Why I fill out questionnaires about shopping even though I hate shopping

I worked in marketing research for ten years, and so feel a certain loyalty to organizations that want me to fill out questionnaires or answer phone surveys, except around election time when some surveys are clearly “push-polls,” designed to trick you into believing dirt about the other candidate (as soon as I figure this out I tell the poor underpaid interviewer something like “This is a biased questionnaire, and I’m sorry but I can’t continue.”).

A few years ago I signed up to receive online surveys from NPD , for whom I felt a certain loyalty as they used to be one of our Scott Paper suppliers (and back then I used to know what their letters stood for). For a year or so I, with no compensation other than feeling good about myself, filled out incredibly tedious questionnaires, mostly about shopping.

I hate shopping, which is probably a good thing because these questionnaires wanted me to list everything I’d bought in my last shopping trip, and then to describe each of these things in unremitting detail. Now, since I hate shopping, I’d usually only have bought one thing, the thing I’d gone to the store in pursuit of. But even that one thing would take about half an hour to describe, in all the little pull-down menus that, if you skip them, chastise you in red warnings.

I finally gave up on NPD.

Screenshot_1The other day, however, I got something from US Air (sorry, have a hard time calling them US Airways, but maybe I don’t have to worry about that anymore – will they be called American I wonder?), inviting me to join something called “e-rewards.” I just got a follow-up email asking me to fill out a study about consumers (uh-oh) for which, if I qualify, I’ll get $4.00 in “e-currency.” Yet another email tells me I can choose my email currency, from the list you see here (in part).

This could be even more tedious than NPD; more, even, than shopping. I may have to reconsider.

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