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Published on 03/06/05 in the Fostoria Focus
Leonard fills out survey, menaces national economy

Focus Correspondent

“You’ve been selected!”

Now those are happy words. Well, unless you’re in a police lineup, I suppose.

But they were happy words for me. I was selected (once again) to participate in a survey by my old pal Laura David of Consumer Product Survey of America.

This was good news for two reasons. The first is that by filling out a survey of my shopping preferences, I’m eligible to win either five grand or a Caribbean cruise.

Secondly, when Laura signed her name to the survey letter, she signed “Laura.” Another time it was “Laura David.”

That was a dagger in the heart of my self-esteem. You see, in the first survey, Laura used just her first name. Nice and cordial.

In the second one, she used “Laura David.” I thought that cast a shadow of remoteness, aloofness even, on our heretofore happy relationship. Now she’s back to just Laura. Much friendlier.
After all, when she writes, her pet name for me is “The Main Grocery Shopper.” I ain’t kiddin’. It’s right on the envelope.

So anyhow, I’m the recipient of survey 088, Field Survey Project 76. To what do I owe this high honor?
Well, I can tell you for a flat fact it wasn’t just the luck of the draw (and not just because of my devastatingly pretty face, either.)

Laura said, “Dear Shopper, Once in a while we carefully select individuals in your community — those whom we feel represent the smartest, most value conscious shoppers. Then we use some of our research budget to find out exactly what these smart shoppers really want. If our hunch is right, you are such a person.”

If by “smartest” and “value conscious” Laura means cheap, she hit the nail right on the head.
Laura asked whether I purchased everything from plastic food wrap to pet food to hearing aid batteries to beer. (No to the first three, yes on four.) She also wanted to know if I contributed money to liberal or conservative political causes.

Poor Laura must have taken leave of her senses. It’s like the fella’ said about voting and politicians. “I never vote. It only encourages them.”

I should have explained to Laura my coherent, consistent, faultlessly logical political philosophy. Sometimes I’m a Republican. Sometimes I’m a Democrat.

Doesn’t sound very consistent, but it is. I look at the platforms of each party. I carefully examine the issues. I weigh the character and qualifications of each candidate.
Then I ask myself — which political party has been making me maddest lately? Then I vote for the other guys.

See, very consistent.

Laura also asked this question: “Does your household own a horse or a swimming pool?”
Neither, but I’ve got an 8-track tape player.

I took horseback riding lessons in Dayton around 20 years ago. Was watching a western one day and thought I’d like to ride a horse. About the second lesson I was riding a horse named Silver Cloud. He was gray with patches of white. Beautiful horse.

We were riding single-file in an indoor riding arena, basically a big barn. We were learning the basics of making your horse walk and stop, walk and stop. Well, the horse in front of me stopped suddenly and at the wrong time which spooked poor old Cloudy.

He took off like a shot. One of my feet came out of the stirrup. I grabbed the reins as tightly as I could and held on for dear life.

Cloudy went thundering straight for the barn wall. I thought he was going to run us right into it.
Then he just up and stopped, panting and snorting. I sat there, grateful that Cloudy had no suicidal impulses.

The instructor told me I did a fine job. Fine job, indeed. All I did was flop around in the saddle and contemplate getting killed.

Did get better at riding, though. After a few more lessons, the instructor let us take the horses outdoors.
Riding a horse on a trail through the woods is a wonderful experience.
In fact, I may recommend it to my pal Laura.

Yes! Let’s get back to Laura. She said that if I returned my survey I would automatically be entered in a drawing for lotsa’ prizes.

In addition to the $5,000 and the cruise, I could win “More Cash Prizes,” “Valuable Money-Saving Coupons” or “Exclusive Bonus Offers.” Naturally, I’m just tingling at the prospect of getting my mitts on some of this stuff.

Of course, Laura isn’t the only woman to be considered here. Cindy is all excited, too.
I says, “Cindy, wouldn’t it be grand if I won valuable money saving coupons?”

She says, “I want the cruise.”

I says, “How about some nice exclusive bonus offers?”

She says, “I want the cruise.”

“More case prizes?” I suggest.

“The cruise.”

Well, there you have it. Cindy has been busily shopping for sun bonnets and other cruise wear. She’s also been studying up on fancy drinks that come with cute little umbrellas.

So, Laura, it’s the cruise. Just as soon as I find my swimming trunks, I’ll be ready.


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