A couple of months ago I read a blog about a family that was a member of NCP, National Consumer Panel. She didn’t really describe what she actually had to do, but instead focused on all of the great things she had gotten from the company for being a member. A few weeks following that post, she had posted that they had opened up new zip codes, meaning there may be an opportunity to become a member myself and get a scanner.
Not at all thinking about what this might entail, I went ahead and clicked on the link and signed up. To my disappointment, they didn’t have any available scanners for my area. Oh well, I thought.
I forgot about it and then two weeks ago I got an email asking me for more information about my purchasing habits and ultimately my address so my scanner could be shipped out to me!
I was excited about this for some reason – again, still not finding out what I really had to do. Today my scanner arrived via Fed Ex and I got a glimpse at what is surely to be a huge pain in my ass.
In short, I have to scan everything I buy. Everything. And it’s not just me! If Ryan gets a Snickers at the vending machine at work, I’m supposed to scan that candy bar UPC code. And it’s not just scanning the product. I have to say whether I used a coupon, the price, where I bought it and how much my total order was. Like I said – a huge pain in my ass.
I reluctantly logged on to my profile once I read through the scanner’s users manual. I will be awarded points if I scan my purchases and then download the data once a week. I wanted to find out how many points I needed in to get the flat screen TV that was on the cover of the manual. As it turns out, I need 317,000.
OK, that’s not too bad. They started me off with 1,000 points just for signing up so maybe if I do this for a few months, I’ll be able to get the TV and then I’ll just quit. Now to find how many points I get each week for sending my data. I found the information in one of the three booklets they sent me. For the first six months I earn 150 points a week. The number of points awarded increases the longer you are on the panel – up to 325 per week once you hit six years!
Let’s just pretend that I do this for longer than a week. In fact, let’s pretend I do it for a full six years. I will have accumulated 89,780 points just for my data submissions. Apparently, I can earn additional points by taking surveys and I am awarded extra points on my three, six and one year anniversaries. Who knows how many, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it isn’t 227,200 in gift points because then I could actually get the TV in six years.
I’m going to give this the old college try for a month. I am sure that I’m not going to be excited about scanning in that pack of gum I grabbed at the convenience store or figuring out how I input the car wash I got after I got my gas.
I think it’s a marketing strategy to tell people that they don’t have any available scanners. They want all of the suckers to think that these are incredibly sought after and I am unbelievably blessed to be able to receive one.
I’ll be utilizing that return address label that came with my scanner before you know it.