Tuesday, February 21, 2006

My market research hell

So anyway, the Nice Lady representing the Home Office managed to guilt me into taking part in the crime survey. I don’t know how thick-skinned you have to be to do market research for a living, but I’m guessing that if you follow it up with a foray into armed response you probably don’t need body armour.

I first learned I’d been chosen to give my input into the government’s crime survey when a letter plopped through my door a couple of months ago. I ignored it. I mean, I’m at work all week and hardly here at weekends so I presumed that if I didn’t call the representative then they would simply pick on someone else. Oh, but hang on….they included a book of six first class stamps by way of an incentive. Come on now, Home Office. To incentivise (I know, management speak, sorry…) your average busy householder to talk to a market researcher I think you can do better than that. How about a great big chocolate éclair? Or a voucher to be spent in the pub? If you give me stamps I’m just going to use them on random mailing that I don’t think I can get away with on the office franking machine, and where’s the fun in that? So anyway, I ditched the letter, used the stamps and thought no more about it. Until a Saturday afternoon about three weeks ago when a small, rotund, myopic man in an anorak greeted me when I answered a knock on the door. Ordinarily I won’t respond to the door if I’m not expecting visitors. I can’t bear people “popping round”. It makes me itch. It’s rude, and I probably haven’t hoovered, and that makes me more tense than you can possibly imagine*. But for some reason I opened the door and spent the following ten minutes trying to tell a total stranger that I didn’t want to invite him into my flat to talk about my experiences with crime. My reluctance was partly due to apathy, but mostly due to my abject fear that I would be forced to recount the tale of the time my motorcycle top-box (what?? I was a despatch rider. It wasn’t a choice, or anything) was broken into (by “broken into” I of course mean “someone moved the bungee cord and opened it”). Some documents were taken, and I had stupidly left my wallet in there. However, what was worse was the fact that, in return for stealing my (and NatWest’s) property, the lunatic thief had left me a Tesco bag filled with windfall apples. The minute I mentioned it I could sense the police losing interest in my call…..

Having got rid of Mr Government Representative, I again forgot about the survey. Until yesterday, when the Nice Lady representing the Home Office interrupted my hectic and important Working From Home by turning up to harass me a bit more. For god’s sake, won’t these people take no for an answer? She was good, mind you. She made lots of noises about how they had to fill their quotas, how I was “lucky” to have been chosen, how it was her 25th wedding anniversary today but she would still make time to come back and see me….after five minutes of this I would probably have sold her my soul for a fiver and a chocolate biscuit just to get her to go away.

As a result, I agreed to an appointment at 6pm this evening. I knew it would take upwards of forty five minutes of my time, yet I still couldn’t say no. I mean, I’d used the free stamps they’d sent me.

So I spent the whole morning panicking about ringing the Nice Lady to cancel. I am pathetic when it comes to confrontation. I don’t know what I thought would happen. Maybe I thought the Nice Lady would cry. In reality, if I’m honest, I just plain can’t say no. I worry that people will think badly of me. I worried that the Nice Lady would be upset, and think that I didn’t like her. This is ridiculous. However, it’s part of the ridiculousness of me. I can’t figure out whether it’s politeness, or fear, or propriety, or early-onset psychosis. Whatever it is, it drove me mad all morning. I don’t have an hour to spare on a Tuesday evening. I have to bath Small Person, and pack her bag for the weekend, and clean the bathroom, and arse around on the internet. After three hours of agonizing, I told myself that enough was enough. I had the Nice Lady’s number and I just had to get over my pointless worrying and sort the situation out. I knew what I had to do, so I gritted my teeth, girded my loins and took the only possible course of action.

Bless the Other Half. If it wasn’t for him ringing the Nice Lady and telling her I was busy, I would have wasted loads of time this evening.

* What?? I love to hoover. What could be better?


Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

So have you still got to do it?

21 February, 2006 20:54  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

no. the other half told the Nice Lady we were moving house in a couple of weeks...

i am pathetic. what is wrong with me?

i got sacked from a job when i was seventeen for being too afraid to ring the catering company and order more blackcurrant squash for the canteen.

21 February, 2006 20:58  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

I am currently and unwillingly changing my landline phone provider because I got cornered in Tesco by a smelly scary man in a cheap suit. I was in a hurry, I had two children under four with me yet I stood by the bread counter with him for 20 minutes with gritted teeth answering his inane fixed-grin, cheesy-toothed questions and agreed to subscribe to something I didn't want.

Why have I never ever learned to say 'no, thank you'? (especially to more cake...)

21 February, 2006 21:06  
Blogger Kyahgirl chimed in with...

thank goodness for OH!

Now, repeat after me:
No thank you Nice lady, No, No, I mean no. Bye bye now. :) *the smile is optional

21 February, 2006 21:07  
Blogger Urban Chick chimed in with...

where i worked not so long ago, it was customary to be stopped by young men wielding clipboards whose conversational starter for ten was 'hey! i like your hair!' and if you were fooled by that one (and possibly hoping for a date), they tried to persuade you to go for one of those photo sessions where you walk away with a shot of yourself in soft focus, surrounded by white feathers

i thought i would be smart (being rather unconfrontational meeself, most of the time), so i decided to pretend to be foreign and decided to be spanish so i said: no habla ingles! to the guy


and he replied in fluent spanish


[then i just plain ran away]

21 February, 2006 21:21  
Anonymous Whinger chimed in with...

I HATE to let others down, but have finally conquered solicitors of all kinds, due to my daily travels through their headquarters (I do not work where UC used to).

On occasion, one can still fool me by pretending to ask for directions, but it is becoming more rare.

Partner still suffers at the solicitors' hands, and I have found myself in the position of fending them off for her more than once. But I reason, much as OH must have, that it's saving my evening as well.

21 February, 2006 21:53  
Blogger funny thing chimed in with...

sg, you're rubbish!

Tell them you're terminally ill and only have one day left to live. That'll shut 'em up.

Oh, and I'm not exploiting you or anything, but fancy buying me a pint and re-grouting my bathroom while you're at it? I'll cry if you don't...

21 February, 2006 23:25  
Blogger mig bardsley chimed in with...

Don't worry SG, I was that lady (a few years ago). They survive just fine. I did.
It's the enormously pregnant girl with puppy dog eyes who sits on the pavement outside Smiths selling big issues I can't handle. I bought two and then tried to skip one and she practically had me in tears for the rest of the week with her big sad eyes.

21 February, 2006 23:54  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

the solution? small, incessantly yapping, foaming dogs. works like a DREAM.

22 February, 2006 02:11  
Blogger The Girl chimed in with...

I feel your pain! I'm working from home, someone just 'popped round' and the answering machine just recorded someone trying to ask me some questions for market research! Oh, the joys!

22 February, 2006 02:57  
Anonymous kristy chimed in with...

Who wouldn't want to talk about crime. What is wrong with you?!

22 February, 2006 05:49  
Blogger Kellycat chimed in with...

I don't get stopped by market researchers in the street. I just give them the "don't even think about it" look if they dare to approach me and they usually back away sheepishly without saying anything.

SG - Nice Lady was a "Stranger" so it's perfectly acceptable to be rude to her. You should hear what I say to Lloyd's Bank whenever they try to sell me a loan...

22 February, 2006 07:49  
Blogger car01 chimed in with...

I agree with Kellycat. Being rude to strangers is now second nature to me, and I must give off huge "don't come near me" vibes to whoever happens to be fervently looking for market researchees. So much so, that I often walk towards these people, almost begging to be asked, but to no avail.

Oh, and ironing is better than hoovering. What are you? Mad?!

22 February, 2006 09:12  
Blogger Betty chimed in with...

I tell market researchers in the street that I haven't got the time to speak to them, never answer the front door unless it's a pre-arranged visit, and have one of those phones which shows the number of the person dialling, so the chance of anyone I don't know getting to speak to me is remote. It's great!

22 February, 2006 10:42  
Blogger Geoff chimed in with...

We took part in a health survey a few years ago. Saved me going to the doctor that week.

22 February, 2006 14:45  
Blogger Wyndham chimed in with...

It's amazing how many times my mother has had a seizure when those people have phoned.

22 February, 2006 14:49  
Anonymous Stu Savory chimed in with...

Let your experience of crime include personally strangling annoying interviewers. Get 'quite worked up' when talking about it. Go into the kitchen for a big carving knife. Wave it about a lot. Watch PR person disappear rather quickly ;-)

22 February, 2006 21:32  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

I wasn't that nice...I simply told her to fuck off and die !

24 February, 2006 09:46  

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