I’m (not) So Glad You Asked

Getting darker

It’s a gray day – perfect for a rant.

This wasn’t the plan. I was going to finish a draft for Monday’s (today) post, when I received one of the most annoying emails ever. Nothing malicious or evil, not some piece of spam that snuck through the filters, not even someone asking me to donate money to some screwball cause, like their sister’s wedding:

 

“…Beth has always imagined having an island wedding with the groom arriving on a white donkey while she stands ankle deep in rose petals – won’t you help make her dreams come true? Click here for our GoFundMe page…

No, this was more annoying.

This was a request for me to write a story about my new storm door and share it with all the other customers at Lowes. If I don’t have time to write a story, they are willing to settle for a review on their site.

The door had been hanging in the doorway for precisely 37 hours!

Send me a link to a survey about the installation process. I have some things to say about that, some good, some not so good. Then, send me an email next October and ask me if I still like this door – If it hasn’t warped like every other storm door – if it still closes on its own – if it kept the rain and snow off the porch for 12 months – and if the retracting window / roller screen thingie hasn’t separated and become permanently stranded at the bottom of the door, I’ll say some nice things. Until then, please accept the hard-earned money I paid for your door and let’s call it even.

Amazon is by far the worst and most annoying company regarding feedback. They sent me three emails last December, asking/reminding/almost demanding that I write a review of the wood stove tools I bought in November. The problem is, I bought them as a Christmas gift. Amazon routinely badgers me to write reviews for books I’ve purchased but which I have not read. Whatever happened to a favorable review being something I wrote if I felt like it?

I don’t rant often. It feels good. I could probably fill a blog with rants. I won’t, but since the sluice gate is open, here are the some other feedback-related things that annoy me:

Surveys that evade the real issue:

Was the flight attendant nice to you?” “Was the waiting area clean?” “Did the pilot greet you as you were leaving the plane?

Yes, yes, yes, but the flight was late and I was crammed into a kindergarten-desk-sized seat and given 11 stale mini-pretzels and 3 ounces of Seltzer to wash them down. Where are those questions?

Surveys that ignore the value of my time:

We appreciate that you rated your room a 10. Can you please tell us two or three things that impressed you about the room?

No! The room was fine. I gave you a 10, because if I gave you a 7 you would ask me to write an essay on what made the room so horrible.

Badgering begging and bemoaning:

After we’re done, please stay on the line for a survey. And, I’d really appreciate all 10’s.

We’re selling candy bars to raise money for orphans. The employee who sells the most gets Thanksgiving off.” (At the checkout of a pharmacy, no less).

My boss says if I don’t get all 10’s, I won’t get a raise next year.”

You should all call in sick on Thanksgiving and make you dumbass bosses come to work.

I really would prefer to keep my transactions at a you-deliver-I-pay level. I’ll let you know if I’m unhappy. I’ll let someone know if I’m extra happy. If I came to your store or website to buy something, and you had it in stock and I bought it, we’re done. That’s called shopping, it’s not a life enriching experience for either of us.

82 thoughts on “I’m (not) So Glad You Asked

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  1. Begging, badgering, and bemoaning are the worst. I get surveys from Amazon all the time for Kindle books I’ve purchased, usually, like you, ones I haven’t yet read. Writing a story about your storm door is more like a prompt for a flash fiction piece on a blog, rather than a real thing. That’s kind of funny even while annoying. Let’s add to the “worst” list any survey that wants you to rate something right away (unless it’s food, I guess.)

    I don’t know if it will be a grey day here, as it’s still dark and will be for almost two hours. I’d really rather be sleeping, but tossed and turned all night, so I just got up at 4 and decided to at least get something done. Hope your day gets better, Dan, although for all I know, this isn’t even the day your talking about. :-)

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll happily add your suggestion to the list. “Please rate that set of luggage…you haven’t even cut the tags off of” It’s really annoying. Sometimes, I think they want you to guess, and write a good review before you use the stuff. I’ve noticed some review requests that expire after one week. Like you say, OK for food, but not everything.

      It’s never ‘the day of’ on this blog. My day job prevents that, and I haven’t yet been to the bar at 6:04 am on a Saturday (although, tempted is another thing). This email arrives Saturday night. I installed the door on Friday. I’ll let you know if it survives the winter, a wet spring and a scorching summer.

      Sorry you couldn’t sleep – I hope your week goes better than that start.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Icould write volumes. I understand. Amazon ticked me off early in the game by ‘censoring my reviews, not from cursing or meanness but because I stated we were LSU fans and that was not ‘allowed’. Like you, I get asked to review gifts I have sent and then if I write too short a review I get reprimanded. Grrrr……If a potential buyer requests info I am happy to help. Other than that Amazon can jump up my nether regions. Our bank, that we always loved, got into a groove of calling our house every time we conducted simple transactions through the drive through-calls AT 9PM! I so get it. Hope the sun shines bright in your world today Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Call me at 9:00 pm about a bank transaction and I’m changing banks. My wife used to have to visit a branch to deposit money into our daughter’s account when she was early-on in college. They started having a greeter who would try to make small talk with her while she was in line. “Leave me alone” in a very polite manner.

      I tried once to fill out a survey from Adobe. They asked a couple demographic questions and then said “we have enough input from people like you” and ended the survey. Adobe can jump with Amazon.

      We are sitting under the remnants of Nate today. Dark, gray, rain and yucky-hot. I’m actually happy to be at work.

      Like

      1. We both HATE being bombarded constantly for positive reviews – sometimes it feels like people forget that good customer service should be unremarkably normal :-)

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  3. I agree with you, Dan. I pay, you give me the goods, and we go on our way. If I don’t like something, I’ll bring/send it back and tell you why. I don’t respond to any of those emails because there isn’t enough time to answer questions or complete surveys about my shopping experience. I have more important priorities…like commenting on your blog posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for setting me higher than Amazon. It’s true, though, I get these requests “…the survey will only take 10 minutes…” and I think – “10 minutes? there’s so much I can do that would be way more fun than telling you about your stupid product.” I miss the corner store with the grumpy owner.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a friend that works for a big box hardware store. Her job performance is being rated by the comments given by customers who take the 10 minutes to log onto the website and answer questions. It seems more logical for the managers to get off their duff and mingle with the customers and employees, but what do I know?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Make human contact with customers? What a novel idea. But, they’d prefer having huge amounts of data so your friend can see that she’s only 99.96% as good as the robot employee they’re working on in the lab.

          I skip those surveys, because the questions are always worded so as to blame the employee. “Were our associates able to help you find everything?” NO – but not because they didn’t try – you didn’t have to item your website said was in-stock! The associate is fine, your inventory system is whack.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for doing my ranting for me this Monday morning.
    “If I came to your store or website to buy something, and you had it in stock and I bought it, we’re done.” will be what I cut and paste into every one of those stupid questionnaire text fields from now on :-)
    Les

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A rant is good so here’s my contribution. Our local pharmacy calls and calls and then texts – can we refill your xx prescription? I finally called and said please stop calling. She said they couldn’t do that so I said, okay well then I guess I need to move my prescriptions. Well that was different, but I still had to call their headquarters and spend about fifteen minutes going through the various questions to stop the calls. Each call was irritating but it was also ridiculous since several of the calls were for prescriptions that I only needed for a recent surgery. Just because they have refills noted doesn’t mean I want them refilled. I’m guessing she didn’t check my copay or she wouldn’t have called asking for unnecessary refills. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the contribution, Judy. That’s totally ridiculous. Opting-out needs to be way easier than that. I would think you would know best about needing a refil.

      They really don’t think about things. I bought replacement cutter knives for a thicknessing planer, from Amazon. They started sending me ads the following week (I replace these about every 18 months) and then they started send ads for knives for other planer brands. It’s such a waste of time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I guess I really am an evil person! I love frivolous surveys. I answer with the lowest number and when they ask me why I explain that I resent their badgering. I haven’t had time to form an opinion and I will ensure that I tell everyone I know about their draconian business practices. I rarely get a reply back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – I love it! If nothing else, I can see how that would make you feel better. I did that once, after struggling to get WiFi working on a flight. By the time it started working, the flight was half over and they popped-up a survey request for me to rate the tech-support person.

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  7. This is hilarious Dan! Thank you for a monday morning chuckle. I agree about the surveys asking the wrong questions! When everything is being evaluated based on the response, survey creators get very creative to ensuring we respond in a certain way.
    I don’t mind Amzon though – its all computer generated and I don’t take it personally. The service is worth it.
    p.s. I hope Beth got her donkey wedding 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Val, I’m glad you enjoyed this. I don’t use Amazon much, and I never respond to their surveys, or their marketing emails. I know that sooner or later, I’ll be dealing with them more often (as they continue their conquest of the retail world) but I’ll still avoid the surveys if I can. The time just isn’t there.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You know how some stories begin, “Unless you’ve been living under a rock…” Well, I guess in this case, I’m a subterranean rock-dweller, and I think I’ll stay here as long as possible! I had no idea this sort of ridiculous, monstrous “feed me, Seymour” business was going on. The banks call you for conducting an ATM transaction? That’s just insane!!

    Rant on, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It looks like it will be dark and dreary most of the day, but I got a good chuckle out of your original post and your give-and-take with the first responders (can I use that word in this context). Sometimes I give in and answer surveys, but they tend to be too long, too detailed, and too tedious. Really, how I am I supposed to differentiate on a 10 point scale? Usually something is ok, not ok, or really good–I don’t need any more options than that and I should only need to provide more detailed feedback if it’s in one of the two last categories. I won’t go into details, but in the past I experienced the same frustration with performance reviews, when I was forced to sing my own praises for essentially doing my job. If I do my job satisfactorily and you give me a paycheck, we are even.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Mike. The memory of numeric-rating-based performance reviews reminds me of a dark time. The thing about these modern surveys, is anything under a 10 makes people mad. I recently gave a rental car company a ‘2’ because their “skip the line and pick up your car” feature wasn’t working and I had to wait in line for almost an hour. I received and email asking me why I rated them so low – I told the guy to go back and read the comments I added.

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  10. Hi Dan – I tend to stay out of line for most things … it’s a whole lot easier. But quite empathise with you and your thoughts here … like you I tend to relax about things … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Amen, Dan! This is one of my annoyances too – except it’s not just the emails. My car dealership for example calls me first to tell me a survey is coming, then the badgering/begging begins.
    … and if I truly was very unhappy about the experience, what are you planning to do about it, except offer platitudes.

    I could go off on my own little rant, but I think you said it well. “That’s called shopping, it’s not a life enriching experience for either of us”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joanne. Car dealers are the worst. If you don’t give them straight 10s, they hound you to death. I was able to glean two complete blog posts out of one bad day in the service department :-)

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  12. LOL, so true! Everything wants an Ed Koch rating, now (“How’m I doing?”), and the one that blows me away is that which came after each of my husband’s hospitalizations. “A little survey..” from the hospital corporations. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Neither of us bothered to respond.

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  13. I LMAO so hard, I pushed a button and it posted my comment prematurely. I would write a review questionnaire about all the buttons and their hidden agendas if I could.
    Anyway “11 stale mini-pretzels and 3 ounces of Seltzer” LOL LOL OH LOL
    And the storm door! So relatable! Our back storm door is the like, the poster door of disrepair.
    I get really upset on the ones in which I must enter data (written commentary) in the field or my survey doesn’t count. “I couldn’t make the waitress understand that I wanted potato fries in lieu of sweet potato fries because I’m allergic to sweet potatoes. I agreed the sweet potato ones are likely tasty and better for me. Apart from the projectile vomiting, I’m sure I’d really enjoy them. I feel it’s more important for the server to understand allergies than whoever reads these surveys.” I mean, really, if they don’t care at the table, do they even really care?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ! I thought you were being brief so you could curl up with another book.

      Yes, I think avoiding vomiting is always, always always ALWAYS a good idea. The waitress that doesn’t get that, she needs a new career path.

      But seriously, a request to “write a story about your storm door” just doesn’t sound interesting to me (although I did kinda-sorta write a blog post about it).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right, but when you legit write a story for a product, that’s called COPY and I get paid for that.

        I know, silly waitress, tsk.

        I hope to curl up with another book this evening. Rumor is the people have shows to watch. Icky things like NCIS. Shh.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I hear ya, buddy. I start getting demands for reviews from Amazon before the package with the item arrives. I don’t know how many requests I’ve gotten for reviews of books that Mary read. I never filled out an eval for a hotel, because as long as the toilet, shower, and TV worked and the bed was free of bugs, I was fine with it.

    When I was a trainer, we used to call the evaluations “smile sheets,” because no one actually wanted to complain right after the class, especially if they were sending the evaluations to the person being evaluated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Come to think of it, I have received survey requests before receiving the item. The hotels have gotten absurd. You’re exactly right. clean room, working bathroom, internet access and I’m good. I don’t know what they think I ‘m looking for, The recent ones are asking me to rate if I feel the lobby looks modern and inspiring. The day a hotel lobby inspires me, I might check myself into the loony bin.

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  15. Love your picture of the patch of blue sky (which makes me think of the movie “A Patch of Blue” with Sidney Poitier; I saw part of it on TCM once): anyway, it was cool–sorry you didn’t get more than a patch.

    I wholeheartedly agree about hating the please-review syndrome. It’s also creepy how much is known about us by the businesses we patronize. I once reviewed a hotel too high because I felt a certain compulsion to review it: long story short, the manager thought that I was the hotel inspector. Anyway, never trust a review I give under compulsion: it will always be too nice because I just want to get done with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! If you badger everyone into the review process and beg them for all 10s, how reliable are your reviews? I never heard of “A Patch of Blue” – I’ll keep an eye out for it when channel surfing.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I don’t answer the surveys most of the time, often for the same reasons you listed. I get those “please tell us how you liked…” emails from a clothing store where I shop THE DAY I MAKE THE PURCHASE. How annoying is that? The one time that I had a problem with the service (or, lack there of) I received, I wrote the company a letter. All I heard back was the sound of crickets. They obviously don’t really care what we think, they are just checking off a box at corporate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They want to be able to post “99.7% complete satisfaction” without really caring if anyone is satisfied.

      Ignoring a letter is harsh. Congress used to say that every letter counts as 10 since so few people take the time to write, even when they’re unhappy.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. As is so often the case, I thoroughly agree with your rant and found myself nodding along to every point you made. I personally tend to leave reviews only if the product or service was so exceptional that it far exceeded my expectations or if it was so utterly shambolic and dreadful that I feel obliged to warn others o give it a bum steer. If most people are like me then it means that all reviews end up skewed to the extremes and that means that surveys and reviews aren’t actually very useful or informative and that means they should just permanently go away and leave us alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your logic. Very nicely done! The request for the door “story” was crazy. If I hadn’t been on vacation, that email would have arrived as I was installing the door. I might have let my frustration with their instructions lead me to writing a story.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh, Dan…..this is wonderful. Surveys–I avoid those like the plague. I think if you don’t respond after 3 tries, you are off the hook. Oh, yeah…..the old ‘I need all 10s’ quota. Gosh, I cannot stand those things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lois. The three strikes and you’re out rule seems to hold but emails #2 and #3 are getting more and more demanding. I got one last week that started with “you still haven’t responded to our survey” and went on to tell me how much time they had already given me.

      If you need all 10s, do a better job!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. See…it’s not all bad…I saw a patch of blue sky in one of those shots!! :)
    I think it defeats the purpose of surveys and feedback when nothing but a “10” is acceptable. That isn’t even realistic…..if companies really want the truth, they shouldn’t hang that over the employees head as certain things are out their control. When I work with an employee and I really appreciate the job they have done for me…10 is ok…but the surveys always add things about the business, etc that I wouldn’t rate as high, but I know full well it messes up the employee….wow…now I’m ranting….:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is the catch, Kirt. They tend to word those questions so that if you suggest an improvement with the company, it appears that you’re criticizing an employee. The power pole for charging devices in the Minneapolis airport are in the center of the aisle. It’s far enough away from the seats that you have to sit leaning forward if you want to use a device while it’s charging. But the questions are more like: “did our staff make you comfortable?” I’m sure the staff didn’t install the poles. So, I wasn’t comfortable, but I couldn’t say that.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I am just starting to see a little change in the color of the leaves here. The weather here is warmer, of course, but it just seems the leaves are bound and determined to hold green this year more than any other year in the past. I miss the colors of the north.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the dry hot weather we had at the end of the summer is messing with the leaves. We’re seeing them start to fall, but not a lot of color change. Last year was beautiful, I guess they all can’t be.

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  21. Fall color around here is a bit “off”. A lot of trees are going to brown this year without a colorful show. I did see some lovely fall colors yesterday that warmed my soul though.

    I totally agree with your rant! I usually am thinking the very same things while I hit “delete!”.

    I hope you and Maddie had a BIG umbrella, or got home before the rain started.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, our leaves are falling, but not many are turning before they fall. Maddie and I got home in a light rain. About 30 minutes later, we had crashing thunderstorms, so it was good we went when we did.

      It’s funny, Maddie doesn’t seem to mind the rain. We’ve gotten caught in it before, and she still want to touch all the bases on her walk. She’s not a fan of thunder, though, and I don’t want to be walking in it.

      I’m glad you’re with me on the rant. I’m deleting / saying no to more and more of these as I go.

      Like

  22. I worked in marketing research at one point. We were trained to write and administer surveys that were sure to get the answers the client wanted to hear. It was one of the most dodgy jobs I ever had– knowing that I was manipulating a respondent into saying something good about a crummy company. But the job paid the bills…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve attended training and webinars that teach those “skills.” It’s sad that there’s and industry around this practice and sadder that companies actually would prefer what they probably know is incorrect information to the truth. Thanks for your input!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I’m sure I’m not the only one who said, Me, me, me again as reading your post. These surveys are getting old. Last time we were at the hotel we had just checked in when my husband got a text asking him how was his stay. That one made me laugh. Kind of.
    But Amazon bugs me the most. Sometimes I just research a certain topic to see what books are published in this area. I don’t need to be sent the list of similar subjecst next time I visit Amazon. Really, Jeff Bezos?
    Your photos, though, Dan, would earn great feedback if you asked for a survey :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Evelyne. Amazon, for all its technical prowess, makes some of the dumbest suggestions on the Internet. It’s just a brute force attack, which ends up with me putting most of their stuff in the trash without opening,

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Don’t you love how these folks consider it their right and our obligation to provide feedback. Wanna bet that when we tell the truth, they obfuscate our replies?
    I prefer to use my own soapbox. They are my opinions and I will decide where, how, and when they will be presented.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Speak out. What bothers me most if that they control the feedback so it becomes very hard to be honest. It’s not the flight attendants fault the seats are so cramped. It’s not the tech-support guy’s fault that my internet is slow. But, if I want to complain, I have to drag them into it. I doubt they even read the free form answers.

      Like

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