That Time I Was Disqualified for a Hot Dog Survey

Because being unemployed will make you do strange things (like eat an entire layer cake while watching a Vanderpump Rules marathon), I recently answered an email survey that offered cold hard cash (OK, a check most likely) in exchange for my thoughts on certain food items. Of course, before I got to the taste-testing phase, I had to check off how frequently I purchased the products in question.

Wanting to respond honestly as any good consumer should, I admitted that I don't buy instant coffee nor instant rice, even though I knew I might be blowing my chance to make a cool $50 for eating (which I love, see above) foods I didn't have to pay for myself.

Unfortunately, my candor limited me to just frozen desserts and hot dogs. I typically don't purchase the latter but my son recently tossed a package into our cart at Trader Joe's after no fewer than five "Please, Mom!!!"s. And because they were being bagged for me by a friendly hipster in a Hawaiian shirt, who said, "Hey, buddy!" and high-fived my child, I pretended that those dogs were made with 40% less of the lips and assholes, Dan Aykroyd warned us about in The Great Outdoors.

Still, as I completed the survey and waited to see if I qualified, I said a silent prayer that I'd be placed in the decadent frozen dessert study as opposed to the belch-inducing weenie analysis.

So, moments later when a pop-up appeared alerting me that I'd been deemed worthy of sampling a fleet of frankfurters, I felt a little nauseous. I'm not being metaphorical here. I hate hot dogs. And they hate me. Like, I have one bite and I double over. Still, I was willing to choke down these doggies for a cool $50. (Let me put it in perspective: That's four bottles of mediocre wine or take-out Chinese food on a Friday night. See where I'm coming from?)

I was ready to go in with an open mind and an empty stomach and give them my valuable feedback. I looked forward to socializing with hot dog enthusiasts, a group I seldom mingled with during my regular day-to-day, and imagined what a fascinating demographic this must be. And, oh, the interesting tales I was certain I'd come back to tell!

Plus, I was having such fun, making all sorts of Joey Chestnut and Matt Stoney references, telling my children that if I suddenly struck up a love for the BBQ staple they should prepare to see me representing our fam next July 4th in Coney Island.


But, alas, that dream died when I received this email:

Seriously, that is how it arrived -- bolded and underlined -- as if to say, "Your palate is so unrefined, there's no way we can let you near our dogs."

When I'm already receiving so much rejection from potential employers, were these two additional measures necessary? And, when they apologize for "any inconvenience" are they referring to money I'd already spent on Tums and Pepto in anticipation of gastric distress? Or, the hours I'd blocked off for later that afternoon, which I'd planned to devote to holding my stomach, curled up in a fetal position complaining?

I'm kidding, of course. Surely, there are easier (and less vile) ways to make $50. (Right??) But, still, when you "no longer qualify" to sample hot dogs, you can't help but wonder how a future boss will ever see you as competent enough to even use a stapler.
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