Perhaps I’ve just not been very observant until now, but over the last two months I’ve begun noticing that just about everyone wants my opinion. Everyone I do business with, that is.
Restaurant and drug store receipts have 800 phone numbers and / or internet sites for surveys. When I call any customer service number, there’s often an invitation to “take a brief survey” afterwards. Even many Internet sites, including federal government sites, pester me with a pop-up for a survey.
For the most part, I ignore these entreaties. As I suspect you do. Not that I’m lazy. Not that I don’t have time. Not that I object to giving my opinion. No, I have a serious philosophical issue with most survey requests.
In this market economy, if a business wants my opinion then you know it’s not for philanthropic purposes. They want my opinion to make money for themselves!
And if they’re going to make money from my opinions, isn’t it only fair they throw some “ka-ching!” my way? Completing a survey takes time. And time is what…? That’s right…money! So if they want my opinion, they need to… show me the moneeeeeey!
But most businesses wanting my opinion aren’t offering any immediate reward. Instead, they offer a “chance.” A chance in a weekly drawing for $1,000. A chance in a monthly drawing for $3,000. These are both offers I’ve received recently.
As a poker player, I need to know the probability of a “chance” before I invest in it. So I asked a friend with access to the Florida State University supercomputer here to crunch the numbers for me. It took only 1.3 seconds to learn my chance of winning: fat chance! So that’s why I don’t take surveys for a “chance.”
The most “rewarding” survey I’ve taken so far was a few years ago in San Francisco. We were at Pier 39 , a shopping complex near Fisherman’s Wharf, and looking for a reasonably-priced lunch. That’s a tough assignment in the San Francisco waterfront area.
As we passed someone with a clipboard (a sign of a survey taker), he asked if we’d be interested in sampling some sandwiches. Free lunch? Tell us more!
We’d be given three sandwiches to eat as much, or as little, of as we wanted. Before, during and after sampling each sandwich, we’d answer a few questions. And at the end, we’d each receive $10 for our participation. Well now…getting paid for a three sandwich lunch is a no-brainer. Bring ‘em on! (I polished off two of the sandwiches completely but only a bit of the third, which I did not like. And we were given Cokes to wash them down with too!)
Turned out it was Burger King (my favorite burger) testing three non-burger sandwiches. Two were chicken sandwiches on a small hoagie roll and the third was some sort of “Southwestern” barbeque that never made it to market. (That barbeque was the one I did not like.) The two chicken sandwiches eventually appeared in the stores but I think one of them has since disappeared.
I’m not greedy. I’ll take even just one dollar for my opinion over a “chance” to win four and five digit amounts. A dollar may not seem much but…
With that one dollar I can play a 60-cent poker tournament where three of the nine players will get paid. If I finish in first place, I’ll win $2.25. I can then enter a $1.20 tournament where the top finisher gets $4.50 but if I lose I still have 80-cents for that 60-cent tournament. And so on. Or… for eleven cents, I can enter a World Series of Poker ladder that could lead to you watching me on TV at the final table for a multi-million dollar prize. That’s what one dollar can do!
The other reason I’ll take a dollar over a “chance” is this: these promos were probably developed by the top purveyors in the world of “you might win!”… Publishers Clearinghouse Bureau. You’re probably better off investing in Albanian war bonds backed by AIG!
There is one survey I regularly take: Burger King. Because in maybe two minutes I have a redemption code for a free Whopper with purchase of any size drink and fries. Not a “chance” but a Whopper. That’s value!
Also, Sonic offers a 44-ounce drink for taking their survey. That’s worth about $1 or $2, depending on whether or not you’re buying at “Happy Hour” when all their drinks are half-price. Burger King and Sonic are willing to show me the moneeeey and so I’m telling them all just as if it was Connie Chung interviewing me in a “it’s just us two” session…. 😉
Oh… before you go, would you please take a brief survey about my blog? If you do, you’ll be entered into a drawing ten years from now for a chance to win a very rare bottle of Growlin’ Gator Lager I‘ve had for over a decade , or maybe even two. (Do an eBay search to confirm that one bottle is at priced at $6.)
To enter, just leave a comment about whether you think The Sunday Blog:
a) has delusions of adequacy
b) suffers from megalomania
c) alternates between both of the above
d) you’re too polite to tell the truth
e) want my opinion?… show me the moneeeeey!