October 27th, 2005

In My Opinion

Every so often, something beautiful happens and you can only hope you’re in the exact right position to witness it. I’m not talking “plastic bag floating on the wind” beautiful, either, I’m talking straight-up, old-fashioned, wonderful neatness.

Last week my friend Kat alerted me to a situation where I might get paid for giving my opinion. Imagine! Not only did people want to hear what I had to say, they would PAY me for the privilege! I wholeheartedly endorse this trend. If only I could start a business based on this model. People would come in and say, “Should I eat at Olive Garden or McDonald’s?” and I would give them my opinion (Olive Garden today, McD’s tomorrow) and they would pay me and then they would go away.

Eventually I would expand onto the web. People could pay me via PayPal and I would do live “Opinion Support” using fancy Java chat applets.

Soon there would be chains. I’d have pre-set opinions and people could buy packages to have some around for when they needed them.

Let’s face it: we’ve all got opinions on just about everything. We happily offer them, even if nobody wants them. I’ll modify a well-known phrase and make it more family-friendly for inclusion here: Opinions are like skunks – everyone has one and they usually stink.

This whole blog is about me having opinions on stuff and wanting a place to put them. We have a hard time keeping our opinions to ourselves, and the more we know a person, the more likely it is we’ll give them our opinions. Random strangers we run into are fairly safe from our opinion-spewing, or, at least, safe from hearing it. We’ll still think it, but we might never say outloud, “Blue hair doesn’t really work on you,” “That bumper sticker reveals your ignorance,” or “You’re very attractive.”

So imagine getting the chance to vocalize your opinions and get paid for it! Awesome!

This particular instance was for the local paper. They’re getting a new fancy printing press in the near future, and it will require a layout change, so they decided to get opinions from people on some ideas they have. There were about 15 men in my group, and I was the youngest in what was apparently the “33 to 812” age group. There was a group of women in the group before us, and I know there are more (and younger) groups tomorrow night.

It was interesting to me to gather with these fellows I’d never seen before and likely won’t see again. There were some factory workers, a priest, a realtor, a principal (from my same school corporation, even, but not from a school where I work), some Purdue employees, and some retirees. I found it interesting and sometimes humorous what aspects of the layout they focused on – sports came up a lot, the comics were mentioned, and the TV schedule was dissected at length by one fellow (the priest).

At the end of the hour and a half, we were mostly in consensus about which version of the three we liked best. We were in total agreement about which one we did not like, so I guess that’s something. About half of us said we like the heading on one but the layout of the other.

I had this happen to me once before, in the mall in Denver, Colorado. I was on tour for the summer, and another fellow in the group and I got stopped by a lady who asked if we wanted to participate in a survey. We did. We watched a gum commercial and then answered questions about it. I think we got paid $5 or so.

Tonight, though, I felt I was in the big leagues. Not only did we get cookies, soda, water, fruit, and coffee, we got paid $45. $30 an hour? Not too shabby, my friends.

It was a beautiful thing.

One Comment on “In My Opinion”

  1. the obscure. says:

    Nice AB reference, will anyone else get it?

    I want to work for you when you get your business going.

    I dont have a skunk anymore, someone stole it and now has two.

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