Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pulp Fiction

Whatever you do, just don't ask me what I think about orange juice. Because apparently, I am unqualified to discuss the weighty tome of morning citrus.

I am also unqualified to say my balls hurt.

Hold that thought and let me back up: This morning I was kicked out of a focus group, something about orange juice and how often do I purchase it? What kind, Tropicana this, leading supermarket brand that, $100 for two hours of my thoughts on ascorbic acid, potassium, folic acid and flavanoids. Having talked far more about much less for no compensation at all I signed up, donned my best "fresh squeezed" jeans and "not from concentrate" tee shirt and went to a non-descript office building in the city ready to take on the bigwigs of the erosion of tooth enamel. Please understand that I was pre-screened for such an honor. I passed with flying colors the inquisition of pulp. I was then sent an email telling me where to go, when, and that there were (and here I must quote) "no right or wrong answers in this discussion."
So I went, signed in, answered a few more questions about Florida's Natural, Dole, Minute Maid, and then sat down in the waiting room to read a tattered Newsweek from February 2007. There were five other women, each of us nose deep in a magazine pretending to care about what happened two years ago in the Senate, pretending that we were each of us not so hard up for cash that we answered an ETC listing on Craigslist about what we thought of orange juice. Totally! I got my Master's degree in Focus Groups with an emphasis on Never/Rarely/Sometimes/Often/Always! You, too? And a minor in Vitamin C? Yeah, we were King, thumbing the germ-laden periodicals of those that came before.
I remember when I was little and the Mobile Hearing Station rolled into the parking lot of my elementary school. How they herded us onboard and we sat in those sectioned off seats with headphones on, listening for faint beeps. Flash your hand when you hear the sound, they told us, and I was so afraid of not getting let off the mobile unit that my fingers fairly shimmied with nerves. I hear it! I hear it! I'm totally normal, let me off! A miniature Bob Fosse, jazz hands on spindly wrists in an exam room on wheels.
After waiting for about ten minutes and reading one riveting article about Wimbledon, they called us into a room. Except Susannah, and the woman with the clipboard scanned the room until she found me. Please wait here and we'll explain. One large woman looked down and called me lucky, and then they were gone. I was dismissed. No explanation really, other than that I didn't qualify. I was given the $100 just for showing up, a severance package of sorts for focus group drop-outs. But I drink orange juice! I wanted to say. I love orange juice! I have so much to say about orange juice! The woman pushed the elevator button for me, and this is how it happened that I did not revolutionize the orange juice market on this or any other day. Because I am not qualified.
Other things I am apparently not qualified for: being an egg donor. We welcome woman ages 21-29 of all ethnicities, academic achievements and creative talents! My eggs are too old. I am also unqualified to auction off my maidenhead, seeing as how I GAVE IT AWAY that ONE TIME when I was 33 and got pregnant with Zoey (total lie, of course, but my parents read this blog and need not know such details about my maidenhead, or considerable lack thereof). I am also not qualified to be a pilates instructor, to teach comedy traffic school en espanol. I am not qualified to donate sperm, or to be an Asian Female Model for something that sounds suspicously like porn. But orange juice? Dude, I was so sure I had that one.
What's a girl to do that was kicked out of an orange juice focus group? How is this going to look on my resume?
Lead Thought Processor on Citrus Marketing Campaign, April 21st, 10:02am --April 21st, 10:17am.
Thought a lot about orange juice and branding strategies, kinda,' okay, not really. Completed one questionnaire in which I copped to buying Tropicana but not Minute Maid. Lied on said questionnaire, a little bit. Because I don't really buy orange juice except if it's fresh squeezed and even then usually only for Christmas morning. Instrumental in nothing.
Next up: a paid market research stint at Stanford for Moms and Sons ages 9 to 11 and 14 to 16. It will be the one day I don't let Zoey dress in a pink princess fairy glitter mariposa Barbie outfit and I will tell her to act her age, which for that one day will be 10. There she will get a scan of her brain, and as the mother of my very short ten year old son named Zoey, I will be asked lots of questions. Because I have a lot to say about the brain activity of boys. For this, I am certain I am qualified.


hej said...

As O.J. got his, so will you.

Mer said...

Is that a picture of Bon Scott from AC-DC?
If you can't be in a focus group or sell your eggs, there's always "phone sex operator" or "entertaining sailors." Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

Did they somehow get access to your Safeway card number and find out that you're a big, fat liar,that you don't purchase tons of sunshine in a glass?

(It is good to have on hand for when blood sugar plummets though.)

My favorite juice lately is cran-blueberry,so,so good. Can't wait to get home to my stifling house and pour myself a cool glass.

krista said...

you totally win. you got the $100 and you didn't even have to stay.
you should make this your new gig. just sign up, pass the initial interview and then say something totally inappropriate in the focus group so that they let you go early.
you're a genius.

Erienne said...

how about a position at an "eyebrow threading kiosk in the San Francisco Shopping Center"? I was tempted to apply but figured, I'm probably not going to be wanting to thread some hairy old lady's eyebrows for all of San Francisco (aka those of us less fortunate to shop anywhere but...) to see ; )

but hey, now it's up for grabs!

Weitzell4 said...

same thing just happened to me, only I didn't even have to answer any questions once I got there. apparently they routinely overbook because they often have no shows. $75 for a 20 min. round trip drive, score! sign me up anytime.

Bird* said...

LOL LOL... i love love Craigslist.

Jessie said...

O.J.? O.J.'ll kill ya!

Aartee said...

LOL I am sorry...if it's any consolation we love you!

Anonymous said...

I used to get d'ed up for those things all the time until my brother started working for the research company....when they asked what I do for a living I answered with the honest reply, which is marketing. Since that is technically a marketing research company it killed me. So now I tell them something different every time. Doctor, Lawyer, sanitation engineer, etc. Paid off, I just got $200 for participating in a breastfeeding study. Awesome.