Research War Stories: 'She noticed a display of condoms hung on pegs...'
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.
Mark Michelson tells about on-site interviews he was conducting in Southern California at a drugstore chain. He was taking his first customer, a woman, around the store so he could ask questions regarding signage when they reached the aisle marked "Seasonal, Supplies and Rubber Goods."
While looking at the merchandise in the aisle, she noticed a display of condoms hung on pegs, with each peg containing a green sticker that read "Earthquake Preparedness Item."
Before you conclude that now we know what’s important to Southern Californians, Michelson reports that the woman felt that both the signage and promotional stickers were inappropriate.
Dave Sedlin recalls a telephone study he once conducted on sauces and condiments. When informed of the subject of the study, an elderly, perhaps hard-of-hearing, woman commented that she was offended that the interviewer would ask about such a topic. And furthermore, she couldn't understand what sausages and condoms had to do with each other in the first place.