About 10 months ago, I did some market research on cat food. Tasted Horrible. Nahhh just kidding, they actually wanted Lenny's opinion on the stuff, which is kinda hard, cos at best I can only say a few key phrases in Burmese, including "get off my head" and "i already fed you stupid" so how we were going to assess Lenny's likes and dislikes pertaining to different varieties of cat foods was beyond me.
But they were paying $100 and I don't look a $100 gift horse in the mouth very often (what does that even mean???)
In order to earn the $100 which we would be putting into Lenny's University Fund, we needed to do quite a few things... first up; keep a diary for one week - including all the food he ate, the times of the day he ate and any activities we spent doing together... so weird.
It just so happened that that particular week was one where I was going out after work and getting home at 1am and feeding Lenny a bag of shredded cheese before falling asleep on the floor wrapped up in Lenny's hair covered blanket (I was unsure if this would come under the 'activities we do together' section??)
I also had to allow some chick from the market research company to follow me around the supermarket whilst I brought cat food and other items "as naturally as possible" and then she would come home with me to discuss cats and cat food.
Well I don't have to tell you that the shopping with some weirdo marketing chick noting your every move was a bit weird.. first you meet up outside at the designated place, looking for someone in the outfit they'd described to you over the phone. It was like a date - except there would be no talking and the person would get to watch you pick out a variety of tinned cat food and some juice/raisin toast and bananas... Awkward..
It's really hard to 'act natural' when you're being followed around by somebody with a clipboard. Even though I was told to 'shop like she wasn't there' I still felt I had to perform good. Nobody wants to shop with me in my natural state, as I shop like a schizophrenic, running from aisle to aisle at each end of the store. I shop by remembering things I need, not going up and down aisles looking at items like a normal person. It can take me 30 mins to buy 6 items, specially when I do about 3 false starts at the checkout when I remember something else I need and have to run back around the store to get it.
So I shopped like I had someone else's brain in my head.. picking up the different tins of cat food and reading the back (like I ever do that?!! what am I looking for? the amount of calories?? pfft) eventually settling on about 6 different varieties that I know my cat likes, and pretending to buy some other crap so the shop would seem like a more natural experience, then we went to the checkout...
It gets weirder.. because I was coming home from work, I was catching the bus, so when I usually finish going shopping I walk home (takes about 5 mins) but I didn't think the clipboard lady would appreciate the Real Shopping Experience with me if she had to drive to my house then wait outside for me to get there.. so I got in the car with her.
What do you talk about with someone when you've just been followed around and critiqued on your shopping prowess in the tinned pet food section? I just wanted to be home, where it would be awkward, but I'd be in my own environment. Being in someone else's car is always weird, specially when you get into someones messy car and they make a big deal of shoving the mess from the front seat into the backseat, like you wont realise they live like a slob the rest of the time when no one sits in the passenger seat.
We came home and this is when it was Lenny's chance to shine, and also contribute something to the $100 that was technically his. We had to 'play natural' which he was having none of, as cats know things like this when they are being forced to perform. He sat and stared at me like I was a retard as I dragged a string around and threw mousies up and down the hall.
Clipboard Lady then asked me a million questions on Lenny's eating habits, when he eats, what flavours he eats, does he have a favourite brand?? and what weird things does he eat?? well Lenny is a weird cat - he eats lots of weird things...
I think the whole purpose of the market research was to pick the brains of people with weird cats with strange taste pallets. So I suggested they come out with a Cheese Flavour, Taco Mince flavour, and Meat Pie flavour..
10 months later and I'm shopping in my natural state in the pet food section and wooo what do I see?? new varieties of tinned cat food!! BUT!!! they did not take my ideas into consideration??!!!
There is no taco mince flavour. There is a 'fish and rice' flavour? that is lame. what kind of 3rd world Balinese cat eats rice??
All that awkwardness for nothin!
Although it was nice to have Lenny bringing in the bacon for once! Considering he now owes us $2500 for his brush with death vet bills, he better hope there's some kind of 'live cat drawing class' he can pose for to earn that money back. Or he'll get a chasing around the house with the vacuum!! he hates that.