The Market Research Survey Confirms it …I am Old
Last Saturday afternoon I dropped off my 14-year old daughter Melissa and her friend at the movie theater, which was conveniently situated inside the local mall. I could have joined them for a sweet romantic comedy, but that would have meant sitting alone on the other side of the theater, lest someone make the connection that Melissa and I are actually related.
So I decided to go with Plan B, a glorious two hours by myself in the mall where I could freely wander into stores that did not have clothes my daughter would wear!
I had gone no farther than the food court, however, when an elderly lady with a clipboard stopped me. “Excuse me ma'am, could I ask you a few questions?”
Normally, on my busy schedule, if I have to go to the mall it is during my lunch hour on a workday when time is severely limited, or I am with Melissa, who is committed to making sure we leave with bags upon bags of the latest junior fashions. Time does not usually allow for the luxury of taking a market research survey, but today, I had a couple of hours to kill before the girls emerged from the theater , so I figured, why not?
“Do you purchase paper towels?” Came the first question posed to me by this little old lady who stood no taller than four feet.
“Yes,” I replied.
She smiled with anticipation. “Oh good,” she said. “Are you between the ages of 25 and 44?”
I considered lying just to make myself feel better, but what purpose would that serve?
“No,” I responded, albeit reluctantly.
“Oh, ok,” she said, no longer smiling. She fumbled through all of the papers on her clip board, looking for another product to pitch.
“Do you buy mozzarella cheese?”
“Sometimes,” I responded, thinking of the relatively few occasions when I have actually taken the time to make a recipe that calls for mozzarella cheese.
“Oh good,” she said. “Do you have any children 12 or under living in your house hold.”
“No,” I said. “My daughter is 14.”
“Oh.” This time, the smile faded completely as she fretted with the papers on her clipboard once again. Clearly, she had hoped for much more from me. She tried yet another pitch.
“Do you eat cold cereal?”
“Sometimes,” I answered.
“Oh, ok,” she said, thinking that perhaps she could still salvage this interview and make her survey quota. “Are you sure you don’t have any children under the age of 12?”
Now let me think, hmmm, perhaps they made a mistake on Melissa’s birth certificate. Maybe I should call her school and tell them my daughter should really be in 6th grade, not 8th. Or maybe a six year old child has secretly stowed away in my house without my knowledge.
“Yes, I am sure,” I said, starting to lose my patience.
“Oh, ok. Well, exactly how old are you?”
“Oh, ok.” She fumbled with her papers one more time. “Do you have an overactive bladder?”
Alas, this had not been the first time the market research company has accosted me in the mall. Several months ago I had again found myself gloriously alone, on a quest for sensible black pumps comfortable enough to fit a size 10 wide. (I have the world’s largest feet, but I’ll save my shoe challenges for another story.) While making my way to the closest shoe store, a boy who looked no older than 16 approached me and asked if I purchased feminine protection products. Now, giving a teenage boy the job of asking middle aged women about their menstrual cycle was, in and of itself, quite unsettling. Convinced though I was that this violated some kind of child labor law, my curiosity still got the best of me.
A few minutes later, the teenager happily escorted me to the office of the market research company, hidden down a long corridor deep inside the bowels of the mall. I proceeded to sit in front of a computer and answer a number of multiple choice questions about feminine protection. I buzzed along, anxious to get this over with and return to shoe shopping. Then, suddenly, I stopped in my tracks.
One of the questions asked:
“How do your Maxi Pads make you feel?”
d. All of the above
Are you (insert expletive of your choice) kidding me! These are Maxi Pads we are talking about, not Godiva chocolate!
All women whose Maxi Pads make them feel happy, please raise your right hand.
Yeah. I thought so.
Seriously, during a time of the month when we are overtaken by cramps, bloating, moodiness, and weight gain, I don’t think we are looking to our Maxi Pads to make us happy. Until those dreadful five or so days have passed, let’s face it, there’s not a whole lot that’s going to turn our frown upside down.
For many years, my week of “unhappiness” came every 28 days like clockwork. These days, not so much. Sometimes three weeks will pass, sometimes two months. But it’s ok, I’ve accepted my fate.
After taking the survey, the research company handed me a whopping $7. Finally, I could return to my ultimate shoe quest, but first, I kindly asked the teenager, “Can I use your bathroom?”
Yup, it’s that overactive bladder. Let’s face it, I’m old.
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