mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Would you like fries with that?

Lileks visited a Barnes and Noble on Friday Night, and comments on the string of questions he had to answer to buy a book.

Which is funny, because I went to a B&N on Friday and had to answer a series of four questions to complete my purchase. Which is stranger when you consider that my purchase was a cup of coffee.

As a single guy without a whole lot going on social-wise, I go grocery shopping on Friday night - it's usually pretty empty, and since I don't have anything else better to do, I can usually get in and out quickly and avoid the crowds on Saturday or Sunday. Besides, maybe I'll get lucky. Anyway, after going to Trader Joe's and stocking up on organic free-range chicken tenders and on cookies shaped like the letters of the alphabet, I decided to stop by the Starbucks in the Barnes and Noble next door. Hey, it had been a long week and I needed a drink.

So after ordering my venti skim peppermint latte, I had to answer a series of questions:

-would I like an extra shot of expresso in it?
-would I like whipped cream?
-would I like a sugar cookie or anything else with it?
-was I a Barnes and Noble club member?

So four questions, two of which where attempts to upsell me. On a glorified $5 cup of coffee.

Now, I understand the logic for upselling. It's expensive to acquire new customers. It's much cheaper to sell more stuff to your existing customers.

And every store does it. Electronics stores like Best Buy are alleged to make more money off the extended warranties than off the actual merchandise. Even websites will often give you a page of accessories when you make a purchase. Some, like Staples, go further - after putting a free-after-rebate piece of software in my virtual cart, I was directed to a page of stuff I'd ordered in the past and asked if I wanted to order any more of it.

I do wonder if at some point consumers with think it goes too far and retaliate. I also wonder what the conversion rate for sugar cookies is at the B&N - do they move enough merchandise to make it worth the small amount of annoyance it inspires in each customer?


At 10:07 AM, Blogger tralatrala said...

If you would have bought a grande the first question would have been "would you like to make it venti for just x cents more???"


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