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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Monday, August 20, 2012

Williams Family Part of the National Consumer Panel

One way we save money is to find creative ways to pay for what we want or need.  That’s why we are now part of the National Consumer Panel.

I had joined a few weeks ago and had received follow-up emails asking if we would be willing to be part of the panel and scan purchased items and upload the data.  When I learned that the uploads along with survey responses earn points that can be redeemed for various prizes I said sure!

An e-mail came a bit later saying that we were on the waiting list for a scanner and that as soon as one was available it would be shipped to us.  Within days another e-mail came saying the scanner had been shipped.

Soon, the package arrived via FedEx with the scanner and directions.  I waited until the week-end to hook everything up and give it a try.  The scanner is plugged into an outlet near our computer and another cord—for data transmission—is connected to the base device and our router.  It was easy to hook up.

Then it was time to scan purchases made at the grocery store before putting them away.  I even got to enter where the purchases were made, who I shopped with, whether or not I used coupons, and the total amount of the sale.  I finished by uploading or transmitting the data just to see if I could do it—data is only required to be transmitted weekly.  All went well and the scanner beeped at me when it was done and then shut off.

Now, the real test begins.  We need to scan anything that comes into our house via purchase.  And, I do mean anything!  If we are out and stop by a convenience store for a soda and slice of pizza—scan it.  If we purchase gas for the car—scan it (there’s a special way to do it).  Pet supplies—scan them too. 

The husband and I read through the provided material and he asked really good questions and we worked out how to respond to them.  He even asked about purchases made on vacation.  Yep, those too.  So, those Disney trading pins he is planning to buy?  He will have to save the little cards that they come with so we can scan them when we get home.  But alas, there’s a way to tell the panel that you won’t be transmitting as you are gone on vacation, too.  There's also a way to tell the National Consumer Panel that you didn't make any purchases during a week and transmit that data.

I can already tell this is going to be a test for my memory as I have to enter the coupon amounts if coupons were used to purchase items.  I don’t intend to shorten my coupon stack so I will have to rely on my memory. 

The husband is one his own for errands and a bit of shopping so we’ll see how it goes.  I’m sure he will do just fine.

While goods are certainly a huge component of the data collection, I noticed services are not.  If I got a massage—no data entry.  Haircut—no data entry.  And while a suitcase purchase would be scanned, the airline reservations that the suitcase will be used on do not require data collection.

We are just launching into this journey.  For now it is an adventure--something fun and new.  The husband and I did check out all the possible rewards.  I’ve got my eye on a new vacuum cleaner.  Glamorous, I know.  And, I would have to scan it upon arrival!

We can stop at any time and ship the scanner back to the National Consumer Panel.  Directions along with a label came in the box.  I put the box in a safe place just for that purpose.

If you would like to join the panel--click here.

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