Via Consumerist comes the story of a guy named Guy. Guy shops at Staples, and is a member of Staples' reward program, and Staples recently invited Guy to participate in a market research survey. In exchange, Guy would get a $5 check for his trouble.
Instead of a check, though, at the end of the survey Guy got this message:
Your opinions are extremely important to us. Unfortunately, we have reached the target number of completes from your group today. However, your time and efforts are greatly appreciated.
Thanks again for your support and participation.
Apparently, sometime between when Guy started the survey and when he finished it, Staples filled its quota of responses. And rather than spend one penny more than necessary on survey incentives, they gave Guy the "Sorry, Sucka!" message.
The survey invitation claims that the survey was being hosted by an "independent research company," but any market research company engaged in this sort of amateurish behavior deserves to be drummed out of the Survey Corps.
I get that surveys sometimes go over quota, but any responsible professional will plan and budget for that, rather than risk angering the very people who are helping you collect your data. And in the bigger picture, five bucks (even five bucks times a hundred) is chump change.
In the end, when reporters from Consumerist asked Staples for their comment, Staples did the right thing and sent Guy his five bucks. But you have to wonder how many other Staples customers got the same message and decided to seethe quietly rather than complain to the media.
I'm guessing those customers are going to cost Staples a lot more than five bucks in the long run.