Sunday, February 12, 2012


A couple of years ago I joined an online survey site. (Actually, I joined several but only stayed with one.) I earn points by completing surveys. Then I convert the points to an Amazon gift card and buy vintage books and magazines.

I don’t accumulate points quickly. I’m often screened out of a survey because of my age, my demographics, because I’m not buying a new car this year, or because I’m not in debt. Most of the surveys I take have to do with groceries.

A couple of weeks ago I took a survey on toilet tissue. I’ll spare you the details. Even mentioning toilet paper may be too much info, but I figure you also buy and use it. The questions were really quite entertaining, such as “Do you feel pampered when . . .” Well, never mind. At the end of the survey, they asked if I would participate in a study to evaluate their product. Sure – I agreed.

Before the first t.p. arrived, I participated in another t.p. survey, not exactly the same as the first. It seemed a little odd – kinda like the battle of the t.p. companies. It really felt like Company A got wind of what Company B was up to and quickly organized a survey of their own. At the end of the survey, they asked if they could send me some t.p. to evaluate. They said I might not be chosen for the survey, but if I were, would I participate. Sure, once again I agreed.

The t.p. related to the first survey arrived – two large rolls. Use roll “L” first for four days, read the instructions, then use roll “M” for four days, and then answer the questions at the survey site. Okay, I could do that – and I did -- no problem. Yes, Mike used it, too, but he’s been so busy I didn’t even bother him with the details. And by the way, I could tell no difference between roll “L” and roll “M.”
The other day the UPS guy delivered another box, and I set it aside for Mike, thinking he had ordered something. No, he didn’t, he said, but he would open it. “It’s a box of toilet paper,” he exclaimed. “Dear Household Member Who Agreed to Participate in the Toilet Tissue Study,” he read aloud. So then I had to explain about my participation in the Great Toilet Paper Study.

Folks, that box contained twelve rolls of toilet paper, not quite as wide as standard but plenty adequate for use. I can already tell that I prefer this paper over rolls “L” and “M.”

[On this moderate February day, Mike sits in the sun at the back of the house to work on the new bicycle he’s constructing. Inside the house, important t.p. testing takes place.]


Leah said...

That's a new one. I knew that people did home testing, but never imagined that TP would fall into that category.

One observation that I've made since retiring is that I use more TP and less gasoline. The prices aren't equal, thank goodness.

Kathy said...

Thanks for sharing that observation, Leah. Mike remarked that we seem to go through TP rather quickly, and I didn't equate it to retirement and being around home more. But, of course, that's absolutely what happens.

Hallie said...

That's a funny story! Were the 12 rolls from the same company as L and M? Why do you like them better? Are they supposed to be narrower than standard or were they botched and so the company was giving them away?

You basically received a $7 value!

Leah said...

Hallie: I'm not in the survey, so I can name names. "Northern Quilted" came out with a higher/softer grade called "Quilted Northern Ultra Plush" 3 ply in a purple pkg around 2008 here in Calif. Their previous high grade was in a pink pkg. & called "Quilted Northern Ultra." My Target store didn't stock the pink pkg. after that, so I bought the "Quilted Ultra Plush" 3 ply purple. Product was white, by the way.

I discovered something strange...the ultra plush rolls are not as wide as all other rolls/brands of TP. Don't know how they came up with the concept to have a 3 ply that was narrower. They increased the price, of course. I'll bet that the amount of paper in the 2 ply and the new 3 ply are the nearly the same.

I realized that the pink pkg of Ultra Quilted Northern was being fazed out when I saw them at the local Big Lots in 2008.

Kathy said...

I thought rolls "L" and "M" were from Cottonelle, but I'm not sure. I think the batch of 12 rolls was from Charmin. If they don't tell you, what's the use, as far as marketing is concerned? And I think those grocery surveys are as much about marketing to me, the consumer, as they are about opinion.

I confess that I haven't paid much attention to brands. And I think when the companies start adding grades of product, it just confuses the consumer. I buy a quality brand on sale when I need to replenish our supply.

I was disappointed when I took the final survey on rolls L & M. I expected to express a meaningful opinion on the product but the questions were superficial.

Leah said...

Consumer Reports test labs use a variety of "Rube Goldberg" machines to test products. BTW, Rube Goldberg was a REAL person! CR makes machines to test tennis shoes, detergent, small appliances, etc. These machines make repetitive movements to simulate the wear & tear from John Q. Public.

When I subscribed to the magazine, it was as much fun to read how they tested something as to read the ratings. Besides testing the calibration of thermostats, they tried to "beat the product to death" with their machines. When it came to things like cosmetics, they would give samples to their employees at the lab to take home & use...women only.

I learned of Quilted Northern Ultra's (pink pkg) high test scores from CS and sure enough, they were right. How did they test TP? CS pulled & twisted as well as dousing it with water using their made to order machines. I'm almost certain they did not send the TP home with their employees to test.

Chris said...

Too funny!! I loved your last line. :-) And yes, I guess we're not using the tp at work any more.