Survey me not

Marcy O’Brien

I am occasionally annoyed at how frequently my inbox contains a survey. No, that’s not completely true. I am often hacked off at these relentless idiots. I know they need marketing feedback to run their business, but daily? Enuf already.

Everybody wants my opinion. I never realized that what I thought was so valuable to so many. A recent purchase was typical of the new nosiness.

A few weeks ago I bought a knit top from a catalogue company I particularly like. Okay, so I’m a good customer.

The tunic, which I planned on wearing when we traveled to New Jersey last weekend, arrived on time. Naturally, I tried it on but I liked it so much I wore it out that evening. And like so many evenings out, I slobbered some salad dressing on it. It goes with my age group. I should only wear multi-colored prints.

In order to take the new tunic on our trip, I spot-cleaned and washed it. It came out of the dryer perfectly clean but sadly sporting a hole at the neckline. So much for new New Jersey duds.

It’s not like I had nothing else to wear – I already said I was a good customer – but now there’s the rigamarole of returning it for replacement.

While the new top was in the washer, I opened my e-mail. The survey questions were lurking there, just waiting for my morning check-in:

“Your purchase arrived yesterday. Please tell us your level of satisfaction with your purchase.” Well, it was fine until I wore it and supplemented its good looks with liquid Roquefort. Was I satisfied with the quality, the fit, the color? Did it meet my expectations?

I responded, but only because I like them. I hit the send button before I heard the dryer buzzer and I saw the damage results. The hole appeared to have been clipped with scissors – an obvious oversight. I called Customer Service.

They were polite, even helpful, although of course, my replacement top wouldn’t arrive before we trucked out of the driveway. Was there another destination they could send it to? Nope. With my luck, it would arrive in New Jersey 17 minutes after we left for Philadelphia. Not taking that chance for superior service.

Within the hour I received a survey on my Customer Service experience. I was packing so I deleted it. When we arrived home from our trip, the replacement was in our mail pile. And so was the questionnaire.

Gad, these people are insecure.

I decided to take my own personal survey of these badgers. Let me see . . . there was the new car survey both from the dealer and the manufacturer. The manufacturer’s inquiries are on a rotating schedule. By the time the surveys work their way through the complete auto systems, I’ll be ready for a trade-in. STOP.

I had lab work and radiology recently. Both spun off a survey about hospital courtesy and wait times.

We bought a new refrigerator – an emergency purchase this past winter – resulting in a survey from both Lowe’s and the manufacturer.

Every purchase from Amazon – and they always come with a suggestion about another product I would enjoy. I haven’t had a chance to “enjoy” this one so how would I know? Better question, how do they know? Oh yeah – their “market research.”

So the parade of surveys continues year round. The bank. The credit union. My friends at Jet Blue. And Southwest Airlines. Anyone who has my e-mail address for any reason wants my opinion.

Funny how no one ever asks, “Were our prices too high?” Some ask about value, but then you have to explain. They all want supplemental paragraphs. They want to know me better to serve me better. Frankly, they can only serve me better when they have a sale at that rare moment that I need the item they have marked down. Happens every three years or so.

On our just-completed trip, I have so far received surveys from Hilton and Air BnB and the three national chain stores where we made small purchases – ones that already have my contact info.

I bought a cheese knife at an outlet in Lancaster. I was already in their system with my charge account. The salesperson was perfectly nice. She wasn’t brusque nor was she gushing. She did her job. When I arrived home I learned from the survey waiting for me that her name was Erin.

“Tell us about your experience with Erin.” ???? Experience with Erin? She rang up one item and put it in a bag. “How many stars can you give Erin on her sales performance?” Sales performance? She didn’t sell me anything – I waited on myself. She rang up the purchase. That ain’t salesmanship. “Would I care to elaborate?” Noooooo.

“Your feedback will be shared with Erin, but your personal details will be kept anonymous. Store leadership may reach out in the event of an unfavorable experience.” Poor Erin. Doesn’t it just make you want to write something negative to see how the “reaching out” goes? NOT.

Who has time for this?

Over the weekend we were in Costco with Richard’s family while they bought the roast for dinner. It was a mob scene. We sampled our way through lunchtime, munching on sausages, chicken Teriyaki, curried coleslaw, cheesecake and washing it down with Starbucks samples. I think half of Bergen County was there for the free lunch. One booth asked me if I would fill out a tasting survey. I declined after spotting the space for my e-mail address. You aren’t snagging me for a mere bite of turkey wrap.

When I arrived home my e-mail inbox had 397 messages. Eleven were surveys. And you know, now that I’m fully retired, I still don’t have time for this annoyance. I have a message for these companies:

Dear American Business,

Sell me a performing product at a fair price.

Then do what all our mothers taught us:

Ask me no questions. I’ll tell you no lies.

That’s my opinion. Now go away.



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