Thursday, July 07, 2011

Taste test

Some years ago I got on a list, I don't know how, to participate in opinion surveys and tests and get paid for my time. More often than not I haven't qualified for one reason or another, but sometimes I don't return the calls. In all this time I've taken part in one radio survey, which was quite clearly for a classic rock station in town. My best guess is that was probably six or seven years ago, so I'm not getting rich from these opportunities.

I've now completed my second of these sessions, this time in the form of a taste test. I reported to the Wendy's Research and Development Innovation Center and waited until my small group was ushered into a long, narrow, white room. The individual stations were set up so that you couldn't see the person next to you. A monitor was mounted to the wall, and a keyboard was below the counter. Napkins were placed in a holder on the counter.

After answering a few questions on the screen, in each station a small door to the test kitchen opened. A tray with a cup of water and a sandwich was slid in front of each of us. It felt very futuristic, even if it was in kind of a dystopian way. We'd been instructed to eat at least half of the sample before answering the questions. The way I looked at it is that I was getting paid to eat supper.

As expected, I was testing a spicy chicken sandwich. I like this fast food chain's version of one--I believe I've called it the single best fast food sandwich--but I've been gravitating more toward Chick-fil-A's spicy chicken over the last year. Out of all of the taste tests I could be selected for, this is one that I feel extremely qualified to participate in. This is especially true having gone through it. The sample sandwich is clearly trying to duplicate the one from the chain I've been favoring lately.

I finished answering the questions (and eating the remainder of the sandwich), and that was that. As it is when visiting a fast food restaurant, this experience was quick and easy. The difference is that I left with a nice sum of cash rather than spending any.

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