While I was at McDonald’s on a covert operation that I didn’t want anybody to know about, I bought a Big Mac and a Filet-O-Fish, but passed on the fries and chocolate shake. Then, I drove to the back of the parking lot where the truck drivers hang out, parked my car between two 18-wheelers, opened my bag and had a feast fit for a cardiac-care patient … and no one saw me.
I only go there every six months, usually when I’m on the road or have my grandkids with me and want to show them there’s more to life than carrot sticks and hummus.
Don’t tell my wife or my doctor because I’ll have to listen to a long sermon. As punishment, they’ll restrict me to a special diet that will largely consist of … carrot sticks.
As I pulled up to the McDonald’s window, I noticed a sign that asked, “How was your visit? Compliments or complaints, let us know.” If you fill out a survey, they’ll probably put your name in a drawing to win $500 worth of Egg McMuffins.
That same morning, I went to Home Depot and the woman at the checkout urged me to take an online survey. “Say nice things,” she said with a big smile. Realizing she was flirting for a good grade, I promptly responded, “SURE I WILL!”
Later, I spotted a sticker on the cash register at Stop & Shop that read, “Help us serve you better.” You could win $500 in groceries if you took their survey. (Even my dentist sends out satisfaction surveys, and you enter a drawing to win a free root canal.)
Everyone wants your opinion. They want you to rate everything from customer service to food, books, movies, job performances and products. The crazy thing is that when I see those reviews on Amazon, I get totally confused. I read the good ones and think, “I have to buy this now!” Then, I read the bad ones and think, “No way I’m buying that junk!”
American business has taken a page from political pollsters, who think they know everything about everything. They’re the ones who concluded, on the basis of exhaustive research, that Donald Trump was going to get trumped in the last election.
I always avoid phone surveys and get really annoyed when I hear, “This call may be monitored for quality control.” I don’t want anyone monitoring my calls. If you want to satisfy me, don’t keep me holding for 20 minutes.
I especially feel sorry for employees who live in fear of a bad rating on customer surveys, which could lead to a reprimand, a pay cut or banishment to the garbage detail. My response usually is: “Give this underpaid over-performing hard worker a substantial increase in salary and better benefits, and do it immediately or I won’t return.”
I’m the reason — not President Trump — that wages have been increasing in America. If you look at the quarterly Department of Labor report, you’ll see a footnote that says: “Some idiot keeps telling employers to hand out big raises, and it’s over-stimulating the economy.”
The wrong people are being evaluated. If we want to make America great again, we shouldn’t be trying to frighten teenagers who work at cash registers. We should be evaluating CEOs, CFOs, political leaders, religious leaders … and our spouses. (Every marriage should have a semi-annual performance evaluation. Don’t you agree?)
Can you imagine how much the quality of sermons would improve, across all religious denominations, if there was a survey of the preacher’s performance that put you in a drawing to win $500 from the collection basket?
And what a wonderful world this would be if every columnist got rated. You long-suffering readers could suggest, “Write shorter,” “Write smarter,” “Don’t write at all!”
OK, you’re probably thinking, “Someone should rate this joker.” Well, I can take it. Tell me if I laid an egg. I encourage freedom of expression and I invite criticism … I just ignore it.
Contact Joe Pisani at firstname.lastname@example.org