/ Food & Drink, Shopping

Enough already! No, I don’t want fries with that

Mesmerising fries

Have you had enough of being asked whether you’d like a muffin with your coffee, a coffee with your muffin, a gigantic block of chocolate with your newspaper or a loan with your overdraft?

I know I’m not the only one annoyed with shop assistants upselling me extras when I get to the till. Helen contacted us via the Which? Convo inbox saying:

‘I think the sales pitch that now always graces the end of the Post Office counter worker’s spiel is deeply annoying and totally unacceptable.’

And it’s not just the Post Office. It seems most chain shops now have standard lines that their staff are forced to jump in with when you’re at the till.

Sugar and a cherry on top?

Like Helen, this annoys me intensely. Every time, the same thought runs through my mind: ‘But if I’d wanted that attractive range of mortgage products, bottle of fizzy water or cut-price sandwich… I would have asked for it.’

I’ve yet to have a Michael Douglas/Falling Down moment of rage where I snap this back at the poor person serving. Instead I bite down my natural reaction and mutter a “no thanks” before walking off, with the goods that I actually wanted to buy.

Who will buy my till-side extras?

So I’m annoyed. But I channel that annoyance into making sure I never buy the extra thing I’m being offered, even if I am slightly tempted. That doesn’t seem to work out very well for the company concerned – if everyone acted like me, the company wouldn’t make any money from the tactic.

I can think of just one time I actually bought the extra – recently when buying a card I did actually need some stamps… so I popped next door to the bank to get a small loan and then bought them too. (OK, I was joking about the bank – I bought the stamps with the card).

But am I in a grumpy minority here, or does this strategy work with you? Do you sometimes say ‘go on then’ and buy the extra item suggested?

Are you bothered by being ‘upsold’ items when you’re at the till point?

Yes - if I wanted the extra thing I’d have asked for it (80%, 209 Votes)

No - I don’t mind, occasionally it’s useful (20%, 53 Votes)

Total Voters: 270

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When I order a vodka and coke I was always met with the “Do you want to make it a double for just…”. I now ask for a single vodka and coke which avoids the annoying question but still confuses some of the less intelligent bar staff who ask anyway.


This does annoy me too. I haven’t encountered it yet at the Post Office but it sems to be compulsory at W H Smith. They invariably invite me to buy one of their discounted chocolate bars which have been kicking around the counter for days. Recently I noticed another customer was seduced by the offer so she bought two big bars of chocolate and then asked for a bag to put her, by now bulky, purchases in. Needless to say they charged her for that as well. Superdrug is another annoying miscreant in this respect with “Do you want any stamps or top-ups today?” uttered in a bored drawl. This usually happens when I’m trying to remember the particular pin number I need to use on that occasion so I muck up the payment and delay the whole queue. Super.

loskie says:
15 August 2012

No this does not annoy me at all. I am perfectly capable of saying no as most of you should be. I do sometimes feel sorry for the assistant/bank worker/shop worker who is told to ask this question. I sometimes say “yes” when asked do I want help packing my bag and the response is usually one of great surprise. You should all say yes even if you just have a couple of items….just for devilment.
But it is certainly not worth getting annoyed over.


I too feel sorry for the assistant – they most probably have a really boring job and just to make it even more boring the manager asks them to try and flog something that isnt selling in the store and that no one wants

Keith says:
16 August 2012

The shop assistant asks the question he or she has been told to ask – I answer ‘no’ and we both move on with our lives. It takes about 5 seconds, and doesn’t annoy me. I wouldn’t like to be in their shoes, having to ask the same question over and over again. Sometimes, however, shop assistants will continue to try and sell me additional product insurance even after my first ‘no’. That changes things, because they’ve now stepped over the line, and I find that annoying.

Sophie Gilbert says:
16 August 2012

At the bank it’s “would you like an ISA with that?”. It doesn’t happen systematically thankfully. Sometimes it annoys me, sometimes it doesn’t, it depends on the kind of day I’m having, I guess. But I won’t take it out on the people asking, like loskie and Keith I have a degree of sympathy for them. But we could all do without it, couldn’t we?…


I had not thought about this and I probably just say ‘no thank you’.

Which? Conversation has helped me appreciate a lot of problems I did not realise that I have.

Richard says:
16 August 2012

Usually I just say no, but the most annoying is when I ring Three for anything.

Every time I ring they say that they have an offer for a new additional contract for good customers like myself ( paying the bill presumably, six months with them isn’t exactly gold plated customer material). Being single, why I should want a second 2 year contract is something that baffles me.

I was bored one day and said what have you got to offer me, and then they put me through to the sales team and the person didn’t have a clue what I was being put through for. Wow that made me feel special.

Helen says:
16 August 2012

Richard’s article quotes my letter – which, granted, may have been a bit strongly worded, just as I got home from town, the post office being one chore too many! I’m struck by the generosity of the people commenting so far and wondering, am I really so uncharitable?! I don’t actually object when a shop assistant mentions a cheap deal on, for example, a bar of chocolate, as it takes a second to be told and a second to say no. But it’s the big financial institutions who try and sell you their financial products that bother me (nb not the person at the counter who’s obliged to do it – which is another reason I’m annoyed with the institutions!). Many of the banks are not in the public’s good books, for good reason, and listening to cold-selling when you’re innocently withdrawing your money or purchasing stamps – all couched in friendly sales-speak – really does irritate me.


Helen, I know what you mean – I too am impressed by the saintly endurance of some of the commentators.

Perhaps I’ll fashion myself a ‘just say no’ type badge to wear at the till, slightly like those Baby On Board ones London Underground has. Or perhaps ‘no means no’. Or ‘don’t even ask’. None of these are exactly friendly, I grant you.


mcdonalds are becoming well known for upselling now. What part of medium big mac meal with medium coke do they not get. They tried to upsell to large big mac meal with large choc milkshake and an ice cream and onion rings. which would have added 25% to the bill. Spent more time in there saying no, no, no, no than eating the food.


I am far more concerned with supermarkets that entice us with ‘buy one – get one free offer” on fresh food’, usually after pushing up the price of the individual item.

It is just another way of getting us to buy more than we want and particularly hard on single people who may either have to eat more than they want or waste some of the food.


I’m with Richard and Helen on this – I find it really annoying to be offered things that have only a tenuous connection to what I’m buying. If I pop into a shop to get a newspaper and they offer me chocolate, I don’t really get why. Likewise if I’m at a bank paying in a cheque and they offer me a loan, I get *really* annoyed.

I think there are some times when these extra offers are nice – for instance if it’s something that might genuinely be useful (i.e. stamps with a card, as Richard says), but so often it just seems like a desperate attempt for the shop to hurl more products at you than a genuinely thoughtful offer.