THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Funniest research anecdotes

1. A planner doing some groups knocked on a door. "Hi, is your Mum

in?" he said to a boy who answered the door. After the planner had

unpacked his stimulus and totally rearranged the furniture in the living

room, a hassled housewife charged in. "Who are you," she screamed, "and

what are you doing in my house?" Wrong house.

2. A researcher is doing two beer groups in a hotel. On checking out the

next morning, there is an unexplained item on his bill. The blokes in

the first group had noticed the room number on his key and charged a

slap-up meal to his room.

3. While quantifying the relative merits of various, predominantly red,

pack designs by interviewing passing consumers in a shopping centre,

researchers stopped a couple for their opinion. The woman said she

really couldn't tell which she liked best because she was colour-blind.

When researchers suggested that perhaps her husband could help her, she

said that was unlikely because he couldn't see at all.

4. The time when the researcher goes behind the two-way mirror to ask

the client if she has any questions. They overhear the respondents

discussing how boring it is this week.

5. French brothers Lilet (pronounced Lilay) are intending to launch

their red aperitif wine in the UK. When they try to quantify its likely

appeal, the most common claimed frequency for drinking is "once a


6. After a beer group, a respondent leaves behind the invitation card to

the evening he was given. On the back of it is written: "Dear Bob, don't

forget you are a lager drinker and you drink between nine and 12 pints a


7. A pretty female planner goes behind the two-way mirror to ask her

client a question. They hear one of the male respondents volunteer: "I

would, wouldn't you?" All the other respondents agree vociferously. The

planner's credibility is blown.

8. When trying to recruit a group of wearers of false teeth, one

prospective respondent takes hers out, in the middle of Orpington High

Street, to prove that she has them.

9. During a discussion group for one of the big banks, a respondent

realises his bank is the client. He gets up and starts tapping on the

two-way mirror furiously. "You fuckers," he says, "you made my business

collapse." He then starts crying.

10. During a group discussion, an American client can be clearly heard,

behind the two-way mirror, screaming furiously at the incompetent

researcher: "Probe, you bastard, probe."