Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Paean to Consumer Feedback

From the shadows to your right, just out of your line of sight, it emerges. It is horrible! A tight knot of cold terror forms in the pit of your stomach as it detaches itself from the darkness. The thing is hideous! It is nauseating! It is holding a clipboard! Every muscle in your body clenches, and you shriek until your lungs burn as it asks you, “Would you like to take a survey?”

Finally, you calm yourself. “No, I don’t think so,” you reply, inching away.

“But it would only take a few minutes.” The thing speaks in a carefully-measured monotone, its eyes staring blankly ahead.

The cheerful, painted-on eyes—all six of them--only increase your horror. “I really don’t think—” you begin.

“Surely-you-have-a-couple-minutes-to-answer-a-few-simple-questions?” it stutters out, sounding desperately forlorn. It cocks its head to one side, revealing rolls of flesh in an unnatural shade of peachy-tan, just below its ear.

“No!” you say, louder and with more hostility than you intended. “I’m in a bit of a hurry, here!”

“Perhaps a—nother time, then?” It asks, queerly accenting the final word by pitching it up a full octave-and-a-half.

“Yeah. Maybe,” you toss back, now a good ten feet past the spot where most of its eyes are still focused.

You round the corner, and are again accosted by the same indescribably-awful being, now standing right in front of you!

“It-is-a—nother-time,” spills mechanically from flabby, pale lips a heavily-medicated baboon would not kiss. “Would you like to take a survey?”

“Yes!” you yelp, tearing the clipboard from its three-fingered hands. “I would LOVE to take this!”

Grasping the clipboard tightly, you swat the thing across the face with a beautifully-executed backhand swing which your tennis instructor would have been proud of—had you actually had one. When it rises from the floor, stunned, you follow up by jabbing one of the blunt corners under its sternum.

Not knowing what else to do, the creature begins to recite the questions from the survey.

“On a scale of 1 to 5, one being ‘very satisfied’ and five being ‘not at all satisfied,’ how would you rate your—”

The rest of the question is drowned out as you sound your barbaric yawp (you’re not sure what that really means, but you read it in a poem once and it sounded cool), tugging the survey forms from their secure spot beneath the clip, and scattering them to the floor. You finish by bringing the board down hard across your raised knee, breaking it with a loud crack! “THAT was VERY SATISFYING!” you yell!

“Perhaps you would say, ‘Three: I do not have a strong opinion about this product or do not use it’?”

Pent-up rage and terror are a volatile mix. You close your eyes, seize the thing beneath its armpits, and hurl it over your shoulder through the nearest window, shattering the glass in a manner you would later describe as “somewhat satisfying.” You feel justified in your actions. You should. After all, it is your house!
***** cares very deeply about your opinions.

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