19. Upsales suck, and this company keeps the stupidest secrets

This morning, shortly after opening and after the usual exchange of is-everyone-actually-ready and are-we-out-of-anything, and after the first large order, one of the better assistant managers said, “Hey, one more thing. When you have a large sale like that, can you try to upsell some cake?”

“No promises” was my initial response, said prudently enough, and he and I went back and forth in a friendly enough way about how many people should want cake with a bucket of chicken versus how well it was selling already, how many people wanted multiple mini cakes instead of one full-size one, and so on.

Meanwhile I was thinking how likely I was to actually spend time and effort on that upsale, and my answer never changed: not at all.

I despise mandatory upsales. They’re based on the assumption that customers are idiots who don’t know what they want and will buy whatever they’re told to. A few will live down to that expectation, which doesn’t make for a better society, and many others will take offense, which doesn’t make for a smoother transaction.

And in this specific case, we aren’t exactly overstocked on cakes… or anything else, usually, but cakes are what some idiot imagined me selling dozens more of a day.

Speaking of which, one of that assistant manager’s lines was “Tom wants us doing this,” so a little while later, when there was a lull, I tracked him down and asked, “Who’s Tom, anyway?”

“Oh, he’s Marty’s boss” — Marty being the only middle manager we’ve actually had any contact with since I’ve been here, besides a nameless corporate inspector. Tom has never been mentioned before.

I followed that thread for a bit, joking about how Tom must have been the one who trained Marty (I’m guessing Marty wasn’t trained at all but instead failed upward from store management), and meanwhile I was thinking something along the lines of “Jesus tangoing Christ.”

I’ve mentioned in passing before how annoying and counterproductive it is for employers to keep the management structure secret, but even the Gas Hole gave me more bits of info to piece together. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, though — I sometimes hear about menu changes from the customers, and guiding customers through the menu is literally half my job.

Also, Tom was described as being in charge of all locations in New England and New York, so either the management structure is flatter than it was at the Gas Hole or Tom is actually Marty’s boss’ boss.

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