Many businesses offer rewards, or the chance at prizes, for giving feedback after patronizing their stores.
And I take advantage of each opportunity with the hope of winning a $500 gift card, some free food or 15 percent off my next purchase.
While those sound great, some of those are ploys to get shoppers back in the store.
Sure, I would love to come into the store for this weekend only to save 20 percent on a bunch of crap that I don’t need.
I can spend $100, but save $20 — which actually means that I just blew a bunch of money and then I was made to think that I am going easy on my wallet.
However, most of the surveys are a chance to win an instant prize, or enter the customer into a drawing that there is a good chance nobody actually wins.
I had entered one of those drawings once, and sent an email to the store to see how I could get the names of the winners. My intention was to go to a website and my name would appear after I won the grand prize of two giant jet skis, or something else very “practical.”
I was sent a reply that to have the names, I would have to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to some address and they would send me the names of the winners.
That raises some important questions: What is a stamp? And, is this company trying to protect the winners from vultures who want to sell them jet ski insurance? Or, is it something more sinister? Are there actually no real winners and those who entered are actually candidates to be kidnapped and hunted for sport?
I just wanted to know right away if I won anything, and now there is a chance that I will be chased by men with crossbows and rifles? You can keep your jet skis!
But I digress.
What I am really trying to point out is that I am not sure how to answer most of the questions on the survey.
I am a much different shopper than others (most women). While in a department store, I spend about five minutes in the area that I need to, then purchase the items and I am back in my car within 10 minutes.
For some people, I won’t mention any names (but I am engaged to her) shopping is a daylong process. It includes looking at clothes, finding something appealing, looking for the correct size in the item, not finding it, then looking again for the correct size, not finding it, picking a different size, trying it on, sometimes liking it, other times getting mad at her boyfriend, repeat.
But I don’t think for either of the before-mentioned shoppers there is much attention paid to the outside appearance of the store.
So if a survey asks me, “How would you rate the outside appearance of the store?” I click on “undecided” or “satisfactory” unless there is something to tip the scale, like a dude murdering someone outside, or free pizza.
Nor do I normally ask a sales associate if they have a different size in the back of the store. After years of shopping, I know that there is nothing in the back of the store.
My size in khaki pants are not in the back of the store. If the store has that size, the pants are on display. Some people expect the store employee to come back and say, “We had every other pair of pants on the store floor except this one pair that fits your bootie perfectly. It was in the back hanging on the magical unicorn’s horn.”
When I am asked, “Did a sales associate go above and beyond to help you?” I am not sure how to answer that considering I never wanted help. Even better, how do I answer that if I just walked into a restaurant to pick up a pizza. How could I give a bad mark to anyone who hands me a pizza?
Another question that is terribly difficult to answer: “How do you rate the amount you paid for store items?” Do you ever answer “highly satisfied” to that question. If I paid $20 I would have preferred to pay $10, or even better get the item for free. Is it wrong to never admit that I am OK with a price? Am I reading too much into this one?
In the spirit of customer feedback, I am offering a survey to readers. I hope for high marks, but either way, to give feedback on this column, people may go to this site: http://alturl.com/p749b.