I’m halfway into the first paragraph when IT slides across the screen aiming straight for the spot where I’m reading. Then zip – it’s there! Another freaking online survey covering up and obliterating the article I’m trying to read.  NO, for the millionth time! I will NOT take a “few minutes” to answer a “few brief” questions. Yeah, yeah, my feedback is “valuable” to you, a great help to “improve” your services. But guess what — I consider my time to be a mite more valuable than this trillionth survey asking questions ultimately designed to boost your bottom line.

This survey barrage is happening everywhere. Surveys arrive by mail too. From the hospital after an X-ray: “How many minutes did you wait for your X-ray?” the survey inquires. Like I keep track of that kind of stuff?

Visits to customer support also elicit instant email surveys inquiring about my level of satisfaction with the support employee. And of course any company I’m doing business with also gets in the act emailing me THEIR survey inquiring how they can improve their product or service and enhance my online experience.

Online surveys are dirt-cheap and cost zero employee-time — ducky for companies.  Instead of paying for high quality customer support and professional research involving humans to get a fix on what customers REALLY are thinking, companies seem to be sending out ever more surveys to  consumers so THEY can submit information and do all the work.

Surveys have morphed into another task companies have assigned to their customers. Remember when bills came with return stamped envelopes? Those stamps are long gone. Return envelopes too may be on their way out. Verizon has already eliminated the cellophane over the address field, making it easier for the post office to mangle envelopes in transit. And it’s not enough that customers must now buy stamps. The cable, electric and phone companies also demand that I play clerk and write my check amount on my return bill PLUS transcribe my account number on my check.  Sorry gang, I’m not in the clerk business.

And bigger than that is the subject of my time. It’s mine. It’s valuable. And dime a dozen surveys can’t have any of it.

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