The popular War Stories column, which presents humorous tales of life in the research trenches, has historically been compiled by Art Shulman, president of Shulman Research in Van Nuys, Calif. Each month in our e-newsletters we feature anecdotes from past War Stories columns and over time, we have received a handful of submissions from our e-newsletter readers who want to share their own outlandish or otherwise entertaining experiences of research gone just-slightly awry. Submit your own War Story today!

Moderator Saul Cohen reports that during interviews on electric irons, a woman reported receiving the client’s product 11 years ago as a wedding present. When Cohen asked if it still worked, the woman inquired, “The iron or the marriage?”

“Whichever,” answered Cohen.  

To which the woman answered, “Well, the iron still gets hot.”

May 21, 2018

Mark Michaelson relates that a number of years ago his company sent a mystery shopper to evaluate an optical store in Florida. The shopper seemed like a nice guy on the phone and his references were good. For the shop he had to get an exam, buy glasses and return to pick them up. In between his shopping trips to the store, he was featured on America's Most Wanted. The store manager recognized him and had him arrested after he picked up his glasses. He still managed to send his report in, though.

May 7, 2018

Sue Gartzman will confirm that market research can sometimes drive you buggy. She tells about conducting a focus group where a ladybug was on the table next to her name tag. Pretty benign, she figured, so she brushed it away. 

The respondents came in and got settled. During introductions, she noticed another ladybug crawling on the table. She brushed it and it flew away. Then one landed on a respondent, who brushed it away. When introductions were finished and the discussion began, Gartzman saw another bug fly in the air. She lo...