Tuesday, May 11

lip smackin

Today, I participated in a taste test. Normally, I wouldn't have time for this stuff, but being unemployed allowed this luxury. A few days ago, I got an email inviting residents of my neighborhood to the nearby Junior High School Gymnasium (the Athletic Department makes money from hosting this event). No training was required, but a reservation was (although I noticed the volunteers asking anyone walking by if they wanted to participate .. the more the merrier, I suppose).

When I arrived, I was asked to complete two brief surveys: one concerned our preferences for the types of snack products we were about to taste; the other survey was demographics (age, ethnicity, gender, etc.)

Today, the gym was filled with lots of people from DFW Product Research and a bevy of food samples, networked laptop computers, tables and chairs. Staffers at the entrance guided us to one of 7 stations.

At the first station, the man explained how the testing would work: follow the directions on the laptop. He went to fetch two packets of product, and was mildly peeved when he returned and I was still staring at the laptop. Turns out there was a 3-question sample I was supposed to complete. Was I paying attention? Obviously not.

Anyhoo, the procedure was simple: try some of Sample A, then cleanse your palate (bite a cracker and sip some water), then try some of Sample B, then answer some questions (about color and texture and taste), then tell which one you liked best. When done, tilt the laptop screen backward which signaled the volunteer. Then, proceed to the next station and repeat. At the last station, they asked my visual preference for a related product (something you would see on a grocery shelf).

All done, thanks for coming, now go home. I can now check off another item from the (x) Stuff I've Never Done column.

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