Friday, May 30, 2014

Confidential to [name of business omitted]: Here's another fine chance-to-win you've tried to hoodwink me into


by Ken

I know I've complained more than once about this newfangled fondness for trying to bribe us with the offer of a bribe that barely qualifies: the famous "chance to win" somethiing or other. However, I'm going to complain again tonight, on the well-established principle that nothing brings about change more surely than whining about something over and over.

I got an e-mail recently with the subject line "We'd like your opinion," from a company that deals in a service, a service that I have taken advantage of occasionally, with fairly pleasant results. If they had just asked my opinion nicely, I might have been happy to give it, even though in my experience these surveys seldom actually produce information of the sort that the surveyor hoped to gather. Nevertheless, I might have been perfectly happy to give it a shot, at least until I encountered one too many questions for which the offered choices didn't actually include anything resembling my actual opinion, the very opinion they claim to be interested in.

And if some little token gift happened to be included as a small reward for offering my opinion, well, that would have been okay. Unfortunately, however, these folks chose instead to offer me the dreaded chance-to-win. Here's their e-mail:

Dear [name omitted -- a person can't be too careful],

You have been chosen to participate in a quick survey to give us better insight on the [name of business omitted] experience. We are conducting this survey because we want to understand the [type of business omitted] experience from your perspective and improve our offerings to better meet customer preferences.

The survey has 9 short questions and will take approximately 3 minutes to complete.

We appreciate your willingness to participate and value your feedback. As a thank you, all participants will be entered to win a $250 gift certificate to the newly opened [name of establishment omitted, for reasons to be discussed below] at Pier 81!

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us at [URL omitted]

To begin, please click here to take survey [link omitted].


The [name of business omitted] Team


After all, somebody presumably is going to win that $250 gift certificate. And it's a nice outfit, the gift-certificate issuer. I wouldn't mind trying out the product-and-service they offer. In fact, I wasn't originally going to omit their name, since after all they aren't on the offering end of this shifty chance-to-win offer. Or are they? Call me suspicious, but as I pondered how much [name of company omitted] had actually paid for the $250 gift certificate, I began to wonder if they had actually paid for it at all, if they hadn't gotten it in exchange for promoting the aforementioned product-and-service to their mailing list. In which case, if I had included their name, I would simply have been enlisted in the promotional effort, with nothing in it for me.

So I decided not to mention that company's name either, any more than i wished to single out the company making the actual offer. (After all, you know who you are, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises.) It's possible they meant well enough.


At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

Amen. Not only is most of that stuff a complete waste of time, they are mining us for emails and phone numbers for future SPAM.

And I respond with a "are you paying ME for this survey", which ends the conversation when asked to participate in one.

At 9:51 PM, Blogger Stentor said...

Just like all the political e-mails where they ask you to sign some useless petition to ask John Boehner or some other Republican jackass like Mitch McConnell to stop doing this or pass that, it's all bullshit, because they don't fucking care. So any petition you sign is cynically used for future e-mail pitches for more & more campaigns. I've only signed up for a couple e-mail newsletters from specific congressmen & senators, now I must delete at least 20 e-mails just dealing with political pitches or messages per day, more on the quarterly fundraising deadlines.


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