Ah go on!

Walking down the street in town this evening on my way to post a letter, this girl stopped me. At first I thought i knew her, because she came jogging up to me, and I was wondering who it was because she had a big coat on, and a hood over her head. She mumbled something to me about a survey and free lottery scratch card and she was off. I hardly knew what I was in for as I stood there in the biting wind, answering her questions.

Her first few questions were something like this:

“Do you use the internet?”.


“Have you visited these sites?”

“Hmmm,” as I scanned down through them. “Seven out of the ten”
“Do you use email?”

“Ummm, yes!”

“How many email addresses have you?”

“Hmmm, let me see …. “. Long pause as I do a quick count. “Somewhere between twenty and thirty “.


“Ah, yeah. They build up over time, and they’re all for different things”

“O.K.A.Y. … Lets move on”

“What kind of computer? (PC/Laptop/Games console/ ipod etc)”

“A PC only”

“Do you play games on it?”


“Do you watch TV?”

“Not much really?”

“Do you watch any of these shows” (She shows me a list of programs)

“None, well not regularly anyway”

“Do you remember any of the advertising for these shows?”

“Oh god no”

“Not even one?”

“No. Advertising is a waste of space … my brain just switches off if I see it”


I was wondering at this stage if she was thinking I was a bit of a weirdo or something … but she soldiered on. She then continued to ask questions about my employment status and then about if I knew the rights that employees have … and finally asked me for my phone number, name and address. I just made up those for her. No way was she getting those details. Once they have lots of marketing details on you, they can sell their marketing information on you to people or companies who would love to call you with something to sell.

I generally like to give surveys if I have the time. Sometimes it’s a game to me to try to find out the motives of why the survey was commissioned and what benefits it may give. The range of questions can be interesting though. But in this case I think it was just get the information for selling onto others.

It was my first time actually getting an incentive to do a study. But I wonder about the scratch card. Do they know that there’s nothing to win in the cards? can they get them printed out like that so it’s a guaranteed loss every time?

When I think about it in hindsight, I don’t like the way I reacted. I needed to stop her and explain herself more about where she was coming from. I am left with that void of information now and I feel stupid for making that mistake. Hopefully, I won’t make that same mistake twice.


2 comments so far

  1. laurie on

    it’s hard to think quickly when they surprise you like that. my standard response (which is true for any surveys about politics or local issues) is that i can’t answer questions because i work for the media.

    you have 20 email addresses? i thought i was doing well (and excessively) with four.

  2. rough hands on

    True, I was not prepared for it at all, and I should have stopped her in her tracks, and found out that information … but that is the way. I sometimes hate saying no because if you don’t offer your opinion to some of these surveys, then i feel that your view may never be heard.
    On the email addresses. well i’ve been stuck in computers one way or other for quite some time now (about 15 years or so) and they build up over time. I use maybe 4 frequently, others i give when I know that all i’m going to get is junk mail … and others are really just legacy, which I can and still do get emails at. regardless, i try to filter everything through gmail which cleans out all the spam and centralises everything. On a quick count now, i have 28. On top of that, i have my own mail server, so i can have as many accounts as i would like on that … but funnily enough i don’t use it much. typical … I pay for something and then i don’t use it much.

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