I registered–about 10 years ago–with a local research firm that does consumer product testing. A friend of mine clued me in on it and said it was really cool because, when they called her once or twice a year, she got to go in and give her opinion on up-and-coming products as well as products she used in her home regularly. Oh, and the pay was really great.
For the last ten years, I’ve received a call once or twice each year to find out if I could make one of their studies, but I’ve never been able to mesh my schedule with when they needed me.
Well, it finally happenned! Yippee! I got a call on Friday asking if I could attend a study from 6:45-9 on Monday (yesterday). I said, “Well, wow, I can actually do that!” The screener asked me a bunch of questions and then told me how to get there and to bring a photo I.D. Before we hung up, she said, “Oh…is there any reason why you wouldn’t be able to taste-test pudding?” When I told her no, she said, “Okay, we’ll see you then. This study will pay $85.”
Wha?? $85 not only for just two hours of my time but also to taste pudding???? How great is that???
So, off I went last night, to the research firm. After a short wait, six of us were ushered into a small conference room. The woman running the session welcomed us and told us how valuable our opinions are for product development, and–oh, by the way–our conversation was being observed from the next room and we were being filmed so she could type it up later or something.
We ended up being there until only 8:30. We basically just talked about 20 products of various types (food items) that were on the table and listed their pros and cons. She asked us to come up with ideas for different foods that could be packaged in new ways. For example, “What other foods could you imagine being packaged in an aerosol can?”
At first I had a hard time trying not to look at the mirrored wall and squint and try to see how many people were “observing” us. At one point I even considered waving like a complete idiot. After a while though, I forgot all about them and let my opinions fly. Cameras? Who cares. I now know that if The Osbournes was still filming, I could be totally comfortable in Ozzy and Sharon’s living room, trying to figure out what the heck Ozzy was saying and who exactly he was talking to. And if Jessica and Nick were still married and living in Calabasas, I could totally have a conversation with Nick about how much Jessica paid for those sheets and how fiscally irresponsible she was, without worrying about the camera being in my face.
The “session” was really fun, and although I knew about ten minutes in that one of the main reasons for us being there was to prod our homemaker minds for ideas so some high-paid executive could take lunch early because he wouldn’t need to come up with something new next week, I knew I was getting paid…and I’m not going to explore a future career in food development, so it was no big deal.
At 8:20, the moderator told us she was leaving the room to see where we needed to go from here. She came back and told us we were done for the evening. That’s right, no pudding. But I was fine with that: we were done 40 minutes early!
As we left the office, we were all handed envelopes. When I got to the car I opened mine to make sure it was the promised $85 and not just a scrap of paper saying, “Sucka!”
It was a check…for $100! I got a raise! Not too shabby for just talking, which is what I do best! I hope they call again in a few months!
If any of you live in the Chicago area and would like the firm’s info so you can register and possibly get a totally sick paycheck for 90 minutes of “work”, e-mail me at the link to the right and I’ll hook you up.
Have a great day!