We all realize there are many types of subtle maneuverings designed to get us to spend more in retail and service situations. We know that is why we must run the snaky gauntlet of impulse buy crap every time we check out our groceries, drug store purchases or office supplies. It’s no secret to anyone that grocery stores are designed to disperse the things we really need at the four corners of the store to get us to walk all through and perhaps buy more. Bigger carts = more purchases. Sound tracks are important.
There are slightly more insidious tricks, as well. Savvy store staff will place the item you are considering buying in your hands as you are much more likely to buy if you have held it. If you are buying a gift for someone, the smart clerk will then say “And now it’s time to treat yourself!” Waiters bend down on their knees to take your order because studies show you will buy and tip more. You order a gin and tonic, they ask “Bombay Sapphire?” and you say “Yes!” People tend to buy the second least expensive bottle of wine on a menu, so savvy restaurateurs employ a big jump between least expensive and next bottle. Grocery stores greatly inflate their prices so that their “Was X, Now X” savings appear to be almost irresistible. At most stores, you don’t have to buy three to get the “Three for $2” price on an item.
There is also a new-to-me manipulation that makes me shudder, literally and figuratively.
Do you have a favorite, go-to restaurant? I often find myself paging food and lifestyle magazines, reading and researching new restaurants. I consider my options, yet frequently go back to my old favorites where I know the food will be excellent, and the ambiance perfect. It was a beautiful night to sit outside, café style, enjoying St. Louis’s Central West End, the only part of our city that really makes me feel I am in a city. Perfect weather, great food and wine, and then, um, the waiter’s hand bumped/brushed up against my back. Maybe my chair was blocking the pathway, or his arm accidently swung out? Hmmm. “How are you enjoying your entrees?” with a brief hand rest on my shoulder. Creepy! Time for the last water refill and the check, holy mother of he touched me again, did you see that? It has to be intentional! Even my darling Hubs, who is not known for noticing subtle gestures, was all like “Oh no, he didn’t!” on the third grope.
Of course, being the nerd I am, I went home and researched. There are studies that purportedly demonstrate waiters who touch customers are more likely to get bigger tips. Well, maybe at Hooters…
What if I were to touch my waiter the way he touched me? Would he have grounds for a lawsuit against his employer for putting him in situations of sexual harassment?
I am all for touching and affection between friends and family. If I want touching from a stranger, I’ll pay for it. Get your minds out of the gutter, of course I mean a massage therapist, a legitimate massage therapist! I do expect a waiter to be professional, and facilitate the enjoyment of my meal. I do not expect him to caress me. It offended me, and I can just imagine what this could do to someone who may have experienced some type of unwanted physical encounter in the past. And girlfiend/waitress, if you touch my Hubs in that manner, we will have a word war, and you will lose.
And my waiter? His tip was substantially less than my normal, and I am still debating calling the manager. I am over 50, and know how to use it!