When does it Become Inappropriate to Push Products on our Customers?

What is your opinion?

 …When I was a Barista at a large coffee shop chain. I often worked the window and the bar closest to the window during the morning rush (because I was good and fast…if I do say so myself). The company wanted us to push their latest instant coffee that we were already getting feedback tasted like dirt, and I believe the product failed, but we were expected to push it like used car salespeople. Now, I didn’t mind doing this when it was slow, but during the morning rush, when people were on their way to work and the line at our window could stretch around the block despite us flying to get their orders out, I definitely did not want to push the instant garbage to our regulars who were on their way to their jobs and had already said no the day before, and the day before that. In the morning rush, I could literally name every one of the hundreds of customers that came through, and I could tell you what drink they wanted and their opinion about the instant stuff I was expected to sell. In a properly staffed shop, I would be able to chat at the window and pitch the product, but since I was also making their drinks, running for their pastries and ringing them up, anything more than a “hi” seemed to be a delay, specifically if they had already refused the sale. So, from your stand point, I ask, “Was I wrong?” To me, it was better to keep the line moving and our customers coming to us than to push an additional product they already told me they didn’t want, and delay them on their way to work. I would love to know your thoughts on that. Sorry for the book, but those questions made me want you to apply them to this.

-Josh Wrenn writer of My Friday Blog

In your honest opinion:

As a customer, what do you prefer?

As a fellow retailer, what would you do?

As a level of management, was his judgement off base?

13 thoughts on “When does it Become Inappropriate to Push Products on our Customers?

  1. To be honest, I agree with Josh, from experience as a customer but also as person who would have had to sell something to the customer. The moment you have time to chat about the product you can sell it. Then you will be able to reach the customer and spark interest in the new product. You will get them to try it. But if you have no time to really talk it up, customers will stick to what they like unless they are “adventurous” anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I spent many years in retail on both sides of the employment spectrum. From the management side I understand having a required sales pitch. On the other side of the pitch is the customer, who in my book is more important. Continually giving the same pitch can drive regulars nuts and potentially away. I’d rather keep the customer and toss the pitch!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! It’s sometimes as simple as welcoming a customer to try a new to them product you think they may enjoy, and once they decline or accept you’ve done your service to your company and more importantly to you’re customer. That balance is there, thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As a customer, I wouldn’t want you to. If I was keen about the product, I’d ask. But since you already knew the which customers said no and which you’ve asked previously, then you’re right. Good on you for trusting your instincts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. And that product definitely did flop. It wasn’t because we didn’t push it, the reviews on it sucked, & I thought it sucked too.

    BTW, thanks for the mention and use of my example. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with you on this one. It depends on how much time you have to work with and who you are working with. If you know your product and intentionally push a bad one knowing it is so, it’s unprofessional.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. As a customer, I would have been super grateful that you weren’t willing to push that crap on me. As a former retail worker, I would have done the exact same thing you did. And yes, your manager was way off base. You clearly knew your customers and what they wanted… sometimes you have to trust your instincts. My guess is that if you had kept pushing the unwanted drink on them, they would have stopped coming to your coffee shop…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’ve never worked in retail. But as a customer, when i walk into a coffee shop, I know exactly what I want by looking at the menu. If I don’t want the instant coffee, I won’t order it and asking me if I want to try it isn’t likely to change my opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love responses from the customers as much as the retail workers, after all the customer is who we are trying to please!

      And personally I must agree when it comes to coffee. I’m not one for making coffee at home, that’s why I’m at the coffee shop. 😉


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