Maxing out the upsell-o-meter

Raymond Chen

Many grocery stores in the United States have a printer next to the cash register which prints out coupons customized to your purchases. If you buy the house brand of spaghetti, it might print out a coupon for a slightly more expensive brand of spaghetti. The goal with these coupons is to get you to try a fancier (and therefore more profitable) version of the product in the hopes that you will like it and switch. For reasons not important to the story, one of my colleagues needed to buy baby formula for his newborn son. He and his wife carefully researched the options and decided that the best brand to get was XYZ brand. They went to the grocery store to buy some, and as expected, they got a cash register coupon.

But upon closer inspection, it wasn’t a coupon after all.

Thank you for buying XYZ brand baby formula.

[Raymond is currently away; this message was pre-recorded.]


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