Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Day 2 in Philadelphia brings with it more photography. These are pretty fuzzy because I didn't have as much time to make sure they came out looking as fantastic as yesterday's pictures. So here goes.

I awoke to the beautiful, hazy Pennsylvanian sunshine at 6am. Then I trotted across the parking lot to building 2, where our little social experiment was about to get going. The experiment, of course, centers around that age old question: what happens if you put ten business colleagues in a dark room for ten hours with unlimited snacks and some poor schmuck on the other side of the one-way mirror? Hmmmm . . .

Oh look! Breakfast! Good thing I steered away from these, opting instead for a sensible danish and iced coffee. The iced coffee was particularly delicious, however, because procuring it involved telling somebody "go get me an iced coffee" and he was like "I'll go right now" and within twenty minutes I had a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee in my hand. And it didn't cost me anything. And someone had to go get it for me. I like that.

Oh, and those strawberries are so red because they are so overripe.

Ah yes, what we came for. A depressing, grey room with a huge mirror taking up one wall. What our vic--ahem, interviewees do not realize at first is that behind that huge mirror are actually a dozen business professionals laughing at their hair. Then we tell them because, legally, we have to. Minus the part about the hair. But what we don't have to tell them by law is that in that backroom there is also . . .

. . . unlimited free snacks! Seriously they just keep filling that basket. Sure someone pays for it. Not me! Lunch? Why yes, I'll order whatever I want off one of your three menus. Cookies? Yes, I want warm Otis Spunkmeyer cookies to fill the room with their delectable fragrance at 3pm sharp. M&Ms? At 7am? Of course!

So that's how your day at a focus group facility begins. Don't tell me that you don't find market research to have an irresistible magnetic pull, because I simply won't believe you. The perks are humble and few. Oh, but remember that part about the hair? Check this out:

2:30pm: In comes codename “Mr. Swirlie.” This guy has hair that has no beginning nor end. I’m serious, it’s like the mountainman beard of combovers. It’s not even a combover. It’s like a . . . moebius strip he created on his head with what’s left of his thinning hair. I’ve seen things like this in cartoons, but never in real life. He must spend three hours doing his hair in the morning. It’s ridiculous. Needless to say, the entire backroom starts giggling uncontrollably. Thank the gods of marketing for the brilliant invention of the one-way (pretty soundproof) mirror. I wish I could have taken a picture for this photoblog. That would have been the crowning achievement of this entire enterprise. But instead, I’ve provided a picture that really doesn’t do it justice, but at least gives you an idea. I’d say that interview guy's combover was like . . . three times the combover picture guy's is. Three times better than picture guy's combover could ever even hope to be.

Hey, ya gotta take the perks you get.


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