I received an email from Waitrose inviting me to take part in their survey. Now I don’t mind helping out from time to time, giving up a couple of minutes to help improve the service a company provides me with, or (more likely) telling them where they need to improve when I’ve been on the receiving end of poor customer service.
As I read their email further I found this:
The full study consists of this initial questionnaire which will last about 45 minutes in total and a diary we would like you to complete over a 7 day diary period.
Hang on! 45 minutes?
The diary will last about 9-10 minutes each time you complete it, and we would like you to fill in the diary a minimum of 3 times
Plus at least 30 – 70 minutes for the diary?
OK, consider this. Waitrose would like to use something like an hour and a half of my time for free. True, they will enter me into a prize draw to win some vouchers but we all know that’s a carrot which is very unlikely to translate into any tangible remuneration. Let’s suppose for a moment that I normally charge my time at £50 per hour, that’d be worth £62 minimum. Now if they had to pay 1,000 people to undertake their survey that would cost them something like £62,000. So they would be getting a lot of time for free, in accountant-speak that would be a saving of £62,000. Pretty neat, huh?
And then I read the bit about privacy again.
Waitrose may wish to match your individual answers against other information they hold about you on their database, and may use the information to improve their products and services and how they tell you about these.
Provided they nailed down the privacy element then perhaps I might have been more interested if they had offered some real remuneration rather than the fiction of a competition entry. I don’t necessarily mean paying me £60 (!) but they could have offered everyone a £5 voucher or, better still, promised to donate a decent amount to a charity for each completed survey.