Updated: Oct 22, 2019
There are few jobs I haven’t tried, I’ve been a dramas teachers assistant, waitress, receptionist, wedding caterer, bartender, extra, journalist, marketer and salesman. When I returned from Costa Rica I had to find ways to survive the expense of the city, market research being one of them. Market research is a tool used by companies to gage consumer reactions to their product. During the session the researchers speak with a small sample of their consumer base (usually a group of 8-10) for around 1-2 hours in a small room with a large glass mirror, behind which is the client who records the information. For this very reason you should technically consume whatever product they’re selling.
If you’re in need of extra cash I advise that you perceive these ‘technical’ nuances as being incidental and call the number; 8404 0358. As you can probably guess my response to each call out has been wildly inconsistent depending on the ‘consumer habits’ they’re after. The most recent call out I attended was for avid Gin drinkers commissioned by a Japanese Gin company. During the session I mistakenly slipped that the only time I drank Gin was with my mother. Seeing the unimpressed expression on the researchers face I clumsily continued with “which is all the time”.
The best market research gig I have been to was commissioned by a fast food company who was after BIG fast food chicken eaters. This session was unusual as it was a one on one and we were able to meet in a place of my choosing. I received a message from the researchers that they had arrived at the café in Glebe and were waiting. A few minutes from my place I walked down to the café and easily spotted two women capitalising on the company card as they hoed into a giant stack of pancakes smothered in maple syrup and bacon.
Introducing themselves they offered me a coffee and I accepted ordering a soy Flat White, hoping that my dairy alternative wasn’t a red flag. The meeting kicked off with the most obvious question, “what fast food chain do you most frequently visit?
A former sugar and fast food fiend I had a strong history to draw from but it was about two years outdated. “KFC, at least once a week,” I said remembering the requirements of the call out. As I sipped my coffee I recalled my hospitality days, ravenously hitting up KFC drive through after a 10 hour shift for a sweet chilli twister combo meal. I walked away stoked after an easy chat, free coffee and $100 burning a hole in my pocket.
Unfortunately, shortly after the fast food gig I had an uncomfortable one on one session with an insurance client who complained to the market research company that I didn’t match the criteria, which ironically was untrue. It was actually one of the few sessions where I told the truth. After two hours of interrogation I felt like a lab rat only to be told I would be paid with a gift card. I imagine my refusal to accept a gift card as payment made them disgruntled.
When he said the company didn’t deal in cash I said nothing and simply stared at him. He continued with “we want you to know we value your time,” again I said nothing, “which is why I’ll get you some cash from the ATM downstairs.” I followed him down to the ATM and waited as he withdrew the money, then as if we were living above the law he approached awkwardly and slid the cash into my hand.