Organizations frequently set up little booths on the street and then just kind of grab people and talk at them about their cause. Normally they are nonprofits, and they want your money. They always talk really fast, and it’s always in a crowded area, so I’ve learned the hard way to just keep walking, otherwise I get stuck standing there while they say things I don’t understand, and then at the end of the day I don’t pledge, and everybody’s just wasted their time.

Today, I was stopped by someone who didn’t want my money. Perhaps because I was feeling guilty about walking past Amnesty International yesterday, I agreed to answer a few questions. This is the story of how I participated in pointless market research.

Question #1: Which of the following fragrances do you use(followed by a full page of different perfume companies)? Neither the guy nor the survey was prepared for my answer, which was, of course, “none of them.”

Him: “But you didn’t even read the list.”
Me: “I don’t need to. I don’t use perfume.”
Him: “Well just mark anything you’ve ever used in the past.”
Me: “None of it. Never in my life.”
Him: “Why not?”
Me: “Because I find it to be total Scheiße.”
He proceeded to mark a few boxes at random, because the computer program won’t let you proceed without marking something, and the survey designers didn’t have the foresight to anticipate any participants answering “none of the above”.

Then, insult of insults, I had to spray some perfume they’re making on my wrist and tell him what it smelled like. I told him it was fine. He asked me what I see when I smell it, and although I considered telling him the truth (my hand), I made something up instead. What I did not do, although I wish I had, was try to engage him in a discussion about the book “Das Parfum”. Instead, I made something up about flowers or whatever. The rest of the survey proceeded similarly.
Last question: “Would you ever buy this perfume?”
Me: “Nein.”
He marked “probably not.”
Me: “I said no, not ‘probably not.’ You should mark ‘definitely not.’ I’m never going to buy it.”
With that, he offered me a candy bar (really?), which I refused, and I went on my merry way, equally amused and irked at the company’s failure to consider that my gender alone doesn’t automatically make me part of their market.

Then I went home to wash my arm.