WHEN I WAS a kid we got a Nielsen ratings diary sent to our house. The idea was you would write down all the TV shows you watched, and you’d mail back the completed diary and then they would be used to make the Nielsen Ratings, which determined the fate of television programs to stay on the air and attract advertising dollars.
They mighta mailed a crisp one-dollar bill along with the first diary, and the promise of more, but since I was the family member most addicted to teevee, it was my job to fill in the diary stuff, and I never liked homework, so our household failed as what they used to call a “Nielsen Family.” I remember writing stuff down for TV shows I liked—never mind if I actually watched any particular show that week—but I have no memory of mailing the thing in. I think now they replaced the diaries with some sort of electronic spy box that you plug in to your TV somehow.
The TV diary was a lotta work, but the memory—and the smell, did you ever huff a Brand New printed money?—of that crisp one-dollar bill never left me, so now as a fully functioning Adult, or like, as best as I will ever Function, my brain wiring makes me enjoy filling out surveys on the Internet, if there’s something in it for me. I think it makes the Wagering receptors in my brain tingle like they do for the Mega Million lottery and scratch-offs and the racetrack and the blackjack table and football pools.
When I get an email from a company that wants to ask me questions, I’m all about it, if there’s a shot at winning a prize. If some Brand just wants to pump me for info and appeal to my need to be an Influencer or some bullshit, no dice. Look at this one from the New York magazine that I pay money to get. They want me to take a “five-minute” survey. Nope!
Or hey, look at this one from Home Depot, where I dropped a buncha cash on tools and hardware so I could put a 50” TV set on my wall in the Rumpus Room. It’s entitled “OUR GOAL: YOUR HAPPINESS.
It’s so Home Depot can improve their delivery processes. I spent money on you! Howabout a little something for the effort other than “thank you?”
I fell for a deceptive Survey thing one time. They sent me an email asking about the product I bought, I think it was a pizza, and it was like “click on the amount of stars, one to five, to rate your delivery or product” or something, but when I clicked on the stars, it was a trick! I ended up on a site and they had more questions! No!
Look at Uber, howabout this Brand, it wants my Thoughts! Here’s a Thought: The next time you want my Thoughts, gimme a coupon for a thing that cancels Surge Pricing, howabout that, Uber? What do you think of that Thought?
Or Namco, where I spent serious dough on my aboveground swimming pool. Look at this crap, they’d “greatly appreciate” five minutes of my life! That does nothing for me!
Or Google, remember when they didn’t wanna be Evil? When they email you about something they want you to give them EVEN MORE information in addition to all the shit they already know about you that they sell to these other cheap-ass greedball companies! Evil! And cheap!
Here’s one that I went all in on. This Boomerang company makes pot pies, and they had a big survey.
If you did the whole thing and evaluated their product, they’d put you in a drawing for free pies for a year! That motivated and “chuffed” me! I did the survey and now, in the same way I dream about having millions of dollars when I buy a lottery ticket, I can dream about a year of the Boomerang product, which I enjoyed. In Full Disclosure, please remember I’m trying to win a year of pies, OK? Journalism! Pies!
This one is more like it, from Axios, which I barely even know what it is, but they wanna ask me some questions, and if I play along, I have a chance to win an Amazon gift card. This one I’ll go for, valued feedback–wise.
Also Triple-A, they are putting up some serious Amazon action in exchange for my responses.
Meanwhile, when you buy stuff on Amazon, they want you to write a review to help the other customers. Fuck you, Amazon, howabout stop choking my product results with bullshit paid product placements? No thanks, I ain’t typing for free! Get somebody on that Wire Cutting site to review your shit, jeez. This is how you save up the money to fly rocket ships, you sweat your customers for free writing!
Amazon even wants me to review their credit card for free! They’d love to hear my experience with the card! For nothing! No! Pay me a Service Fee!
Also did you see cheap fuck Amazon cut their charity thing? Greed! If everybody cut their Charity to save money, there wouldn’t be any Charity! It’s a fucking expense! It’s supposed to cost you to do it! Unfuckingbelievable, seriously, nice going, Bezos-breath! What a cheapskate. Go to Mars with that other asshole why don’t you, and play rocket ships. Thank you.
P.S. I just checked and the pie contest is over and I didn’t win any pies, dammit.
The MR. WRONG COLUMN is a general-interest column appearing weekly wherever it can appear. No refunds. Write Wrong: firstname.lastname@example.org
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