Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I totally want to work for Consumer Reports now.

Life and times of a Consumer Reports secret shopper - Boing Boing
Here's a little Wired profile on the secret shoppers used by Consumer Reports Labs. I've had some meetings at the labs and they're incredibly impressive: top notch researchers and top notch facilities, and integrity out the wazoo.

"Making these purchases without saying why can be tricky. Once, Jon told a phone salesman that he needed a particular model because his mother had Alzheimer's and he'd never be able to teach her how to use a new brand. He laughs when he describes the wary looks he got after filling up a shopping cart with condoms. He fondly recalls the time he purchased five different washing machines, claiming that his landlord father had given tenants their choice of brands.

But Jon's favorite story by far is the ice cream. With pints stacked on the floor and an angry stocker looming overhead, Jon had to say something. "So I go into my Rain Man routine," he says. "Count the vanilla, count the vanilla, gotta count the vanilla.' Eventually, the stocker just gives up and walks away. And I get my ice cream." Once products are purchased, they're taken back to Consumer Reports' Yonkers, New York, headquarters, where the magazine maintains 50 tricked-out, cost-is-no-object laboratories. There are labs where trained tasters sample chocolate, labs where air conditioners are evaluated to see if units are more efficient at blowing cool air to the right or to the left, and labs where strollers are pushed over a series of bumps for hours at a time."

No comments: