January 18, 2018
Excuse me but would you like screaming monkeys...
Has this ever happened to you? I was trying to fix supper for my wife and I while my one-year old was flinging her dinner onto the cabinets because apparently she likes the sound ravioli makes when it hits maple veneer. (SFX: splatt and baby giggle)

Anyway, the phone rings and in the hopes my wife is on the other end saying we've won the lottery and can order take out food the rest of our lives, I foolishly answer.

Unfortunately, it's not my wife on the phone, it's a guy who says, "Would you like to participate in a survey on Hotels?" Maybe it's just me but "Would you like..." should never precede "participate in a survey on Hotels."

Anyway, I believe when businesses reach out to consumers we have to take the time to encourage them, like that little girl in Poltergeist, to go to the light, walk to the light, be good to us. In fact, here's exactly what we want.

So, I know I should take the survey but my daughter is crankin' mad because I won't let her throw her lima beans at the ravioli splatters and she's reaching the tizzy level just as the guy on the phone tells me the survey only takes 20 minutes and asks again if I would like to participate. He might as well have said "Would you like screaming monkeys to come over to your house and foul your carpets?" So, I say "No thank you,"

And he says, "Mr. Bedore, would there be a better time for screaming monkeys to come over and foul your carpets?" I think for a second and then say "Mmmm... no." I add "Mmmm..." because I want to appear like I at least thought about it.

The irony of consumer feedback is if you are staying at a Hotel and demand to see the manager because the air conditioner is so loud it's like trying to sleep in a factory or a cockroach ran across your pillow, I can tell you from experience, you're just a problem they would rather not deal with.

But if you tell that story to the geniuses at the consulting firm doing the phone survey they will brilliantly conclude consumers don't like sledge-hammer sounding, moisture-robbing, ear-drum bending heaters in their room or vermin on their linens. And when that analysis comes from helpful consultants instead of a place of anger, the place a cockroach trampled consumer generally comes from, the Hotel people can internalize that information in a productive manner.

So, the next time you answer the phone and hear "Mr. Bedore, would you mind if the Hotel industry put rabid squirrels in your bedroom for 20 minutes," remember We consumers get what we deserve. "You made your bed, now you have to lie in it," is more than a saying, if you don't take the survey, it's a threat.

In Los Angeles, I'm Tim Bedore for Marketplace.