Today the BBC led with a story from busybodies at the Royal Society for Public Health (and Slimming World – go figure…) attacking retailers that like to sell their wares to a completely suspecting public.
The public were so aware, the RSPH told us, that nearly 8 out of 10 of us have noticed that we’re being upsold to every single week.
This, the RSPH bemoaned, is a disgrace. But is it really? What’s so bad about a food retailer offering you the chance to buy a lot more food for a little bit more money? Are the Royal Society for Public Health really saying you should be banned for getting value for money?
Think about the last time you were upsold to: a snack and drink with your sandwich at Tesco, those fries and a drink with your Big Mac, the rest of the wine bottle if you buy three glasses at the pub. You'll have known exactly what you’re buying, you'll have known exactly what you were paying and you'd have had the chance to say no at any point of the transaction.
Which makes the wording of the report a little bit bizarre to say the least:
“One in three buy a larger coffee than intended, upgrade to a large meal in a fast food restaurant and buy chocolate at the till in a petrol station in the course of a typical week.”
But by buying the larger size, at a fraction more, you are indicating precisely the amount you intended to buy at an amount you are willing to spend. Upselling is at the heart of a whole swathe of retail industries. It is indeed a tool to get you to purchase more but more than that it exposes you to possibilities you might not have not known were available and more accurately reflects your preferences – as Neil Patel noted the most successful upsells are those that get a consumer to realise their true need and makes them willing to purchase further.
“People who take an upsell will generally spend around 17% more money but receive 55% more calories.”
You get a bit more product that you actually want and the company gets a bit more money. Oh look, just like trade generally, it’s a win-win.
One other finding was illuminating – that this practice is actually most likely to benefit the group that has the fastest metabolisms and the slimmest wallets - the young. In fact, Slimming World and he RSPH found that:
“Young people aged 18-24 are the most likely to experience upselling, consuming an additional 750 calories per week as a result and potentially gaining 11lbs in a year.”
We all have the chance to buy some more at a price you can choose to take, completely understanding the transaction. Has capitalism ever been so delicious?