Back in July, I read a post at The Penny Hoarder about a new program from Nielsen. Instead of letting them spy on my TV viewing habits (which would be funny since I only watch one hour of TV a week), I learned that I could let them spy on my eating habits. All I had to do is let them send me a handheld scanner, which I would use to scan the barcodes on my food items every time I bought groceries.
Why would anyone want to participate? Because you earn points that you can redeem for gift cards and other stuff. And it doesn’t take much effort. So I was pretty excited to sign up. Little did I know I was signing up to be called a liar, accused of theft, and stalked.
Once Nielsen had my information, I started getting emails every five minutes. “Take this survey!” “We need your opinions!” It really got on my nerves. I didn’t realize that I was consenting to random survey opportunities on top of the grocery scanning. A few weeks later, the emails became frantic. “YOU HAVEN’T SCANNED ANY GROCERIES YET!!!!” Um, no I haven’t. Because I never received the scanner in the mail.
I kept waiting and waiting, but my scanner never arrived. I tried to unsubscribe from the emails, which were becoming stalkerish at this point, mentioning that I had not received the scanner and had changed my mind about participating in the program.
They Get Indignant
I got a response to my unsubscribe request – a real email, not an OMG SURVEY!!!!! one. Basically, the person stated that I had, in fact, received my scanner. And I replied that I hadn’t.
The person emailed again, saying that I did get my scanner because FedEx delivered it and I signed for it. And I’m like, “Oh, really? Because I work during the day and no one else lives here. How did I sign for it?” It kind of pissed me off that they acted like I was lying. I mean, what the hell? If I had the stupid scanner, I’d be scanning things and trying to earn points. It’s not like they have a high street value or anything (as far as I know; I’ve never really looked into it).
I didn’t hear anything else from Nielsen so I thought the matter was settled.
They Get Even More Annoying
Yesterday I got a letter in the mail. “WE KNOW YOU HAVE THE SCANNER. HERE IS PROOF. STEALER.” (Edit: apparently I need to clarify that the letter did NOT actually say that verbatim. I was just being my ranty, sarcastic self.) They attached a fuzzy FedEx delivery confirmation with an unfamiliar signature – an initial (not mine) with my last name. I was LIVID.
I don’t know what happened in this situation. Maybe some random bum was hanging out on my porch while I was at work and decided to sign for the package. One of my dogs might have answered the door, signed for the package, and hidden it in the attic. Maybe one of my neighbors is addicted to drugs and thought the bag/box might contain something of value. Or perhaps the Nielsen people are crazy and invented a signature to convince me that I signed for a package that I never received.
I don’t know what they want me to do. I can’t produce something I don’t have. After the way they’ve treated me, there’s no way in hell I’d use the stupid scanner even if they sent another one tomorrow.
So What’s Next?
I have no idea where to go from here. I’m sick of being harassed and accused of having something that I DO NOT have. I’m starting to wonder if they’re going to sue me in an attempt to recover the nonexistent scanner.
I thought about putting up LOST SCANNER posters in my neighborhood, but I realized I don’t know what to write.
LOST: ONE GROCERY SCANNER THING FROM NIELSEN
DESCRIPTION: I don’t really know because I’ve never seen it. I can google a picture if you want. Apparently it was a FedEx package with a handheld scanner in it.
Yeah, that just doesn’t work too well.
Two Things to Take Away
If you ever decide to participate in Nielsen’s grocery barcode stalking program, do me a favor and make sure you receive the scanner. Quit your job if it prevents you from being home to sign for the package. Sit outside day and night looking for a FedEx truck. Because apparently once you’ve given Nielsen your information, they will stop at NOTHING to make sure they get the info they want.
Also, if I don’t post for awhile, you guys will know that the Nielsen people are holding me hostage. If you are the person who signed for my scanner, please come forward and save me while there’s still time.