It’s better to get the truth out quickly. – SCN Encourager 5/10/2013

We all know it’s better to get the truth out quickly.

I grew up in a household where my parents expected the truth.

With three younger brothers always causing trouble and dragging me into it, I had plenty of practice offering up helpful explanations to my parents whenever they were on a quest to get to “the the bottom of things.”

Looking back, you’ve got to give kudos to my folks. Their investigation and interrogation tactics were actually pretty good. Quite impressive, considering they had to hone their “good cop – bad cop” questioning skills totally on their own. “Law and Order” was not on the air 24/7 back then.

I’m not going to feel sorry for my parents, though. Their generation was not without its own resources. They may not have had Dr. Phil or Jerry Springer to turn on, but they did have Dr. Benjamin Spock to pick up. And back then a “behavior interventionist” was not a person. It was something made out of wood that my dad kept in his closet to “access as needed.”

Not only did my parents expect the truth, they also expected it quickly. The inevitable consequences were always worse if my parents were forced sort through conflicting stories and feigned ignorance. They wanted the truth and they wanted it now.

While my parents were excruciatingly patient when it came to purchasing what everyone else in Flint already had (a color TV, air conditioning, an 8 track tape player for our car…), their expectations for the truth were never expressed without a clear sense of urgency.

Why am I telling you this?

Because on most days in my Bob Crachit-like childhood, I had to race to my parents ahead of my brothers to let them know that “I didn’t do it.”  I wanted my parents to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth in world record-setting time.  As a bonus I’d also by point out for them the three most likely persons of interest right under their noses. (Can you believe I was sometimes punished just for offering this kind of help, though? Go figure. Dang Dr. Spock.) 

Today I feel like I’m in a similar mad dash to clarify the truth for you – and I may be too late at that!

Here’s the deal: In an article that appeared in Forbes in late March, regular contributor Steve Olenski wrote a piece entitled “The Most Useless Marketing and Advertising Survey I Have Ever Seen.”

The piece is scattered with words like shocked, stupid, waste of resources, incredibly obvious, and no added value whatsoever. 

Mr. Olenski also wrote about feeling badly about calling attention to the person and firm who designed the survey. He wondered if he should do this.

He said the dimwitted nature of this actual survey speaks for itself. See for yourself.

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Olenski could not believe that any firm would spend even one dollar to ask a survey question this simplistic. He even thought it might be a joke at first. What survey do you ever see where 100% of the respondents give the same answer?

But nope, it wasn’t a joke. Somebody paid good money to survey businesses and ask if “maintaining the relationship…” was a good thing to do.

Of course, I’m reading paragraph after paragraph muttering to myself, “Point out who did this. Point out who did this. C’mon, point out who did this.”

I was frantic that unless Olenski revealed the true source of his scorn, you might think it was me!

So here I am now racing to you to say “I didn’t do it.”

And if you still have your doubts, Olenski does eventually tell us. He says this dumb one-question survey was created by a firm named “Smart Brief.”

And that should clinch my innocence for you. When have I ever proven myself to be smart, let alone brief? The defense rests.

Tom Page, SCN
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