“EXCUSE ME, we’re carrying out a survey… would you mind answering a few questions?”

Well, few of us have the time or inclination to stand in some shopping mall answering a long list of questions which – if you’ve been daft enough to give your real address – will mean you can’t get your front door open on account of the mountain of junk mail behind it.    

There is also the probability that you will start receiving non-stop phone calls and texts from those who had access to the survey results and consider you a prime prospect for their product, be that patio doors, electricity, gas, telephone services or rabbit food.

And don’t be surprised if you arrive home one evening and find a mob of salespeople on your doorstep.

So, we have to ask ourselves what kind of person is dippy enough to give up their precious time to furnish some company with information they can use to identify you as a potential customer for their product.

For the moment, let’s call them Survey Suckers. (I have a better name, but the newspaper will never print it.) And there seems to be a few of them about.

These Survey Suckers are probably the same people who, when the TV newscasters tell you they would like YOUR views on the story (Yeah, right.) they actually spend cash texting or calling the on-screen number.

Let’s face it; the TV company don’t really care about your views. They genuinely couldn’t care less what Mrs Mandy Lifeboats of Bathgate thinks about global warming. And, just for the record, Mrs Lifeboats… neither do we.

The only survey I ever completed was at school; part of period 4 Modern Studies. Some government department thought it would be a good idea to ask a bunch of 14-year olds about their sex and drugs experience. Had they published the results there would have been a major scandal about our activities.

That study, I’m quite certain, would have demonstrated that the average pubescent teenager in Scotland was daily downing at least two bottles of vodka on a daily basis while injecting, smoking or snorting a variety of mind-altering chemicals. Despite this, the boozed-up, hallucinating youngsters were still alert enough to have sex at least five times with numerous partners including teachers, pop stars, and a variety of cartoon characters – and all in any given 24-hour period.

That’s my kind of survey.

Fortunately, the REAL Survey Suckers make up a tiny percentage of those who take the time to complete the questions.

In a recent survey people were asked “Was Michael Jackson the greatest ever music legend?” The results were that out of a total of 165,773 votes, 83,333 people said “Yes”, 77,510 said “No” and – get this – 3% of the participants answered “Don’t Know”. That’s a total of 4,930 people who went to the trouble of completing a poll to make everybody aware of the fact they didn’t know!

What kind of brain-dead idiot spends time, effort and money to call or text in a “huvnae’ goat a clue” answer? It must be individuals who, given two more brain cells, would need regular watering.

And here’s the scary bit: if you have a hundred people living in your street, three of them would do it! (And I’ll bet you suspect who they are!)

So, in an attempt to find out if this is the case in West Lothian I have decided to carry out a poll of my own. Would you ever waste your time and money answering “Don’t know” in a survey? Answer (A) for Yes (B) for No and (C) for Don’t Know. Answers on an A4 sheet and send it to Drew McAdam, c/o The Herald and Post, Bathgate. Please don’t forget your £20 entry fee.

Thank you.

Drew McAdam


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