I had just finished paying for some magazines at Hartford’s Bradley International Airport before heading back to San Diego when the cashier asked me:

Daryl Cagle / msnbc.com (click to share)

“Do you want some gum with that?”

“No,” I told her.”

“Some water?”


“A newspaper? “


“How about a candy bar?”

“No!! Just the magazines.”

I went to my doctor due to a stomach problem. After the exam the doctor asked me:

“Do you want a prostate exam with that?”


“How about that exam where I grab you where the government does and say, “˜Now cough’?”

“No. I just wanted the physical.”

“A face lift?”


It’s called suggestive selling.. Sales mavens absolutely insist that that this so-called “add on selling” is the easiest and cheapest way to increase sales and customer satisfaction. And here I always thought it was just pushy, obnoxious, aggressive, pain-in-the-posterior selling. But they insist it works. Books, CDs, tapes, costly workshops, detailed employee training programs ““ all focus on suggestive selling which “gives customers options.” It’s a nice way of saying pestering someone until they break down and they agree to buy something else.

And these days EVERYONE is doing it.

For instance, right after President Barack Obama decided to tilt on the side of the Arab League on Libya and make the U.S. part of the no fly zone coalition, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turned to him:

“Mr. President. How about we do a little more than the no fly zone?”


“A teeny weenie bit more?”


“Gaddafi’s lying to us and still butchering his people. How about we lob a few missiles his way?”


“How about we lob more than a few missiles? How about we send out 100 missiles at a total cost of $100 million in a single day? That’ll make a dent!”


“Do you want some gum with that?”


“How about some cigarettes?”

“YES! But don’t tell Michelle.”

Joe Biden recently attended an event that IE’s sources say was due to some suggestive selling from government and agency bigwigs who appreciate his tireless efforts over the years.

“Do you want an IRS office after you?.”


‘Do you want an Amtrack station named after you?”


“How about we name the mouth of a river after you?”


Conservative talk show hosts do suggestive selling all the time. For instance Glenn Beck routinely uses suggestive selling on his shrinking Fox News audience:

“How about my saying Barack Obama sympathizes with terrorists so it reinforces and reaffirms your fears about him, your dislike of his politics and your dislike of him personally?”


“How about buying all my books and merchandising and making me rich?”


“How about accepting whatever I say and making my views your views as I write on my chalk board with chalk because I don’t have the crayons that I normally use when I write?”


“How about hearing how Obama wants to destroy the economy and in its ruins declare it the “˜United States of Kenya’?”


“How about hearing how Obama doesn’t wear underwear?”


I mean: really! You have to ask yourself. Why is this spreading? What kind of a PERSON could actually think that “suggestive selling” is anything but utterly annoying?

PS: How about checking out my blog? How about following me on Twitter? How about giving me my own cable show?


Copyright 2011 Joe Gandelman

Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared on cable news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and moderates. CNN’s John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He can be reached at [email protected] and can be booked to speak at your event at www.mavenproductions.com.

Follow Joe Gandelman on Twitter @joegandelman.