Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Phone Calling

Market Research Call

As some of you may know, I will occasionally do focus groups in order to obtain drinking money. In this way, I'm something like a hobo, or the brother of the hobo, the wino.
But this article isn't about name-calling it's about phone calling.
The pre-selection process for a focus group involves a phone interview and the one below just occurred minutes ago.

ME: This will be me.
FGG: This will be the Focus Group Guy.

ME: Hello.
FGG: Robert?
ME: Hello?
FGG: Robert?
ME: Yes, this is Robert.
FGG: Robert?
ME: Martha?
FGG: What?
ME: Hello?
FGG: Is this Robert?
ME: Yes.
FGG: Hi, Robert I'm FGG from Gladmore Research Group and I was calling about the email you sent us today concerning over the counter medications.
ME: Go on.
FGG: Ha. Well, we wanted to ask you a couple of questions to see if you qualify for the group.
ME: Shoot.
FGG: OK. First, have you had any of the following ailments in the last 90 days?
FGG: Heartburn?
ME: Yes.
FGG: Diarrhea?
ME: Boy, howdy!
FGG: Excuse me?
ME: Yes.
FGG: Yes you had diarrhea or ???
ME: Yes to both.
FGG: OK…constipation?
ME: I wish.
FGG: So, no?
ME: No.
FGG: Dry or irritated skin?
ME: Wow! You're all over the board. Yes.
FGG: Acid reflux?
ME: Yes.
FGG: Flu or cough?
ME: I have both. Both of them. Right now. As we speak.
FGG: Stomach ache?
ME: Didn't we go over that in all the question but the one about my skin?
FGG: I see your point, but I'm just reading from the page.
ME: You're a Yes Man!
FGG: Yes, I guess.
ME: Yes.
FGG: Headache?
ME: Yes - Christ, I'm not well!
FGG: Have you ever attended a focus group before?
ME: Yes, once (I lie. I go to them all the time. In fact I'm typing this from one).
FGG: Once?
ME: (I realize he's probably looking at my profile and sees that I've attended an assload of them) Um, yeah.
FGG: Are you sure?
ME: How can I be sure, seeing as I've had diarrhea, head ache, heartburn, and irritated skin for the last ninety days? Throw in the flu and I really can't tell you what I remember about my health.
FGG: Sir, I'm just asking the questions written down for me.
ME: I know, but I'm not well. I didn't realize this until we started this phone interview.
FGG: Sir…
ME: Should I see a doctor?
FGG: I'm not a medical professional?
ME: But you know some, right? I mean, that's who put you up this, right?
FGG: No one put me up to anything, I'm just interviewing you.
ME: Did I get the job?
FGG: Well, we have some more questions.
ME: Shoot – Christ, I'm sick.
FGG: OK, how many times in the past 90 days have you had the following ailments:
FGG: Heartburn?
ME: 300.
FGG: 300 times?
ME: Well, are we only counting one time per day, or – sometimes it goes away and comes back.
FGG: OK, 300 times. How about flu or cough?
ME: All the time. I've been literally fluish and coughing for exactly 90 days. In fact, I remember the day it all started, I had just been to a focus group and there was this guy there that had been sick for 90 days and
FGG: Upset stomach?
ME: I don't know. I don't feel well. I don't think I can do your focus group.
FGG: Sir, would you prefer to end the call?
ME: I don't know. I'm so sick. I think I just shit my pants.
FGG: Sir, are you OK?
ME: I don't know. I think I have that pig flu.
FGG: I'm sorry, sir.
ME: Does that get me into the group?
FGG: No, I'm sorry, it doesn't.
ME: Will you call me back sometime? You know, just to talk?

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