting items" we have to push. These items change every week. And it's always, for some reason, junk food. WHAT. Like, one week it was Little Debbie cakes. Another week it was some brand of honey buns. We've had Rice Krispy bars, Lance crackers, Oreo cookies, you name it.
This week, it's candy corn. The kick is, you can purchase a bag to donate to the local Children's Miracle Network, for the kids who can't go out to Trick-Or-Treat this Halloween.
Now see, this is okay, because it's for someone else. But if it wasn't for donation, I wouldn't suggest it. It's not my business to make other people's grocery lists.


I hate suggestive selling, and its just not that common here. Here these things are just left on the counter. For awhile it was common to hear "Would you like to add X amount to your bill for our campaign for *some charity*" but even that has more or less stopped. Now if a company is doing it there will be some piece of paper you buy (Charity logo, picture of a teddy bear, picture of a shopping bag, whatever) and signs. If you pick one up they sell it to you, if you don't they don't mention it.

The arches don't suggestive sell either, they don't ask to supersize, they don't ask if you want pie. Even when the coffee was free they mostly didn't mention it,if you asked you got it if not then you didn't (mind you there were huge signs everywhere). The only suggestive selling was for awhile it was cheaper to get two pies instead of one -and I don't mean cheaper per each, I mean the entire price of two pies was less than the price of one.

Most stores don't even push their point cards anymore, they will ask if you have one (fair enough because people forgetting and fixing after is a PITA) but that's it. If you're not smart enough to make the mental link that if they are asking you for points card that you could easily get one if wanted, too bad.

There is ONE store though that hasn't learned, and while people will mostly give you their postal code for marketing purposes, one store around here wants your phone number and your e-mail if you just want to buy a $2 sale item like a pair of kids socks, or a small toy. And the cashiers sometimes get snotty when you say NO. I suspect that with the number of e-mails and phone calls, and general grumbling among the customers they will get the hint.

If companies care about customers then they should get the hint.

@Former Caldor Slave:

YIKES. I wonder if that's worth reporting. There are stricter laws here for door-to-door salespeople because the person can't just leave, etc.


That's exactly what I thought when I heard the wine promotion: what about alcoholics or people with religious beliefs that don't allow alcohol.

Not to mention drinking and driving liability.


At my store one of my managers set a bunch of our bottles of fake blood at my register and told me to sell as many as I could. I told him we could get more more offers if we claimed it was Claire Bennett's blood, "cures what ails you". Points to whoever gets the reference!;)


It's mostly cards at my cards, reward cards, holiday bonus cards, prescription rebate cards...all freakin cards...and since the customers don't want it they don't listen and they think we're offering the same card over and over (cause we have to ask about everyone of them to each person) and they flip out on us...I hate promoting the cards. Especially the credit card. 29% intrest? pssh! No wonder no one wants one!


Credit cards by far. At 28% interest and a monthly maint. fee that recently started at 1.99 per month... AND it is just a c/c for our store... cannot be used anywhere else. Had a hard time geting myself to suggest it, only for them to save a huge %10. wow.


To Trekkiebabe31 LOL, You're my hero!

Bookstore Brat

I work in a cafe at a bookstore (books a trillion) and the way we earn hours is by selling membership cards. I don't get many customers in the first place... but it's tough to try and convince someone to get a $20 membership card with their 1.50 cup of coffee.


I worked at Borders, and for a month we had to ask every customer to donate a bag of coffee to the troops overseas. Sounds good, right? You'd think so. However, the bags cost $10.99. Every time I asked, they flipped out over the price. Not only that, but I cannot tell you how many times people threw a huge fit and said that the troops did not deserve coffee. I was just pissed because I don't want people shoving their political ideas down my throat as if I have to agree with them.

Care Plan Pimp

At my store, we have to push the credit card, the rewards program and sometimes also donations to our charity.


Curtis P

At the gas station chain I worked for many years ago, the suggestive sell one year was "Our Cigarette Cartons are specially priced. They make great stocking stuffers."

So horrible that I still remember it over a decade later.


I hate suggestive selling too, but let's face it, it can pay the light bills. (yeah, one time owner, so I have that insight..or is it a curse?)

Anyway, when I worked at a department store I would do my suggestive selling in an entertaining way. "So, we've got the stereo in the box ready to ring up. Is there anything else I can get for you today? Airplane Tires? Tickets to Tahiti? (holding up the item of the month) Perhaps some brand name mints?"

Regardless of their decision, no one could ever accuse me of NOT suggestive selling. And in fact, many times the jokes were so good taht I ended up selling the item in question! I still hated it, but at least we all go a laugh.


Fortunately I haven't had to do this, and don't encounter it that often.

What makes me laugh is when I encounter something similar at restaurants. The new thing seems to be that when you place your order, the waiter/waitress always addresses someone stating "Oh that's my FAVORITE!!!" or something to that effect.

Thing is, in a restaurant that falls through very quickly. When you hear the waiter or waitress go through that spiel at every table, for a different food each time, it's like...what is the point of making them do that?

I understand the intent, but in restaurant circumstances, with people sitting near by and being able to hear it over and over again, it's REALLY obnoxious for the patron (once the humor wears off)and probably 10x worse for the person doing it, since they have to repeat it all day every day.

Admittedly it does succeed in getting me to tip a bit higher, just out of sympathy for the waiter or waitress, who is probably getting tipped less by other patrons because they're irritated by the whole thing.

Addy the Explorer

On the other side of this I get why companies try to get us to make add on sales, my store is at that worrying point of will we close down next year if we don't make sales each and every day? Each little bit of cash helps and I understand the need for more sales.
But yes, personally I hate, HATE, suggestive selling, especially when it comes to CC's with ridiculous interest rates, ours is around the 27% mark and honestly, who wants to be stuck with that kind of financial commitment? We usually only suggest the card when people are buying large amounts ($400 or more) as they get a 10% discount, but 27% of that kind of purchase each month is nothing to laugh at.
We are pretty lucky though when it comes to our suggestive selling, we can suggest anything we can think of that would tie in with what the customer is already buying, but still, it can be a headache. We also can get written up for not trying hard enough to make them spend, so on that note, does anyone have any tips for suggesting items? I've tried humor, but most of my customers are the humorless bored/snotty housewife types who spend most of their time glued to their cell phones while their hellspawn run wild through the store.


@Addy: Ritalin? Oxycontin?


Anyone who has ever worked at a Barnes and Noble will agree....the 'nook'.

Large book stores have an entire check out style counter the smaller ones have a table with a smallish display, all with nook and nook products;
nook lights
nook covers
more fancy nook covers
plastic nook backs in different colors
baby fetus USB port attachment
extra cords and crap you will eventually loose
and all other assorted paraphernalia for the monster that is the Barnes and Noble 'nook'.

The worst part is... each day some poor sucker is designated to the nook check out counter (or little table where you just stand and push this bitch like your first born son) for however long the daily schedule tells them to stand there.

I've seen co-workers chained to the 'nook table' for 3 HOURS IN A ROW. To simply stand there and shove this thing at people, pass out little papers, and generally loose all sense of dignity and self worth.

Keep in mind that the nook is 199$ or 149$ for the wifi only imagine trying to up-sell every single customer from their 25$ book purchase to a 200$ electronic monstrosity :/

Oh, and BN employees didn't get discounts on nook's.....just recently did we get it for 111$ if we bought a refurbished model.

Here's a tip for anyone in a corporate position: Before you want people to push your messed up illegitimate lovechild of a product, acknowledge that we're the one's who get your sales. It's the retail drones who are on their feet for hours each day schmoozing customers and doing your damn dirty work. Don't wait until your crap is 6 months old and already reduced in price (it was $259 or something) before noticing the people who are getting your numbers..

Anony Sale Monkey

Where I work we have started to be trained up in the art of suggestive selling.

They are also hoping to bring in a 1-2% commission for us all as incentive, but head office is being a bastard!

Anne M

(big chain grocery store in Canada)

Not sure if "Donations" count. It used to be once or twice a year (that was fine), but now it's every freakin' month! The cashiers at my store have the delightful opportunity to ask each and every customer whether they'd like to donate to ____ (depending on the month).

It's wonderful, especially when our more outspoken custy's think it's the cashier's fault and pin the blame on us. I just work here...

Jaded ExRetail Slave

They have us doing suggestive sales at my supermarket job. Yes please buy more sweets for your Hellspawn!


At LukewarmSubject, we have to upsell tons of things at the register...and I have to ask every single customer. About every single item. Also, if the customer buys anything that has a combo sale (buy one x, get the second 1/2 price!!!") we have to point out the sale, and try to get them to take advantage of it.
Me: "hi, did you find everything you needed?"
me:"do you have an HT+nofun card?"
me:"would you like one? It's our free rewards card"
me:"okay. I see you picked out some hairbows, did you know they are buy one get one 1/2 off?"
me:"would you like to pick a second one?"
me:" okay. I see you picked out a belly ring. Did you know Those are buy one get one 1/2 off?"
custy: "no"
me: " Would you like to pick a second one?"
me: " would you like to donate a dollar to the lukewarmsubject foundation for music and arts?"
me:"what if you got a free gift?"
me: (finally gets to the total/money taking bit)
custy:(understandably irritated)

I'm so tired of hearing no.


I'm at B-Cubed too. I hate our push items and suggestive selling. Right now at our store it is a set of wooden spoons. How the hell am I supposed to sell that? Its not cheap ($12.99 I think). And wooden spoons soak up bacteria. I think it is slightly easier if you use/know the product or if its cheaper or if the product is useful for more people.


I work at a bookstore that rhymes with Hoarders and the suggestive selling they want us to do is AWFUL. I hate having things pushed on me, and I don't feel comfortable doing so to the customers. But we get yelled at if we don't.

Especially around the holidays, the sheer number of things is ridiculous. I usually only ask one or two things pertaining to whatever the customer is buying. (If they're almost elligable for a promotion or if they're asking for a book similar to one they've read and enjoyed.) But I can't even tell you how many times I've seen my manager piss customers off by asking them EVERYTHING.

- I'm going to give you a free rewards card. (I disapprove of his "I'm GOING TO GIVE YOU" method, but whatever.)
- Do you want to upgrade to the paid card?
- Do you want to donate a book to our book drive?
- Do you want to buy a plush moose?
- Have you considered buying gift cards, they make great gifts?
- Are you interested in e-books? Let me show you our e-readers!

And every single one of those required a complicated explanation of the details. We even have little scripts taped to the counter that we're supposed to use!

I'm just glad we aren't pushing 'make book' titles anymore. Most of the time they were horrible books nobody would want to read anyway. =|


At Haire's, we have PwP (purchase with purchase) and they are so hard to sell. Who wants to pay 3.50 for a tiny hair clip or 5.50 for a tube of "mood-changing" lip gloss.


Dec05God Hey Mark, me and you go back a long way and you know I always say it's imrtopant to laugh at yourself. It shows character. But please understand that without these fundamentalists i wouldn't get layed so much. I love them. I won't save half of them. But I love them. If your blond have big titties and will worship at God's pole, you've got a one way ticket to the pearly gates!


Katie,Okay... I thought I am an anuedturovs eater, I guess not! Because none of these thing here I can eat (yet). Maybe one day!!! I admire you though!

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