It started with a random call about two years ago. I didn't pick up the phone at the time because based on the name that appeared on my caller ID display all signs pointed to the dreaded telemarketer.
When I later checked voicemail the lady on the other end of the phone said "Hi this is Sandy from Acme Marketing Research and we have an upcoming focus group about beer that pays $75. If anyone in your household is age 25-34 and enjoys beer please have them give me a call."
Ha ! Did I fall asleep and wake up in hubby's fantasy world. Getting paid to drink beer? It didn't get any better than that as far as hubby was concerned.
Alright, admittedly she'd piqued my curiousity but the cynical part of me thought Right, like somebody would pay for that kind of thing. Its just a scam to get us to buy something.
But I saved the message anyway.
A few weeks later when my curiousity got the better of me I decided I'd call. The beer group had already happened but she had another study coming up on shampoo and well "lets just run through these questions and see if you qualify" she said cheesily.
It turned out for this study, I would need to pick up the shampoo, use it twice,document my opinions in a journal and then later meet to discuss the product amongst others in my demographic.
Hmm...sounds a little sketchy. Is this a reputable shampoo company, I wondered, or the "we're offering you $75 to ease the pain of the hair loss that our shampoo will cause you company" ?
I think she sensed my hesitation because she then said "Oh don't worry this is a known manufacturer that you've seen on your grocery store or drug store shelf for years. They've tested this product thouroughly and this is the last step before it is officially rolled out to consumers"
Alright I think. That sounds fairly legit. Besides, I can always back out later,right?
Still a bit nervous about what to expect, I reluctantly agreed.
Let me tell you these marketing companies now how to treat a girl. Plush offices near the lake , snacks ( good snacks mind you and not the donut and standard stale coffee that you know sat in the pot all day) , good conversation and $75 at the end of it all.
I'd died and gone to heaven.
Because if there are two things I like to do its give my opinions and get money.
It was like crack y'all. Since that time I've "registered" with several other marketing research firms and given my opinions on everything from cereal box designs to childrens television programming and been paid as much as $225 for one study.
In fact, this afternoon I'm doing a group on Health and Wellness which pays $175 for a 2 hour interview.
I can't get enough of these things. I'm constantly checking the sites and calling for every little thing I think I might be qualified for. I'll do anything for a focus group.
In fact I think this concept is so great that I've began to give my friends a little taste. Telling them "everyones doing it" "It'll make you feel good."
My name is Worker Mommy... and I am a focus group whore.