A few weeks ago my mother received a letter in the mail from Simmons Market Research Bureau. It was a 2-page survey with some basic questions plus $7 in cash. Yes, cash.
My mother did what most people would do. She filled out the survey, sent it back and kept the $7.
A couple weeks later she received another letter from Simmons thanking her for returning the survey and asking her to participate in another survey.
This time the whole family would be able to participate. She figured, Why not? They had paid $7 for 2 pages so it seemed like a pretty fair deal.
Then the surveys arrived.
Except it wasn’t a 2-page survey this time.
Or even a 20-page survey.
This time it was a 140-page Simmons National Consumer Survey.
Let me tell you, there’s a HUGE difference between 2 pages and 140 pages.
Each page is filled with question after question about what you watch on TV, what you eat, diet, shopping habits, pretty much any question you can think of.
Then I found how much Simmons would be compensating each member of my family for their time and efforts.
$20 and a cheap insulated lunch bag.
Frankly, I was more than a little insulted. So I whipped off an email to Simmons letting them know that I would not be letting any more family members complete their surveys until they could assure me that everyone would be FAIRLY compensated.
I thought maybe I was overreacting a little, so I posted on Facebook asking my readers how much they would expect to be compensated for a detailed 140-page survey. Here are a few of the comments I’ve received so far:
You can see more of the responses here.
Don’t get me wrong, my mother never intended to get rich from these surveys. In fact, she sent her survey in anyway because that’s the kind of person she is.
My point is that if a reputable market reserach bureau like Simmons wants this much information from consumers, then they need to be willing to compensate their participants in a fair way. Not by offering a measly amount of cash and cheap promotional items.
And if they’re not willing to fairly compensate their participants, then I believe that people should think twice before participating in any surveys from Simmons Market Research Bureau.
What do you think? Would you complete a 140-page survey for 20 bucks and a lunch bag? Let me know in the comments below or leave me your thoughts over on Facebook.
If you think $20 is too low, please retweet the tweet below or share this post on Facebook. Thanks!
Would you do THIS for 20 bucks? bit.ly/TofKJN
— Becky Fuentes (@ohmygoshbeck) September 5, 2012
UPDATE #1: There have been a few questions about whether it is one survey or one per person. They sent a total of 5 surveys – each of them 140-pages long and they are offering to compensate each person with $20 and a lunch bag.
UPDATE #2: Received a response from Simmons on 9/6 – “We would love your compensation would be meaningful, but I can assure you that as soon as you see the quality of our survey and the hard work we have placed into it, you will feel proud to be part of it. Moreover, we will be happy to send an extra $15 to each participant as long as the Household and personal surveys are completed.” So now they are offering $35 and telling me that I should feel proud to be a part of this survey. Replied to this email telling them this was still too low and invited them to check out all the reader comments on this post and on Facebook. Waiting to hear back again.
UPDATE #3: Received another response from Simmons on 9/7 – “Thank you for your e-mail and feedback. We appreciate your time, and we will be happy to share your opinion with our experts. For more than 60 years we have being the voice of the American consumers, and we never intended to make you feel this way. We wish that our compensation would be meaningful for you. On the other hand, we have placed a lot of thought into this study. As a matter of fact, most of our participants feel proud of participating in this important study. As soon as you start the survey, you will see the dynamics of it, and it is not intended for you to do it all at once. Most of our participants take around 15 minutes per day and within 2 to three weeks the survey is finalized. Once again, we would have liked to have included your opinion in this study.”