Mar 7, 2012

Would You Like Fries With That? Part I

During high school I worked at McDonald's. One of the strategies we were taught was to up-sell. Always suggest another item for the customer to buy. "Would you like a fresh apple pie with that?" or "Would you like to add an order of fries?" became the byline. I don't know why but it really bothered me to try to push a product when the customer already had the menu before him or her. I passive/aggressively refused. One day, the one manager I actually liked had reminded me to up-sell for the third time and I managed, again, to "forget."

"Next time you don't suggest another product, I'm going to write you up," he warned me. Oh, no. I'd be written up at my dead end job as a McDonald's robot. However would I go one in life? The threat was still useless.

Since that time, I have found that up-sells are common but they bug me just the same. I can read. If I wanted a fresh apple pie, I would have ordered one. Better yet, I would not be at McDonald's. I like to emphasize the "fresh." The best place for a lesson in up-sells is Maui. Take a tourist who knows very little about many services offered in a new place, and the ground is fertile for scamming.

First stop - car rental. Scott had reserved a compact car. The line was long and there were representatives at every station. It puzzled me that it was taking so long to get our car. Although I did realize we were now on Maui Time. We reached the friendly and helpful associate who greeted us with an exuberant, "Aloha!" Quickly typing in the information provided, he asked if we wanted to upgrade the insurance to premium or just buy the basic. Fortunately, my husband had already called our sister-in-law before leaving. Rental cars are already included in the policy. No additional insurance. We were then offered a car upgrade. For only $100 more a day, we could get a Corvette. What if he dropped that price in half - only and extra $50 a day? No? Did you plan to drive the Road to Hana? For only an extra $15 a day, we could rent an SUV. A jeep would be very helpful for any off-road driving. That's when I laughed at him. He looked at me strangely but I later explained to Scott that my older sister and her husband had gotten a jeep. It didn't have a top. They rode to the volcano on the island and it snowed on them. In the end we were issued a Chevy Malibu. Because we're cool like that.

First thing the next morning, we were off to rent snorkel gear. I saw the sign in the window. Full snorkel gear for only $9 a week! We entered and requested the gear. Oh, but for that rate we would only get the crappy snorkel gear. The next highest but mildly crappy snorkel gear was $20 a week. BUT for only $5 more, we get the best on the market. READ: Standard Issue.

I fingered the shorty wet suit and mused, "I wonder if I should rent a suit." Mark, who will further be referred to as Slick, strongly encouraged me to do so. He was our best friend. He told us intimate details about himself like that he lived in Utah once. He named a town that was relatively unknown to non-native Utahns but could tell us nothing more about the town. He boasted his kid is going to college in California, has a 3.8 g.p.a.! Slick himself attended college because he was a linebacker on the football team. He had to quit because he kept getting hit in the head. He told that story to us 3 times, each time with the same inflection and pauses, expecting us to laugh at the appropriate times.

"Hey! Did you want to snorkel at Molikini?" Slick asked. "I can get you a screaming great deal on a catamaran."

"How big is the catamaran and how many people will be on it?" I asked. I'd read my travel books.

"It's rated for 88 people but we only book 67," he replied. "I can actually save you more money if you want to listen to a timeshare presentation! All you have to commit is two hours. That's it." Scott looked dubious but I thought it would be a good activity for a down time day. I also rightly held low expectations of the catamaran size and sardine-like quality but we walked out of the store with two snorkel sets and two tickets on a snorkel tour with Slick's absolute confidence that we would see dozens of sea turtles at Turtle Town, a different snorkel site on the tour. Total cost: $13.

We spent a glorious morning and early afternoon on Kapalua, the name of a beach that I can still barely say and closely resembles 100% of all of the names of beaches, towns and mountains on the island. Truly, I demonstrated an incredible amount of restraint when talking to any number of people who would reference a beach, road, mountain, or volcano and they would smoothly spit out a word with a couple l, k, p, or n sounds riddled with far too many vowels. I would stand there staring stupidly, blink once or twice and bite back a laugh and accusation of, "You are SO making that up!" Bottom line is that I really didn't care what they said. I just wanted slather on the sun screen, pull the flippers onto my feet, create a vacuum with my snorkel mask and very ungracefully flop into the surf until a wave knocked me over. That moment determined when I would start snorkeling.
The cost of this activity? Just my dignity. And worth every ounce of it. I'd lose more of it later in the week.

This guy? He kept his dignity throughout the week. Stay tuned.


Kimberly said...

HAHA...isn't that annoying?!
Every time I pull in to a Tim Horton's drive through they're always asking if I want a Boston Cream donut with my tea...ummm does it look like my thighs want them?

Stacy Uncorked said...

The upsell always drives me crazy - especially when they don't take "No, thank you" the first...or millionth...time. :)

Now I'm curious to see if your hubby actually did keep his dignity throughout the week... ;)

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