Every two weeks, we do a beverage order with the #2 soft drink supplier in the world. Although we briefly got our regular call from a lovely woman named Ivory, for a long time I’d end up making my order with one of many 19-year-old Britney Spears-sounding call centre workers they have at HQ (or whatever). This has changed. It appears that a grown-up from North of the Mason-Dixon line is our regular salesperson. No offense to the Britneys, but I was glad to get the same person on the line from week to week again.

And yet? Despite talking to this person on a biweekly basis, I have found no improvement. They don’t make note of anything I say beyond what I order (and they usually get them right). I have never once taken them up on one of their upselling deals. If I haven’t ordered a BiB of ginger ale, it’s because we don’t need one. And, perhaps most especially, I couldn’t care less about upgrading our frequent buyer program; a one-screen cinema with a wee lobby would still take four years to ‘earn’ the iPad you keep promising us.

Upselling is part of the sales industry, obviously, but explaining to a beverage rep (on a biweekly basis) that it’s the cinema’s policy to not sell bottled water, or energy drinks, renders them speechless. Especially when they’ve told just told you, in the most rehearsed, robotic way possible, that these things are ‘really hot sellers in your area’*. When you do not leap at the opportunity to get a free case of a ‘healthy option’ like diet green iced tea or grape-flavoured water, with the purchase of two cases of some other (even less healthy, less popular) beverage that you don’t stock anyway, they are flummoxed. Surely, our customers want MOAR SODA and guarana and the same filtered water we can give them out of the soda fountain (but in a bottle!)! Surely, they want more than 15 options (not including all our tea varieties) for beverages! What is the matter with you weird commies who don’t believe in choice?

Well, to paraphrase Edina, most people don’t want more choice, they just want nicer things.

This applies especially to our staff who (mostly) patiently wait while people deliberate for ages at the front of the queue, regardless of how long they’ve been in line. We have a lot of options, but not enough not to confound otherwise intelligent people who have (apparently) never seen a popcorn bag before. (‘Oh, that’s so big! Maybe I want a different size instead. What do you mean there’s a display that could have given me a very good idea of my options?’)

(Okay, no, we don’t have combos to take the pressure off adding things in your head, but the taxes are included, so you don’t have to add anything too complicated, and our prices are cheap.)

(No, we don’t have hot dogs. Do you see any evidence of hot dogs on the price board, counter, or anywhere else? Yes, I’m sure we never have. No, we don’t have some hidden in the back.)

We don’t want to make things worse by adding even more items to our already overtaxed counterspace. No we don’t have hot dogs, and no, we didn’t have them last time you were here either. No, we don’t have Becel either. No, we don’t serve fancy lattés – could you imagine the noise and how much longer the wait in line would be? You are welcome to bring in any of those items (even though the idea of carrying melted Becel around is disturbing – and please please please don’t spill it) if you don’t like what we’re serving. no, really.

Having said all that, our ice cream supplier is now down to two options in the ‘luxury’, full-sized bar game, and that ain’t enough. So if anyone has recommendations of ice cream bar suppliers in the Ottawa area, please let me know.

* Lorelei says ‘Dirty!’

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