The Cross Sell / by Susie Lubell

Up sell at the gas station

Israelis are masterful at the up sell and the cross sell. It seems like with everything you buy there is the option to get something along with it for really cheap. Or not so cheap. This goes for the regular stuff like health insurance add-ons or services you don't need from the phone company. I even got suckered into buying some fancy conditioner from the guy at the hair salon to help keep the salt and stone that is apparently in the water from wrecking my hair. The supermarket is especially notorious for the up sell.  The checkers always offer you one of the specials sitting right there. Would you like some mushrooms for ten shekels? A jar of jam? Gum? Two for three shekels? Or if you spend a certain amount they'll sell you a toaster or a set of glass cups or a towel. I'm usually so flabbergasted by the end of my grocery shopping, what with Screaming Jeepers McSpongey Butt strapped onto me making me sweat like it's the middle of summer, I always pass.

The other day I was at the gas station and saw that for a mere 24 shekels I could get a pastrami sandwich, a bottle of water and a pack of mint Mentos to go! I don't know why but that cracked me up. Maybe because it made me think of those Mentos commercials that are so obviously made in Europe or who knows where and dubbed in English.

In fact the gas station offers a world of cross selling opportunities. Marketers take heed! Mr. Rosen came home a few weeks ago from the gas station with an espresso machine! Here we go... We were on the market for one after having a delicious coffee at our friends house not long ago. But instead of buying the one they had which would have been the smart way to go, Mr. Rosen went with the model at the gas station. Only 500 shekels ($150) which unfortunately is quite cheap here. Except it took Mr Rosen about half an hour to make a cup of coffee and it made so much noise the baby woke up and the coffee tasted like diesel fuel which is what you get when you buy an espresso maker at the gas station. Not true. The coffee tasted fine but did not seem worth the effort. We figured we'd just add that to the account we've set aside for newcomer miscalculations. Sunk cost. But after cleaning it up and repackaging it, and with my encouragement and a very believable story (it was such a good deal my parents bought us the same one in white and my wife prefers the white one), he was actually able to return it a week later.

I'm hoping the cross sell applies to house cleaning services too. I'm actually hoping to hire someone to clean my house twice a month one of these days. And I'm hoping that in addition to the usual kitchen/bathrooms/floors/dusting regimen, s/he'll try to cross sell me on windows, laundry and childcare. It won't be a hard sell.