Research War Stories: 'I'm returning the dollar'
In the popular War Stories column, which has run sporadically in Quirk's since 1994, Art Shulman, president of Shulman Research in Van Nuys, Calif., presents humorous tales of life in the research trenches, based on his own experiences and those of researcher friends and colleagues. Each month in our e-newsletter we feature a few anecdotes from past War Stories columns.
Jake McHugh recalls conducting an annual satisfaction study among members of the dental plan his company provides. One year they included a dollar bill as an incentive, together with a note reading "At your next coffee break enjoy a beverage on us."
One respondent sent back a completed questionnaire along with the dollar bill and a note saying "I'm now retired and no longer have a coffee break. So I'm returning the dollar."
Is there such a thing as too much honesty?
Jeff Totten cites a mail study where his firm sent out a small amount of money as an incentive. An elderly minister returned the money, along with the questionnaire, writing how sinful it was to "guilt" people into responding.