Oversurveyed

The other day when Kish and I were out and about I sat at a table and a napkin dispenser invited me to take a “one-minute survey” about my experience in Columbus.  I groaned and silently resolved to not take the survey — but here’s the link to it if you feel differently.

IMG_5581Modern Americans must be the most surveyed group in the history of the world — or, at least, the most survey-solicited group ever.  These days, surveys are inescapable.  Every activity seems to generate a request for you to provide follow-up information.  Take your car to be serviced, and you then get a phone call the next morning asking you to answer “just a few questions” about the experience.  Stay at a hotel and get an emailed questionnaire along with your electronic receipt and an earnest request from the general manager that you complete the questionnaire to allow them to enhance the hotel experience.  And some websites use answering survey questions as the price of website admission — one that I simply refuse to pay.

I try to be a polite person in my interactions with the working people of the world, just as I hope they will be polite with me. The constant requests for information, however, seem to be an imposition on our politeness and civility.  I cheerfully answered “feedback” questions from my car dealer service department the first few times, then started to say no when I realized that I would be called and questioned every time — and recognized that if I took the time to answer every “survey” that was thrown in my face it would consume a measurable chunk of my day.  I also began to suspect that many of the requests weren’t really for meaningful feedback, but rather sought to get consumer information that could be sold, or used to solicit me for other services.  And I realized that the more generic on-line “surveys” couldn’t possibly yield scientific results and more likely were geared to increase the click-count on websites that could increase their ad rates as a result.

So, I’m not going to take the “one-minute survey” about Columbus, thank you very much.  Kish and I like it here.  What more does anyone need to know?

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