On Surveys

July 25, 2009 · 4 comments

It seems that most people can’t wait to share their opinion, on just about any topic, with zero prompting. Perversely, the less interested you are in what they think, the more intense becomes their desire to share.

So why do we cringe when approached by a friendly smile and a clipboard?


They’re standing RIGHT THERE, for heaven’s sake! With paper, a sharpened pencil, and an open mind, all they want to do is document for the benefit of all mankind (and the company that hired them) the gems of wisdom ready to spill from our lips.

This is not just a hypothetical rant. Today at a gas station, I almost caught my elbow in the car door trying to escape one of these opportunities.


I did door-to-door surveying, once.

I was attending Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, in the late 1970’s, and for reasons (and a cause) that elude me just now, earning cash by asking people what they thought on an important subject looked like easy money. I was to be paid per completed survey. Given my 19 years experience of the human race and what makes them tick, I was sure I would be a millionaire by mid-morning.


I lasted about 45 minutes.

That job has to rank in the “Jobs I Have Held and Hated” surveys just under “telemarketer” and “bowling shoe deodorant sprayer.”

Nobody, I repeat nobody, cared to discuss their opinions on the subject I can’t quite remember. Why? I didn’t understand. Hell, most of the time, you can’t get people to shut up long enough to tell them what you think.


My theory is that deep down, we all believe everyone is selling something.

The only way you can be sure you’re not being sold unto is to go first.

That’s why when a guy approaches me at a gas station with a clipboard in his hand and the beginnings of a “Crap, I hate this job!” look on his face, I know two things:

1. I didn’t start this interaction.

2. Whatever this guy is selling, I don’t want it, and I’m willing to risk my elbow to not have that conversation.

I’m saving my opinions, thank you very much, for this blog.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Nelia June 10, 2016 at 7:25 am

So excited I found this article as it made things much quceikr!


rickandkathy July 28, 2009 at 7:48 am

Hey Keith… I think I’ll check “other” and leave it to your imagination.

On second thought, after Kathy’s revelation that the tiger-striped suspender thong still wanders freely in our midst, I’m gonna revise my answer and cop to “briefs.” There are some things ya really don’t want to leave hanging out there.


keith July 27, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Hey Rick….briefs or boxers?


Jane F. July 26, 2009 at 4:12 pm

So funny!!! Love the cartoons, Rick. What a talented duo but admittedly, I’m just a teensy, weensy bit biased!



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