I went to a store to pick up a specific lotion which doesn’t bother my somewhat sensitive skin. I am not a store browser. I am not a crowd person. I have a list, an agenda, I want to walk in, buy it and head back home. I begin to feel irritation when this happens:
“Ma’am, you know today we have 40% off these lotion primers.”
Primers? Who the hell has time to put lotion on to prepare for putting more lotion on? I keep Maude’s voice quiet in my head so it doesn’t reach my lips. She immediately reacts at ridiculous ideals, often turning us into an articulate smartass.
“Oh, well, thank you,” I reply kindly to the attendant. “but I’ll pass today.”
The store attendant continues to go through the long drawn out process that seems to be involved in selling one small bottle of lotion.
“You haven’t had to deal with this long wait with any of the other chicks before.” Maude taunts in my head.
“Maybe she’s new.” I telepathically reply back firmly. “Don’t start this shit now.”
More customers have formed a line behind me; four or five humanoids deep. I breathe. I count three round things around me. I numerically reduce a price tag. I grasp at grounding to get through a purchase that is quickly becoming lengthy.
“Oh!” The attendant exclaims, as if something extraordinary just happened. “I forgot to tell you!”
“What, like, everything is free today?” I sarcastically think to myself.
“These lotions are 3 for 40 dollars!” She points to a shelf of numerous, strategically lined-up lotions. “They are extracted from the finest trees in some tropical island somewhere, mixed with leaves of plants from some other tropical island and make the skin expand until the body looks like that of a first year college student who ate carrots all of her life and ran five miles a day…” I am making up my own story, tuning out as she drones on.
Maude starts laughing.
“Don’t!” I think, because when she laughs it begins a chain reaction, and I’m striving to stay composed.
Knowing steps forward, speaking quietly and comfortingly. She is in therapist mode.
“Dear, I understand that upselling is a part of your job, and I respect that. What I’d like for you to consider is that when people like me don’t have the money to buy extra things, and we have to continue to say no, it puts us in shame. So in front of all these people in line behind me waiting while you try to sell me things I’ve repeatedly said no to, plainly, I’ll just go ahead and tell you that I am broke and cannot afford more lotions. Does that help you?”
The attendee’s face turns a bright shade of embarrassed red.
“Sorry.” She mumbles.
“It’s okay.” Knowing replies softly. “Just think about it next time, please. Take the first ‘no’ you receive as an indication someone might not have extra money, and don’t give into guilt marketing to get people to impulse buy even though that’s what your boss wants you to do.”
I know we have slightly embarrassed her as she silently finishes my transaction. A couple of people smile at me when I walk away, passing them, as if I said what they often want to say.
I feel a sense of guilt. I’ve been in the upselling position years ago when I worked a second job at a retail store. It feels exactly like begging. It is uncomfortable. It is often being tracked by cameras and/or other employees. It’s required by corporate rules of retail. It’s success is rewarded with employee commissions applauding successful guilting of someone into buying, which they usually do just so the sales person will shut the hell up.
In today’s society, asking for help in, general, makes people look at the one in need as if they are an unstable beggar, but those same people often don’t see when businesses train their employees in strategically begging customers to buy products because it’s just “upselling“.
So to all the poor who have to swallow your pride and ask for help to just repeatedly hear “no“, or be judged and kicked down when you need support, remember, you’re not a beggar, you’re just upselling the needs in your life. If businesses can do it, so can we.
Remember to upsell your needs as if it is the most exciting thing that could ever happen.
“GUESS WHAT??? Coolest thing ever! My electricity is going to be off in a week! You get the BEST deal on helping someone. YEAH!”
“GUUUURRRLLLL have I got a SMASHING offer for you! My broke down truck! A mere – 1100 dollars! Wha wha??? Could be MUCH more at the dealership! Told you this was a good deal! Booyah!”
To the meth addict on the corner, you’re not a drug addict. You’re merely upselling a medication need. To the veteran holding a cardboard sign asking for money or food, you are not a beggar. You are simply upselling the failure of America to give a shit about your life.
In fact, to all of us who need support and help, we will NEVER beg another day in our life. Instead, let us take what we have learned from corporate America, that we have the right to cease being looked at as beggars and instead, accept that we are merely up selling our needs.
That’s how problems don’t get solved and mind manipulation happens; when humans have been made to believe that the poor are just lazy but the swindling up selling from corporate America is an apparent genius commission competition between a salesperson and a potential victim buyer.