How Did We Do? -The Toast

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Remember last week when you bought those vacuum cleaner bags from us? Well, we’d like to know: How did we do?

You shopped at Safeway? You enjoyed a complimentary beverage at one of our dealerships? You opted for the PiYo-Zumba combo hour at one of our rec centers? Fair enough. Now tell us: How did we do?

You don’t remember giving us your email? Trust us, you did. It happened toward the end of the online transaction we shared, when you were starting to get that squirmy how-do-I-make-this-end feeling. You’d opted not to choose and enter a password, which would have made all future transactions with us seamless, cloudlike, exultant even. Instead, you complained about being forced to keep track of yet another password. “I am only going to buy a decorative urn for my own future cremains once!” you shouted, perhaps thinking no one could hear you.

But we heard. And the truth is, you never know! Life is unpredictable. You might need to make a similar purchase again.

You declined to sign in, and opted to check out as a guest. What you didn’t realize is that we consider our guests to be permanent. We will continue to check in with you, via email, text, and phone. Your opinion is valuable to us. In fact, it is the very lifeblood that sustains our young; without a steady stream of customer opinions, they soon wither and die.

After you’d entered your credit card information, we knew you were trying to escape, and we offered you an out: your email address in exchange for an end to this experience. “End” is such a relative term, though, isn’t it? You thought you could just order that deeply discounted bag of specialty dog food that we offered to rush direct to your home at no shipping cost to you in exchange for the mere pleasure of those brief moments in your company. We lied. It wasn’t entirely free. Now we’d like to know: How did we do?

Did the product meet and/or exceed your expectations? Did it arrive with speed and alacrity that put you in mind of the wing-footed Mercury? Did our customer service personnel manage to evoke your first-grade teacher, Mrs. Pugel, the one with the golden hair, who looked deep into your eyes when you spoke and truly cared? How did we do?

In the past, we tried giving you a chance to win a gift card in exchange for your opinion, but we don’t even do that anymore. We feel that offering prizes or compensation for your time cheapens this true, pure bond we have with you. You started to take one of our surveys once—O joyous day! We’ve gilded it on our calendars!—but then you gave up, finding it too long. Not even the progress completion bar showing how close you were to the sweet release of your opinion induced you to continue! Is fifteen minutes of your uncompensated time really so valuable? Well, yes, it is, but only to us.

We are the insecure boyfriend that you’ll never be allowed to dump until you tell us: How did we do?

On a scale of one to ten, out of a star rating of one to five, in terms of thumbs up/thumbs down, smiley/frowny/vomiting faces: How did we do?

Why do we care so much about what you think, you may wonder, when your own friends and family members don’t always seem to care? Shouldn’t the proper question be: Why don’t they care more?

Deleting our latest email requesting your responses to our customer satisfaction survey will do nothing to diminish our ardor or our eagerness for your opinion. We’ll fill your inbox again, each message prefaced with an increasingly desperate plea: Only Five More Days to Share Your Opinion! Tell Us Now!

Okay, Last Chance, We Mean It! We Care So Much That We’re Giving You Three More Days to Rate This Product!

You’ve shunted us into the “Promotions” tab of your inbox, and don’t think that didn’t hurt, but we will not be discouraged. Requesting removal from our mailing list might work. For a time. But the truth is, we’ll never leave you, because what we feel for you and your opinions is agape, a God-like, unconditional love, not mere eros or philia. We do not play dice. We do not trifle. We must know.

How did we do?

Jenny Shank's first novel, The Ringer, won the High Plains Book Award. Her satire, stories, and essays have appeared in McSweeney's, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Rumpus, Bust, Prairie Schooner, and The Onion.

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