Suggestion selling is a national conspiracy

Helena Rodriguez

“Do you want pantyhose with that?”
I’m not joking. That’s what a salesperson asked me at a clothing store where I purchased an outfit recently.
That store clerk set off just about every nerve in my body.
No one knows better than my daughter, Laura, that my biggest pet peeve is suggestion selling. You know what I mean? You go to buy one thing and then the salesperson suggests another to go with it. I bite my lip every time it happens, and here lately, I can’t seem to get away from it.
The last place I expected it, though, was at this clothing store. While ringing up my purchase, the clerk asked if I wanted pantyhose or other accessories to go with my skirt and blouse. I looked around to make sure I wasn’t at a fast-food joint.
I was irked but managed to maintain my self control, unlike my former brother-in-law, who took an aggressive stance against suggestion selling. He was known to shout back, “If I wanted to Biggie size it, then I’d ask for it!”
I have been tempted, though.
One national fast-food chain is notorious for suggestion selling but heaven forbid they ask you a question you want to be asked, like, “Do you want ketchup with that?” Note that the ketchup is free. They will, however, ask if you want something you didn’t ask for, which is not free.
At one drive-in, I forgot to specify whether I wanted a small or large milk shake, so they took the liberty of assuming I wanted large. When I complained to the manager, he explained that was the policy. If you don’t indicate what size you want, you get large. He reluctantly exchanged my order.
At this same place, mind you, they ask if you want French fries, jalapeño things, a bathtub of soda, a French manicure, or a new Porsche when you order. But when you order a drink, it’s too much trouble for them to ask what size you want. It’s not much trouble for me to tell them what size I want either, but if I forget, I shouldn’t be brought the most expensive item.
I bought a drink at another store and was asked if I wanted a pretzel or chips with that. I asked the cashier if she was required to do that and she replied, “Yes, but I’m used to it from my other jobs.”
Great. Just what I wanted to hear. It’s a national conspiracy!
I dread going to shop for my first cell phone soon. I’m one of the handful of people left in this universe without a cell phone, and frankly, I haven’t missed any important calls yet. It’s hard enough just getting a home telephone. The last time I ordered home phone service, I just wanted the basics, but they went on to ask if I wanted Caller I.D., call waiting, voice mail, a second phone line, a direct line to The Oval Office, speed dialing to Mars and conference calls with God himself.
Do other people despise suggestion selling as much as me? Does it work, or does it leave you fleeing, hanging on to your pocketbook for dear life?
I welcome your suggestions about suggestion selling. But don’t be surprised if you call me and I ask, “Do you want fries with that?”
Helena Rodriguez is a staff writer for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at
helena_rodriguez@link.freedom.com