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Friday, November 05, 2004
Moderately Too Creamy
Last night I made $35 in cash for tasting 3 kinds of potato salad. I nearly killed myself trying to get out of my actual salaried job on time and driving through torrential downpours, and probably using 1/4 of a tank of gas all in order to taste potatoes mixed with mayo for 35 bucks. That didn't strike me as strange at the time, though.

I arrived late, breathless, and wet, and was handed a clipboard with the exact same questions as were on the online survey that I took in order to qualify for the taste test. "How often would you say you buy potato salad?" "How do you feel about potato salad in general?" "If you were a potato, how many eyes would you have?" We were reminded that we could not taste the potatoes if we had on perfume, scented lipgloss, too much fabric softener, or deer pheromones.

There was a strange mix of people in the room. Not everyone looked like they needed an extra $35. I tried to imagine what would motivate someone to come out on a horribly stormy night to taste food if they didn't need the money. I saw the token one person that I knew. Oddly enough she was a waitress at the pizza place my family used to frequent. Can waitresses be food tasters? Seems like cheating to me! I was going to call her out then and there, but they ushered us into the top-secret food laboratory.

We rambled into the room single file like we were heading to the school cafeteria. We each sat down at a blank white study carroll furnished with a paper plate with 3 saltines, a plastic cup of water, and three forks. The test adminstrators were all wearing lab coats with embroidered nametags, like they had a really important job and maybe we would never figure out how to taste the potato salad without them.

Before we chowed down we had to answer yet another general question about potato salad. Something like: "If you like potato salad so much, why don't you marry it?"

Before each sample you had to eat some saltines and drink some water to cleanse your potato palate. God forbid the samples mingled in your mouth. That would ruin everything. The guy next to me ate all of each of his samples. So I figured out a reason why people would come out if they didn't need the money. He was hungry. Then came the barrage of taste related questions: "How do you feel about the overall appearance of this potato salad." I'm sure there is someone out there somewhere for this salad, but it's just not my type. It seems to retain water. "Was the dressing too creamy, moderately too creamy, just about right, slightly uncreamy, or not creamy at all?" Yes. "How would you rate the taste of the celery salt in this sample?" What's celery salt? "How do you feel about the overall color of this sample?" Oh no, you're not trapping me into *that* kind of a question.

So I left feeling a bit queesy and over-mayonaised, but $35 richer. I don't think I like potato salad anymore.
posted by LoRi~fLoWer
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7 Comments:
  • At 2:01 PM, Blogger ~*~*DAISY*~*~ said…

    LOL..you are hilarious!!
    Have a wonderful weekend...Can't wait to see what you will post on Monday! :)
    I also checked out your brother's site. Seems like a very nice man and, from what I have seen in your blog, a great brother! I myself have 3 boys...and can totally relate to him about still wanting to play with them...but that's not cool anymore to them :)

     
  • At 2:39 PM, Blogger monkeybro said…

    Dear Lori,
    What a strange coincidence. I recently volunteered to taste test McDonalds new line of sandwich called The McBlandwich. My experience wasn't quite as pleasant as yours though. I ended up being assigned to the McLiver and onion group. I was hoping for the coconut creme dessert McBlandwich but I got there late..
    Anyway, I was told, per the contract, I'd be paid $15 for my participation. Did you have to sign one too? If you're like me I bet the handcuffs and duct tape freaked you out alittle. I will say this...Once I signed, they were quick to untie me and overall were very polite.
    Now that I'm reading over the fine print of the contract, I see that it stipulates that I will be paid the $15 in "food certificates" good for any one of the 3 McDonald restaurants in Schlagerville, Texas.
    I feel ripped off. Is there room for another member in your potato salad group? Is there a macaroni salad group I could join instead? What about egg salad?
    Any non-mayo groups that you know of?
    yours etc...,

     
  • At 5:52 PM, Blogger bella said…

    Too funny. I had a similar experience with instant cappucino.... ugh! But like you said... a few bucks richer :)

     
  • At 8:29 PM, Blogger Mikael said…

    i think servers are more than simply legitimate food-tasters. in fact, they should probably be paid more for their expertise. not that i waited on tables for 8 years or anything...

     
  • At 8:48 AM, Blogger LoRi~fLoWer said…

    But don't you always tell everyone they made a "good choice"? If you were going to be a good taste tester you'd have to say, "actually man, I find our Friday's beef and beer to be a little on the tough side, I'm sure you'd enjoy Applebee's beer and beef much more."

     
  • At 11:22 AM, Blogger Colin said…

    Servers have to call everything good in the serving environment, but once they leave it, they have great opportunities to be honest. I don't recall ever hearing Mike defend the quality of the food where he served.

     
  • At 8:05 PM, Anonymous pheromone oil said…

    good post

     
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