Friday, December 14, 2012

No focus

I was pretty pumped about being invited to participate in a Dan Jones Focus group.
When I worked full-time for The Deseret News, I could never qualify because somehow the people in charge didn't fully trust reporters and editors.
So now that I'm a free-lance writer I'm "free" to do things like serve on community boards and juries and focus groups.
It's always looked interesting to me.
When the guy called me to pre-qualify me, he asked a lot of pertinent questions...was I working for an advertising agency or related to anyone who did so?
Was I female?
How old was I?
Could I be on time and show up?
I passed the test and was set to be in a group discussing transportation issues.
"Be there early to get your full honorarium," the man in charge said.
I headed to Salt Lake, making sure I was not only early but WAY early. I shopped and completed a number of tasks along the way but still arrived in the parking garage about a half hour ahead of time.
I played Scrabble on my phone for a while and then toddled into the building.
A nice security officer helped me call the elevator and get to the third floor.
I checked in and took a name card.
I picked up a sandwich, sat down and munched away.
The waiting area soon filled up with a bunch of other ladies and we all eyed each other. These were the people we'd be talking with for the next couple of hours.
I wondered what this would be like?
I have pretty strong opinions about transportation in Utah, especially about the lack of dependable, affordable mass transit. Would I sway opinion, sound intelligent? Would I feel stupid, sound dumb?
But, alas, I was denied.
Just at the stroke of the hour, the receptionist announced they had overbooked and someone would be invited to leave (fully compensated) but still invited to leave.
My name was called. I collected my money and headed home, feeling like a dismissed juror, somewhat deflated despite my joy at getting to go home early.
(Maybe when a former newsroom colleague came in as part of the research team and waved merrily at me sitting in the waiting room, that hurt my chances. What do you think?)

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