Money Mat­ters Mar­garet Dibben

The Oldie - - NEWS -

Shop­ping is no longer a sim­ple trans­ac­tion where you hand over money, take your pur­chase and get on with your life.

To­day, sell­ers pester you after­wards to rate their per­for­mance and tell them how much you en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence. Were the staff help­ful? Would you rec­om­mend us to a friend? Will you buy from us again? How did you first hear about us? Rate us from one to ten, and ex­plain why you gave that re­sponse.

Ho­tels, restau­rants, call cen­tre staff, shops – even hospi­tals and char­i­ties – are at it.

They stress that this is for your ben­e­fit, not theirs – but what they re­ally want to know is how they can per­suade you to spend more money with them. They do not re­alise that, by eat­ing into your time and de­mand­ing your at­ten­tion, they are more likely to an­tag­o­nise you; so, next time, you shop else­where.

Ox­fam, for in­stance, wishes to ‘cre­ate bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ences’ for me, which re­quires their know­ing where I live and what job I do. It claims com­plet­ing the form takes ten min­utes; though just one page con­tained six­teen ques­tions.

John Lewis’s ‘How did we do?’ survey al­lowed me to com­ment only on the last ad­viser I had dealt with. This was the one who man­aged to get my lost or­der de­liv­ered; so, of course, I was sat­is­fied. I could not com­ment on the other four ad­vis­ers, who failed to solve the prob­lem.

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