Why Buy the Cow When You Can Get the Opinions for Free?

Posted by on May 25, 2011

This is a paraphrased and slightly embellished version of a conversation I recently had with a phone survey person.


Phone Solicitor: Hi, I’m calling from Company XYZ. This is a survey. We’d like your opinions on (insert product, service or industry here) and it will take about 10-15 minutes. If you’re…

Me: You want me to take a TEN TO FIFTEEN MINUTE survey?  *incredulous*

Phone Solicitor: Yes, we can begin right now if you’re ready

Me: Whoa, hold on… You said this will take 10-15 minutes, right? Are you paying me for my opinions and 10-15 minutes of my time?

Phone Solicitor: Well, no, it’s voluntary. We’re not offering any compensation

Me: I’m sorry but clearly my opinions are worth something if they’re paying you to call me and ask for them  

Phone Solicitor: Well…

Me: And then your company will pay other employees to parse this information I just gave away for free.

And another company will assemble it into a report and pay another company to print it and put it in binders and then a bunch of other companies will pay for copies of this binder of opinions and it seems to me that everyone is going to make money off my opinions except me.

Phone Solicitor: Yes, but…

So tell me again why I should give up 10-15 minutes of my time AND my opinions for free? Because I’m really not seeing the benefit here.

Additionally, I have kids. Do you think it’s right that I neglect my kids for 15 minutes for the benefit of some faceless corporation? Does that seem fair to you?

Phone Solicitor: I will pass on your comments to…

Me: Yes, please do. Okay, bye now! *hoping I’ve just made it onto some phone survey blacklist of people NOT to call*


I get 2-3 phone calls a week from people conducting surveys. If it’s a brief political survey, I’ll usually answer because I want my views to be known. But more often than not, it’s someone wanting to know a whole hell of a lot about my shopping or TV watching habits.


Well, guess what?

The meter is running.

Time is money.



  • Karl says:

    I refuse all surveys. In fact, I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even answer my landline. Everyone important in my life has my cell. But I’ve been getting spam calls there, too, lately. *sigh*

  • Apryl's Antics says:

    I’m going to use this one, if you don’t mind. I’m usually just a bitch.

  • Headless Mom says:

    Totally using this.

    The ones that crack me up the most are the movie people. We don’t go to movies, like ever, and since I live in LA these people call.all.the.time. It’s HYSTERICAL to hear the disbelief in their voices when I tell them that we don’t go to movies, or at best 1x/year.

  • Lisa E says:

    I *might* print this out and keep a copy by my phone. Just sayin.

  • I usually hang up on them, if I answer at all. Too much of my time, and to much of theirs if I beat around the bush about saying no, like my husband does.

    I don’t answer many calls like that. Caller ID is a big help in knowing if I want to bother answering.

    • IzzyMom says:

      I would ask them to remove me from their lists, I would hang up on them, I would tell them to stop calling numerous times a day (when I ignored their calls they just called more often). Nothing made any difference so I decided I would annoy them back and I have to say, it was immensely satisfying to turn the tables on them.

  • Deb Rox says:

    I haven’t had a good surveyer in a long time–maybe because we got rid of the landline. Once I scared my son during one, he was unbeknownst to me listening. He was maybe 6. So the survey caught me while I’m a busy single mother cooking dinner. They asked me our family’s income level and I start asking clarifying questions: Do you mean with or without the cocaine I sell, I mean I’m not including the prostitution ring money, of course, because I like being a whore and it hardly feels like work, but it feels weird to leave out the drug sales since that’s what pays the rent. And then my kid’s head appears in kitchen and says “Mommy?”

  • Beth says:

    I’m so using this next time that company calls to grill me about local radio stations.

  • Surveys and telemarketers make for great blog fodder.

  • Haley says:

    An interesting idea

  • Jared Karol says:

    Wow, you are way to polite. My wife and I get in fights when she hears the things I say to the ubiquitous surveyors. “They’re just doing their job,” she says. And then I try to say basically what you just captured, and she says, “why are you yelling at me now?” And then I don’t say anything and then go down to the basement and get drunk. . . or something like that. I may have to forward this post to her so she knows I’m not the only one. . .

  • Dana says:

    It’s so right! Time is important. I don’t wanna waste my time answering survey calls. It’s good if they are going to pay me when I answer there questions.

  • BT Wilson says:

    I can’t stand those phone survey people. They always act like you have nothing else going on and have all the time in the world to spend on the phone answering questions.

  • Lisa says:

    Brilliant response! I plan to borrow it.

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