Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Why Do We Do It? - a rant against market researchers

Here follows a rant.

I was at my local uber-hypermarket today - reluctantly, but I was in the area anyway and popped in for a few things. I survived in a reasonably calm frame of mind, and was leaving the store when a market researcher grabbed me. I should have walked on but, hey, it was a nice Spring day and I, stupid mug that I was, felt like helping my fellow human.

I left the shop ten minutes later feeling as if I had been stripped. Why do we do it? Why do we tell total strangers the most intimate details of our lives without even the promise of cold, hard cash?

Not only did this woman know my opinion on the biggest supermarket brand in Britain and their effect on my neighbourhood (told her that one in no uncertain terms), and which supermarket I used usually (it ain't this one - something she obviously found hard to believe), and about my shopping habits generally, she also full name, my address, my age, the fact that I am widowed without any children at home, and that I used to run my own business but that I wasn't doing that any more. Why did I tell her these things? WHY?

I nearly walked away from her twice actually, when I felt she was getting too personal, but politeness kept me there, and so she kept on digging, and I kept on squirming. What made it worse is that she didn't stay objective. She kept on making assumptions and interjections. When I said I thought that the best thing the company could do for the locality was to support local producers of food and other goods (it was all I could think of in response to the question) she then, when I was reluctant to say what the occupation of the head of the household was, said (forgetting in the ten seconds since I had told her, that I was a widow - thanks) "Is your husband a farmer?" Stupid cow.

I am so angry with myself for falling into this trap again. I swore I'd never do another survey after I let one of them into my house and they left with apparently every detail of my life and I was left feeling violated. That's what you get for being nice - no more Ms Nice Puddock! That is it! I came home and cut up my Uber-hypermarket loyalty card and tattooed onto the back of my hand - DO NOT EVER EVER SUBMIT TO ANOTHER SURVEY EVER AGAIN!!!


reasonable robinson said...

The best way to stop this happening is to say 'Sorry but I'm a Sales and Marketing Director reponsible for Consumer Insight so I'm familiar with with process I guess that count sme out dosen't it"

Most Market Research companies screen out people who 'in the marketing club'

Puddock said...

Excellent rr! That will be my line from now on!

JennyB said...

While hunting for a job, market research came up... I thought about it for at least two seconds and decided it was a job for losers... too intrusive, too cold (if on the street), and of no use whatsoever.

I too have succumbed to being scrutinised; now I just smile and say 'No' firmly as I walk by. It's the smile that throws them!