Yesterday my mom asked me to stop by the hamburger joint and pick her up a No. 1 on my way out of town. So I did, and ended my order with, “… and that’s all.”

“You want Tater Tots with that, sir?” came the reply. Actually it was, “Yyywontaetosswithatsuh,” by the time it came garbled through the speaker.

“No, that’s all.”

“A drink with that?”


I’m sure the kid at the other end thought, “What’s his problem?” My problem is I hate upselling, the practice of trying to talk customers into buying more than they want. The other day when I took my son to see “The Hobbit,” I made my order at the concession stand, and ended it with my standard useless conclusion: “…and that’s all.”

The robotic guy behind the counter started the upselling routine, which made me grouchier with each, “No.” When he asked me if I wanted to get the next size of drink up for only a quarter, I said testily, “No! I said I wanted the small. This is for a 10-year-old boy.” He was literally turning his back on me by that point with the larger size drink cup in his hand, assuming I would say yes.

I was thoroughly pissed off by this time, but I’ve trained myself not to take it personally, because these retail people don’t have a choice. They’re instructed to upsell. As the man was checking me out, he asked, “Do you care to answer any more pointless questions that only serve to remind us all what a crappy place this is?”

I laughed and thanked him for his snark.

“I could tell you were tired of hearing the spiel,” he sighed, and suddenly got this look on his face indicating that part of the job humiliated him. “We have to ask customers that stuff. I hate it, but the thing is, it works.”

I know, I know, me and my First World Problems.

UPDATE: You want a First World Problem? Here, in an Atlantic headline, is a real First World Problem:

Why Do I Still Feel Uncomfortable Playing a Gay Man on TV?