I’m not filling out your damn survey!

Written by Jesse Wilkinson

“So that’s one scuba mask, some electrical tape and a jar of peanut butter….That’ll be $36.50, sir.  Do you want to put that on our rewards card?”

“No, just debit.”

“Do you have Air Miles?”


“Do you want cash back?”

“Ummm, no I don’t think so….” (I peer into my wallet and see a five dollar bill – that should do me for awhile).

“Okay, here’s your receipt.  Oh, and one more thing.  We have online survey that you can go home and fill out for a chance to win $5000.”  (the clerk gives me a look that indicates she’s seen my measly $5 dollar bill and I could really use the money).

At least a chance at winning the money, so go home and dance, monkey, dance for that cash.  Give us your time and we’ll give you a chance at something we know you want.

It started with one big hardware store, and now it’s become ubiquitous….everyone has a survey for you to fill out.  But wait, you can win some shit, so it’s not a waste of your time.  The big-wigs at these corporate stores have gotten together within the last couple years and realized the power of feedback after one of them read some inspiring corporate leadership book and realized they needed feedback, more feedback.  That is the answer!!

The next step was to call in the economist or chief financial officer to tell them how to get people to give up their time for this feedback to happen.  The answer came quickly, with a full eight years’ university studies backing it:  “offer them money….people will do anything for money!”.  Believe me, I’ve got an economics degree – this is the thinking that still pervades every textbook.  Forget about people doing things for altruistic reasons or for environmental reasons – economics relies on every person being driven by money.  And it strives to become a real science!  C’mon!!  Okay, I digress.

So, here’s the plan: every single goddamn store now wants to know how things went as you spent 5 minutes in their establishment.  ‘Did you find everything?  I know I asked you that verbally, but I also need to know in writing so we can file it away and add it to our big data and make charts and graphs and shit to present to shareholders.  This is important!’

‘We also need to know that the fake smile the cashier gave you was big enough, fake enough.  Did they say Hello to you?  That’s very important.  We had a big meeting about that – all the suits were there and we decided that saying hello to everyone, all the time is what we do here….so we need to know if they did that.  It’s very important.’

‘Did they maintain a smile the whole time, even while talking?  That’s what we’re going for.  We need to know.’

‘So, I know you’re busy, and you like to spend your free time enjoying life, but we’re offering you money you idiot – fill out the survey!  Everyone wants more money.  It will only take you 5 – 10 minutes.  Give us what we want, and we’ll give you a chance to get what you want!’

(Okay, I’m stepping back into my voice again.)

Does anyone actually fill this damn thing out?  I guess there must be a segment of the population that does because every goddamn store is jumping on this survey bandwagon.  I can’t go into a store now and leave without instructions to do something when I get home.  The shopping experience never ends now….days could be spent analyzing every in-store experience you’ve ever had!  It’s slowly taking over our lives! Ahhhhhhh!!

And restaurants, hotels, and resorts are all getting in on this too.  Go on our website, go on Trip Advisor, go on….go on….go on….

It is imperative that everyone knows how they’re doing.  I mean, I understand that feedback is important, but what kind of feedback are they getting from this online survey.  “The cashier wasn’t smiling the whole time”  “He didn’t ask me if I wanted a bag for my one item”.  I mean, can we not leave these encounters up to natural human tendencies and not forced corporate mandates for fake pleasantries.

I agree with some surveys when they are geared towards something beneficial for a community or a workplace, but these should be filled out because the person wants to in order to help their community.  If your survey is something that a person wants to fill out because they feel it is their duty as a citizen, then it’s an appropriate survey.  But don’t offer money to do it – that just seems soul-less.

I think I might be fighting a losing battle here, though, so maybe I should just join the survey craze.  I’m going to carry cards with me that link to my email.  Every time I have an encounter with someone, I’ll ask them to email me with some feedback on my mannerisms and small talk.  “Was I smiling enough?”  “Did I offer my name and a handshake?”  This is very important to me.

You’ll have a chance to win the five dollar bill in my wallet.

I’ll make some graphs and shit and present them to my friends, explaining why I’m such a valuable friend and worth keeping around.

But in the meantime, send us an email here at rrampt to let us know how we’re doing for a chance to win…..absolutely nothing!  (’cause we got nothing to give here but our time).


About the author

Jesse Wilkinson

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