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Hi all,

I’ve had a great week with lots of surveys and guess what? I’m out in Eldoret, Kenya chilling again. I promise to go somewhere else next time so that you don’t feel so bad. I’ll go to Brighton in the rain so I can get a little sympathy. Anyway, I’ve been busy ordering my grocery and clothes shopping online before coming out here and have managed to vent my frustration in all of the surveys I’ve been doing on my shopping experiences.

Asda Direct Messed Up Big Time

I was asked in a survey just a few minutes ago how I rated Asda Direct and I must admit that I generally find the Asda online experience good but last week they had me close to committing cyber GBH, or at least ABH! I had ordered and paid for a delivery for Saturday between 12pm and 6pm but it didn’t arrive. After contacting customer services I was told that the items had not yet arrived at the depot for delivery and that I would be contacted on Sunday. Sunday was the same and by now I was annoyed because I knew that I was coming here on Friday and it was I chasing them. They messed me around for 2 days with various excuses and when I finally cancelled on Wednesday the goods showed up when I was not home and were dumped in the garden. A few of the representatives were very helpful but a couple were bordering on rude when I became annoyed.

All said and done I would probably still use them if I was not in a hurry but only because my wife loves there products.

The Carphone Warehouse is Top

I also completed a survey on my recent pay as you go mobile phone purchases which I coincidently have just completed. I purchased a….yep you guessed it, HTC for my wife which she needs to use in Kenya so it had to be unlocked for their network providers. They were so helpful and pointed out the phones that were unlocked so I have a high regard for them and reflected this on the recent survey about their products and customer service.

Recent Survey on Airlines

I did a survey yesterday on my preferred airlines and I had a lot to say because I tried to be cheap this time by using KLM instead of Virgin to fly to Nairobi. I only saved £60 which I thought was quite good until I remembered the quality of aircraft they used to fly to Africa. They put me on Air France to Paris where I had to connect. Air France was good but then I was transferred to Kenya Airways which would normally be good if I used them directly from London but was put on an aircraft that looked like it was 20 years old. No personal entertainment system in the headrest and the only entertainment available on the blurred overhead projector was a flight-long and torturing progress map which seemed not to move for hours. I would go to sleep for what I thought was three hours only to wake up and see that we had only progressed from London to Brighton.

The surveys that I have done over the last week all seem to be easier to complete with clearer questions and better options for answers. I managed to complete 35 surveys this week so I’m going for at least the same next week. You’ll notice that there are even more survey companies to choose from so you should be able to do more now.

Anyway, I think I’ve waffled on a bit today so I’ll sign out until next week.

Bye for now.

Jay

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Hi to all my fellow survey takers,

This last week flew by so quickly that before I could get used to it being Friday, it was Sunday! I hope you’ve all been busy doing more surveys on interesting topics. I’ve done so many surveys this week about savings, life insurance and pensions that I’ve started getting worried if I have been making the right provision for my retirement. I know that insurance companies and banks need our opinion about the types of products that we want but did not think about life insurance until I saw family and friends dying and I saw the heartache that followed.

I hate to bring doom and gloom to a lovely weekend but we do need to think about those we love. We want them to be as comfortable as possible when we are gone and we would hate to leave a mass of bills and headaches to accompany the initial sadness. I’m assuming my lot will be sad without me although they may just throw a party to celebrate the end of a dictator’s reign of horror as I always refused them sweet things after brushing their teeth at night. Well, I have to try and be responsible as my teeth have had it and I do not want them to hate the dentist as much as I do.

Savings is also another important part of family life and crucial if you want to maintain or improve your standard of living although it takes sacrifices like one less pint of Fosters on a Saturday night. Okay, maybe something not quite so drastic but you know what I mean. The more you save successfully and watch pounds grow into thousands you can actually grow a healthy habit of saving.

I was asked in a few surveys which banks I would trust my money with in terms of savings plans. Well, as stupid as it may sound, I trust all of the major high street banks but tend to stick with the ones who actually gave me a current account when I needed it and a debit card that was not just a “so low” (solo) card. Many retailers actually refuse Solo cards which can be so embarrassing. It’s like telling the whole shop that your money is not good enough. Ok, if somebody has made a few financial blunders in the past do you really need to make their future that bad by treating their actual cash as if it were different? I mean, just don’t give them credit but let their cash in the bank look like everybody else’s. Well, that’s my take on it anyway.

One last thought. I wonder how much money these organisations and marketing companies pay to collect people’s opinions about the topics and products that we find in surveys. If we all get paid a pound for every survey we complete and thousands of people are completing surveys daily, then that’s loads of cash going out to people in their homes just like you and I. This is why I keep telling you all to find as many survey partners as possible to increase the number of surveys you take because you can realistically earn more than £100 a month if your sign up to enough opinion polls.

Anyway, I’m tired now and need to wake up at 6.15am in the morning. It’s already 12am so, good night and good luck.

Jay – zzZZ

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Hi fans (he says hoping that at least one person reads this and believes that there are fans).

Welcome back to this week’s ramble about surveys and things. As the title reads it appears that the state of mortgages for first time buyers is a hot topic right now and the last 5 surveys I completed have been partly or wholly concerned with my opinion of the state of affairs for the first time buyer in the UK. I don’t know how many of you are thinking about buying but it is a little scary when you consider the state of the economy.

What scares me more is some of the options available such as part buy-part rent. Mortgage providers allow you to buy as little as 25% of the property and rent the other portion which often works out more expensive than the mortgage element of the deal. This is supposed to be a more affordable way of joining the property ladder but how helpful is it when your outgoings are the same as if you had the full mortgage, but you only own 25% of it? Perhaps it is easier to secure the mortgage amount in terms of value in which case it’s OK if you are able to buy additional percentages of the property value within a reasonable time frame. Otherwise you could find yourself retiring and still only owning a percentage with less of a chance of selling it on if fewer people opt for part buy-part rent schemes.

Most of the surveys questioned me as to why I think first time buyers are discouraged from applying for a mortgage. I think that many first time buyers who are may already be struggling to make ends meet and looking for ways to raise finance for various aspects of their lives, don’t want to make their financial situation worse. If they apply for a mortgage and get refused they fear (and rightly so) that their credit history may be adversely affected and not only prevent them from getting a mortgage when they are more prepared, but also prevent them from getting any finance for other purposes in the meantime.

On a brighter note, the summer is almost here and I’m saving for my holiday to Kenya. I need sun, sand and warmth. The rain, wind and chill have knocked the stuffing out of me and I need to replenish my tropical soul, even if for only two weeks. I found a survey on flights and travel yesterday with a big emphasis on whether I take local holidays or international ones. Well, I have been to the Lake District many years ago but I prefer to hit the skies and land in a different time zone to be honest, but that’s just me. As for my choice of airlines as they asked me to express, I’d have to say BA or Virgin. They respond caringly to my regular demands for beer and wine and feed me well, but then that’s just me, I’m spoilt and I love it.

Until next week, happy surveys

Jay – The Happy Drunk :)

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Hi all, it’s been a while because I’ve been so busy at work and trying to adjust working full time again and still have energy for surveys when I get home. It’s almost as if I fall asleep as soon as I turn on my laptop. Anyway, I’ve recovered the adjustment and am back on track once more.

Upon returning to surveys after three weeks off due to tired feet (somehow related in my books)I found a breath of fresh air with the surveys that were popping up and instead of being questioned about which mobile phone I preferred (HTC) or what my favourite past time is (drinking), I found myself being asked to rate my preference out of a range of cars – amazing! I was shown a number of cars from very low in price to very high and asked which car I could afford to buy and which car I would really want to have. I guess there were not many people who chose the same car for both ratings. The survey continued to ask if it would make any difference whether both options could cost the same price over a monthly plan. Well, I must say I would be very tempted to choose my dream car if I didn’t factor in the cost of insurance, fuel and road tax which would considerably rack up the price for my DB9. Oh well, it’s good to dream sometimes.

I also completed a survey this evening which was based on the Olympics asking me if I would have gone with a free ticket. Probably not, I’d probably try to sell it to somebody who cares. It’s not that I couldn’t care less about the Olympics but it’s the thought of the potential stampedes of people through a part of town with roads as thin as they were 100 years ago that concerns me the most. I think I’ll watch it on a really big screen somewhere safe with a beer to be absolutely honest. You see, I don’t really like crowds.

I did do a few surveys on mobile phone preferences though and they caught me off guard with the new Galaxy Note which sounds like a great idea until a colleague of mine bought one. Boy is this mobile big. It’s like carrying around a 42in LCD screen in your pocket but incredibly thin to the point of feeling so easy to snap. The problem is that I’m a bit of a gadget man so I’d probably try it for my upgrade if it was due, but it’s not and by the time it is I’ll be old and grey and prefer to feed the pigeons until 10am when I’ll pop into town on the bus to buy a jar of marmite.

I have to be honest here because I told a fib this evening which backfired on me. I wanted to get accepted for an interesting sounding survey on red letter days so I artificially raised my salary because I thought it would make me suitable but it didn’t. I was rejected and felt ashamed of myself. The moral of the story is not to lie because there are surveys for everyone.

Until next week

Jay

 

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I hope you all did not miss me too much whilst I was away but I’m back now and full of exciting stories about my survey adventures. I have found myself engaging in several questionnaires about my personal hygiene. Not that I smell or anything but general enquires regarding the types of products I use in the bedroom. Did I say bedroom? I meant bathroom, but now you’ll get the wrong idea regardless of how I deny it because that’s how your mind works, I know it.  Anyway, I was asked if I prefer to use shower gel or soap or ‘other products’. I didn’t realise there were many more options for showering or bathing until I remembered the mention of a stone that you rub on your body that acts like a perpetual bar of soap. Sounds weird and painful to me but then who am I in the world of remarkable hygiene technology.

I actually prefer shower gel because of the wonderful smells and textures but go for soap if I’m in a rush because the suds seem to rinse off quicker whereas some shower gels appear to never rinse off. I was also given a choice of names for shower gel and asked which names I would consider buying. I’ll be honest; I don’t care much for shower gel names that sound like they should be drank as opposed to washed with. So, if you give me ‘Rose Hip, Dandelion and Raspberry Essence’ shower cream I’ll probably try to boil it.

I did one survey this morning that asked if I preferred a monthly phone contract or whether I would consider using a PAYG deal. Well, I was against PAYG until recently when I discovered that some of the tariffs work out cheaper than a pay monthly plan especially with a particular network that gives you ‘All You Can Eat Data’, but I don’t think I can mention their name. Can I? Well, you don’t need more than around three guesses really do you? Oops.

Doing surveys for money or gift vouchers makes one realise just how important our opinions are to the top UK companies and sort of demonstrates why they are leaders in their respective fields. I mean, struggling businesses often don’t give a rat’s buttocks what we think and make it quite clear. Having said that, many large successful brands only care what we think during surveys to fine-tune their future products and services and then spend the rest of the year ignoring real complaints. I guess you can’t win. Well, you can if you get paid for telling them what you think like we do.

Anyway, until next time

Peace and guidance my fellow survey addicts

Jay

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I am not kidding. I never thought I could do such a survey without bursting into uncontrollable laughter but I actually spent at least 10 minutes writing about the type of under wear that I use. I felt a little bit strange at first but they managed to skilfully stay on the types of design and material rather than how I like them to fit. Had they started to ask about fit I would have got really uncomfortable and think that I was been watched. Does that make me paranoid?

I also did one survey this morning about my HTC phone and the battery life. It appears that customers have been complaining about the battery life on the new HTC Sensation, saying that it was appalling and I’m afraid that I had to concur. My battery life had reduced to about 4 hours without any use. I was pulling out the hair that I don’t have over this until I found an app that controls the battery usage and I immediately increased battery life by more than 50 times. I think that smartphones often have so many apps running at the same time that the battery gets overwhelmed and it just shows that HTC customer service does respond to complaints by using surveys to gauge the attitude of users towards their devices.

International calling cards cropped up in a survey I completed a few days ago and this would have been the first time I had ever been asked a question about my international calling. I was asked if I use a calling card to call abroad for international numbers and which card I used. I was a little surprised because I didn’t realise that there was that much interest in calling cards and most of the calling cards that was listed are only found in areas where there are specific immigrant communities. I suppose that the immigrant communities must provide a sizable amount of revenue for telecoms companies as they have to keep in touch with home on a regular basis. I was asked that if a one of the major mobile networks offered international calls to my chosen destination for the same price as a local call would I switch networks. I would actually consider t if they allowed me to call one international number as part of my free minutes. So, telecom companies, if you’re reading this blog, make it happen.

Coincidentally, I was recently asked in a survey if I would ever consider travelling on a holiday by standby to save money. Well, I just did this over the Christmas period. The only problem was that I couldn’t get back on the date I wanted because the flights were so full and I was forced to stay an extra six weeks by the beach. Life is so unfair.

Anyway, until next week, be good.

Jay – recovering from over exposure to relaxation

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Up until now I have preferred to do surveys for cash rather than for vouchers but I was surprised to see just how much I have earned doing surveys for points. I stopped doing surveys for shopping vouchers just after Christmas but began to do them again when I saw that I had accrued just over £200 in vouchers over a period of six months and I had not been keeping track of them because they mixed among the other cash surveys. I am definitely going to use them on Gap vouchers because my son and daughter are growing so fast and I’ve seen some lovely outfits for the two of them. Other vouchers that you can regularly be awarded for doing surveys are for HMV, Debenhams, Halfords, Top Man, M&S and Amazon.

Fast food has been a reoccurring theme in a few of the recent surveys that I have been completing where I am asked how many times a month I eat from one of the main fast food chains or smaller outlets such as Fish & Chip and Kebab Shops. To be honest, I can go weeks without even thinking about fast food and then eat it twice a day for two days. Fast food seems to have a strong appeal when I’m extremely hungry and need a salt fix. Especially KFC, for which I crave but once I am a quarter of the way into the food, I feel rather ill. McDonalds does not seem to have the same sickening effect on me although that may be because I am more likely to eat fried chicken late at night after the pub than McDonalds. Kebabs I find a bit hit or miss in that when you get a good one it’s glorious, and when you get a bad one you could suffer “loo-roll” fever for days. That’s enough of the disgusting and on to less vomit worthy topics.

A survey earlier today asked whether I prefer to use the bus or the tube (underground) when travelling across Central London (I think I’ve been asked this before). The truth is that it depends on the time of day and the weather. If the weather is warm, it’s not rush hour and I’m not in a hurry then I love to ride the bus, almost as a visual treat because I love people watching. If I need speed then I’ll use the tube but I hate the crowds during rush hour because I always feel as though other people are so miserable. Everyone appears to have a stern expression on their face and smiles are often responded to with shock and sometimes disgust. Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe I look strange or just downright ugly, because they never blow back the kisses I send to them across a crowded tube train. Anyway, I avoid London Transport during peak times where ever possible by leaving very early or very late at both sides of the average day.

I’ll be taking part in more surveys for vouchers this week and I’ll let you know how it went next week because I need some new shirts; some pink ones (again if you all can remember last year). I was ironing whilst talking on my mobile. I know, stupid move but you can guess what happened. Yes, I burnt my favourite pink shirt.

 

Anyway, I’ve got to rush now. See you sometime next week.

Bye

Jay – hunting vouchers for his pink shirt

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I could not believe my eyes this morning. I was in a middle of the preliminary qualifying questions of a survey when I got rejected for being too happy. Let me explain what happened. In some surveys they assess your general mood by using what is called a “Likert” or “rating” scale where you drag a bar across a chart to indicate your agreement or disagreement with a statement. Anyway, movement to the right indicates the extent to which you are happy and moving the scales to the left indicates how unhappy you are. Well, I selected the wrong mood by moving it all the way to the left and then selected the >> button. The survey then started. When I realized what I had done I used the back button provided by the survey to correct my mood as I was actually very happy this morning. Not for long though, because no sooner had I done that and selected the >> button again I got the message “Sorry, we have enough people in your demographic” or something like that. So, they had too many happy people but now one less; me.

I love talking about smartphones and I did a few surveys on my preference of smartphone. Now, you all know that I am biased in favour of HTC but I will still give another brand a try, even just to test it. I personally thing that the iphone is over rated because everyone I know with an iphone does nothing but complain about how you can only use Apple apps and software. I don’t like to be restricted or controlled so that’s why I decided on an Android phone. Anyway, when we do these surveys on mobile phones I think we form the basis for a lot of industry reports on mobile phone usage, because how else can the big marketing companies get user preferences if it is not from us. We are actually contributing to the future state of the mobile phone industry. Don’t you feel so important now?

Sorry, one thing I can’t get with in shopping is the use of shops such as Aldi, Netto or Lidl. I am constantly asked in surveys if I have started using these shops to fight the economic crises. Sorry, but if I use these shops I could not buy everything from them. I’d have to move from shop to shop to get everything I need because they don’t sell everything I want. My shopping would take hours and I’d have mixed brand shopping bags which would only spell social confusion to all who see me on my way home. I’d probably suffer a culinary disaster too. It’s just like the pound shops. You can get some really cool things cheaply but you can’t do all of your shopping there because you cannot live on shower gel, jumbo variety crisp packs and cheap food containers, you need food as well. I have to be honest. For me it’s Asda, Tesco or, if I’m feeling rich and fancy a long trip out of my hood, Waitrose.

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Sounds like a rather weird title but I have done quite a few surveys recently that asked my preference for branded over value products and I can honestly say that I have only tried Tesco Value bread, Plum Tomatoes and Baked Beans. The plum tomatoes were not as bad as I thought they would be and tasted good on toast. The value beans were pushing out the boat a bit far and tasted a little too vinegary but the bread was fine so long as you kept it in the fridge or froze it. You’d also be better off toasting it than eating it untoasted and I remember taking too long to get home after buying it and went bad before I could taste a slice. I know you all must be thinking that I lived an under privileged existence but as a struggling student I had to make the pennies last. Admittedly, you can’t beat Heinz Baked Beans, especially with fried onions.

Tried Some New Survey Companies

I’ve come across so many new survey sites on my own so I tried them out just to see if they worked but never got the same response as with Survey Compare where you find the top survey companies and websites. I got lost in the never ending sign up processes and realize that my email address and details were taken just to send me other offers which I was not really interested in. Anyway, I’m not here to promote any particular company but to share my experiences as a regular survey taker.

What do surveys offer me?

Surveys have given me the opportunity to fill my spare time doing enjoyable and often amusing questionnaires (except the ones on politics which bore me to sleep). Asking me to name the picture of a random and obscure (in my mind) politician is like feeding me with a bowl of horse tranquilizers. I’ve often woken up with my face in the keyboard startled by a number of strange faces on my laptop screen which were apparently owned by MPs for a remote shire somewhere far from my concrete jungle. I wish I could think of something interesting to ask the Prime Minister of the UK if he were to knock on my door, as I have been asked too many times to count during surveys. The best I could come up with is “Fosters please guv, oh and a bag of peanuts”.

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I just completed a survey this morning that had a lot to do with transportation in London and which way I prefer to travel across the capital. Well, the truth is I do love travelling across London during off-peak times but absolutely cannot stand the rush hour. Consequently, I avoid them and thankfully I can as my job is quite flexible so I start and finish when I want (within reason).

I can just about tolerate the buses during rush hour but the underground system can be stiflingly hot, irritating and even dangerous. I have been stabbed several times with the corner of a briefcase in the rush at Goodge Street station and I am psychologically scarred for life as a result. Tube stations are typically narrow in every sense of the word and getting through the station is just a sign of the experience you’ll have on the tube itself. The survey asked whether I prefer to drive through London or use a bus and the answer would depend on whether I am in a rush or not. A bus is not generally faster than a car across London even with the bus lanes but the underground is much quicker.

The survey asked a lot of questions regarding how I would travel to the London Olympics if I were to go and I think I’d have to use the bus or tube because I’m pretty certain the parking will be a nightmare. Having said that, I don’t actually think that I’ll be going to any of the Olympic events themselves but you’ll probably see me milling around in some of the fringe events involving beer. Anyway, I think I’ll enjoy the buzz of the Olympics rather than any of the events.

Another survey that I recently did asked me about whether I eat brand name ice cream or not. That is, whether I prefer popular brands of ice cream or if I opt for any old brand. Well, I know this was for marketing purposes but why would I just eat any old brand of ice cream unless I knew it was nice. I mean, does anybody eat designer ice cream? If I know Lyons make a lovely chocolate chip ice cream I’ll buy it but if my friend promises me that a Aldi brand of ice cream is very tasty then I’d probably give it a try. That is, if I could be asked to go into an Aldi supermarket in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I like bargains and I’ll browse through pound shops but they do seem so unorganised at times and finding helpful staff is very difficult.

Anyway, I’ve just about recovered from Christmas and the New Year and I must go now to plan my next safari to Aldi. I must have my camera ready just in case I see a member of staff – they’re extremely rare and only feed very early in the morning when the grass is very high.

Bye for now

Jay – aka the Bear Grylls of Aldi

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