Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet 2-7-11 |

Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles – Where City & County Meet 2-7-11

Last week I took my portable sewing machine in for a checkup as it’s running slowly. I asked that it be cleaned and oiled. I knew it would be looked over for other internal problems and if any were found, I would receive a phone call to authorize additional repairs. That is the accepted practice. However I was not braced for the up sell that the clerk tried to present.

I was taken aback but was successful in stopping her barrage. She looked at the throat plate – the metal plate that sits under where the needle passes – and pointed out that it had a few scratches and that just wouldn’t do for any sewing of fine fabrics I might do. She was so concerned I might snag something. I’ve had the machine for probably 35 years and she mentioned it might not be possible to order a new throat plate, but the repairman could try and buff it out. I told her not to bother as I mostly patch jeans and if I did do some “fine” sewing, I could put a piece of scotch tape over the area that concerned her. Truth be told, it looks worse than it is and I don’t believe it would snag a thing.

Then she looked at the presser foot. “Just look at how beat up it is! My goodness, you need a new presser foot.”

It is a plastic foot. I couldn’t see the damage she was talking about and besides, I told her, I have others I can use. Please just clean and oil the machine.

It made me wonder if she is a partner in the business or if she works on commission, but either way it made me leery of the store. Now I am wondering if they tell me the machine has a motor problem, and can be fixed for X number of dollars, will I believe it is truly necessary?

Another shady attempt was made after my optometrist told me I needed a new prescription for my glasses, I told the clerk I wanted to keep my current frames. She looked mightily concerned and said, “Oh, see where this is worn? You do need new frames.”

The area she showed me was the inside of the temples where the finish had come off. It did not affect the strength of the frames, yet it was presented as though it did.

Often consumers know when an up sell will be coming. It is common practice for clerks or salesmen to try and sell an extended warranty on anything you buy. Recently I purchased a hand held hair dryer for around 25 dollars and the check out gal asked if I wanted an extended warranty that would cost 20 dollars.

We become so used to these practices we may not even notice. The next time you go to a fast food place, you may hear the most common up sell we all know, “Do you want fries with that?”

Peggy writes from southwestern South Dakota, where it is calving time on the ranch. Her email is

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