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Market Surveys And Happiness

by Gavin, Unlock Your Happiness.com
(Cape Town, South Africa)

Market surveys can be fun, or they can be a pain in the butt at times, and can tend to drop our happiness level temporarily. Take a moment to consider these thoughts.

  • Do you ever get asked to answer 'a few questions' for a market survey being conducted?


  • Is this sometimes (or often) at a rather inconvenient time, like when dinner is being prepared, or you're relaxing after a day's work?

  • Does the caller usually omit to say for whom the survey is being conducted, but just launches off into it?

  • Does this practice tend to diminish your level of happiness temporarily?
If your answer to any of those questions is 'Yes', then the following thoughts may of interest.

Financial considerations

When a market research company does a survey for a client who wants to know how best to market and sell their products to consumers, they charge the client company quite substantially. Their invoiced amount covers their operating costs plus a profit for the owners of the survey company.

Their operating costs include things like salaries, rent, telephone calls, other overheads, plus fees paid to survey people who actually contact the likes of you and me to answer a list of questions they put to us.

What's the missing ingredient?

What's missing here, in this commercial scenario where the survey company makes a profit by providing a service to the client who hopes to boost profits as a result of the information received?

I figure the missing component is: what about your valuable time and the value to both companies of the information you are about to provide? Why are you, the consumer, not also part of the financial transaction, and paid for your contribution to the whole undertaking?

How's this for a new approach?

If you're not happy getting market survey phone-calls around supper time, or being stopped in the street to be asked some questions that are of absolutely no benefit to you, perhaps it is time to reassess the situation.

What if you were to respond immediately something along these lines?

"How long will this take? I ask this because my consulting rate is $xxx an hour or part thereof, paid upfront before we start the survey questions."

That takes about 5 seconds of your time. Add another 10 seconds while the survey person goes quiet, and you've lost 15 seconds and shut down the survey there and then. Okay, add another 45 seconds to terminate the call. And in the process you have not been unkind or rude. You have simply put a 'worth' on your own time and contribution.

It's just a thought ... half tongue-in-cheek, and half serious. :-)

As an aside...

A friend of mine needed a prescription for some blood pressure pills the doctor had recommended she take, during an expensive consultation with him. (She had since run out of the pills, and he is one-and-a-half hours' drive away.)

The fee for writing out the prescription and faxing it through was R78 or about $13 US. It must have taken the doctor about 30 seconds to write on the paper, and then there was the cost of the fax call. Yet he valued his service enough to charge that amount for it.

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