Things Weber Doesn’t Need to Know

My family recently added a new Weber grill to our stable of cooking instruments. I found the manual lying on the counter the other day, and was surprised to discover its back cover taken up by a mammoth “product registration” card.

“This card registers your product and helps us get to know our customers,” it read. “However, failure to complete and return this card does not diminish your warranty rights.” Good, because though the first 10 questions entail whether I’d owned a grill before, if I enjoy grilling, if I’d like to receive Grill Out® Times, etc., (that would be no, no, and no) the ways Weber wants to “get to know” me turn swiftly more intrusive, including:

  • My gender
  • My marital status
  • Date of my birth
  • Including myself, how many people live in my household
  • Date of birth of children in my household 18 years of age and younger
  • Whether I own or rent
  • My highest level of educational attainment
  • My household income, as it falls in 16 ranges from “Under $15,000” to “$300,000+”
  • What I/we buy through the mail, over the Internet, or from television among 15 groups from “Books/Magazines” to “Other”
  • Which credit cards I/we have
  • Which of 40 activities, from “Astrology” to “Worship/Bible”, at least one person in my home enjoys

So, after buying something to make hot dogs, the company would like one to specify what you’ve studied, what you make, what you buy, what you enjoy, and whether you’ve married. They’ll then respond by sharing this information with anyone they can get to pay for it, while your compensation is the continuation of warranty rights you’d have even if you don’t send in the card.

All of which leads me to ask: does anybody ever fill these out? Why?

3 Responses to “Things Weber Doesn’t Need to Know”

  1. meq Says:

    not to undermine new mothers in any way, but after my sister had her first child (and lost her social life) she began to fill in any questionnaire that came across her path. have you ever seen those magazines dedicated to bored people, where you can enter like 150 competitions weekly? yep, their target audience is my sister.
    i don’t think my sister ever had the motivation to send one off, but there must be ex-workaholics who have sacrificed their life for a screaming mouth, desperate for corporate contact or task completion or something. then, of course, there’s the stupid people who don’t read the part about the warranty still being valid when the card has not been returned. these are the people that need a “warning: this beverage is hot” sign on their coffee. *sigh*
    people make me cry.

  2. Simon Says:

    Marketing could I believe, if it were ever so foolishly inclined as to re-brand itself with a modicum of truth, be named “Exploitation of the stupid, for the purposes of enhancing your bank balance”.

    In fact I blame my Marketing Degree for making me a cynic and eroding the tiny element of respect I used to have for people.

  3. jsp Says:

    meq: When I was a youngster, I loved to get mail. Since I decided it didn’t happen nearly often enough, I grabbed one of those “reader service cards” from PC Magazine, and circled all 500 numbers. We got sackfuls of mail that year (our postman hated me for it.) Of course, that was just my address…

    Si: I do think there is too much “form an audience around the product” instead of “form the product based upon what the audience wants” out there, but I think the bright side of having a marketing degree is that you are better able to recognize the tactics.

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