Wednesday, September 21, 2011

KISS: Keep it Simple Starbucks

Starbucks logoImage via Wikipedia
This is a guest post by Vanessa Burke

It used to be that if I wanted a cup of coffee there were only two options; out of the tin in the kitchen and at the diner. The other day I walked into Starbucks and asked for a regular black cup of coffee and the kid behind the counter scoffed at me and immediately pronounced that “We don't have regular coffee.” I said to him “Fine, I won't give you any regular money,” as I walked out the door and made my way to the gas station to get my caffeine fix.

Everywhere we turn, businesses try to take advantage of innocent consumers by putting is in high pressure sales situations. They keep low-level employees on their toes all of the time by intimidating them to make sales or get fired if they don't reach their quota. When we are faced with these situations, it's hard to get what we actually want or need. It's also an easy way to become manipulated into buying frivolous upgrades and accessories that we might not be able to afford.

If businesses kept their employee rhetoric simpler I would be more inclined to buy what I need instead of spending all of my cash on suggested stuff. Here are some ways to avoid awkward situations and save yourself money when entering the retail and hospitality arena:

Retail

The other day I walked into Best Buy to check out some prepaid cell phones. As soon as I entered the door I was ambushed by about 4 different employees asking if I needed help finding anything. I politely told them no and went about my business. When I finished up in the mobile section, I headed over to the video game department to pick up something for my son. I was instantly bombarded by three more employees who wanted to “help” me.

An easy way to save money in the retail sector is to turn to Amazon or eBay. All of the product descriptions are already posted and you can get honest opinions from real consumers.

Coffee


As illustrated earlier, coffee has gotten way too complicated. I think that places like Starbucks and other coffee chains are losing a good deal of business because people are too frightened to order a regular cup of joe in fear of a verbal lashing from a “coffee expert.” In order to save money in the morning, try making your coffee at home instead of purchasing something with a name you can't pronounce.

Fine Spirits and Brews

This might be the most embarrassing part of the modern consumer culture. People who work in liquor superstores and behind bars always have a high-strung attitude when talking about their product. What if I walk into one of these stores and just want a case of Bud Light for Sunday football? Instead of going to a large liquor store specializing in exotic spirits, try going to your local supermarket for more savings.

Restaurants

In my opinion, suggestive selling has completely ruined the restaurant industry. What was once a nice way to get out of the house and not have to cook or clean up for yourself, is now a thirty minute sales pitch from a pompous server with a liberal arts degree. If you want have a restaurant experience without the sales pressure, try ordering take out and eat your food at the park. Not only will you save money on drinks and appetizers; you will also save on the tip.

The next time you go out to a store or restaurant, just politely dismiss the obtrusive help. Don't blame them for the annoying over-service, blame upper-management and the increasing corporatism of America.

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