Quite often I find myself getting offended by the things that offend other people, but I think I’m with Lacey Willmott in wondering just why Aeroplan, the travel and shopping rewards people, would be sending out a survey asking folks to choose their level of agreement with statements such as “Overall, there is too much immigration. It threatens the purity of the country,” “getting married and having children is the only real way of having a family,” “the father of the family must be master in his own house” and “whatever people say, men have a certain natural superiority over women, and nothing can change this.”
“I was alarmed and extremely concerned,” said the PhD geography student at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ont.
In an email, Aeroplan offered her 100 bonus miles to take a “shopping and life habits” survey. It said the results would only be used to help enhance the program.
So she was shocked when she encountered questions on hot-button topics such as gay marriage, government’s role in society and family values.
“I thought, ‘Wow, this is really problematic,'” said Willmott, who wondered what the questions had to do with Aeroplan’s rewards program.
Also wondering the very same thing? Aeroplan, which while saying some silly ass thing about not having properly reviewed the questions like a responsible person would do, did agree that this was wrong and pledged to delete all of the data collected by CROP, who the company had contracted to put the survey together.
Ahh, CROP. I had never heard of them, but I do believe that should we ever require market research here at Vomit Comet World HQ, we will be passing them over in favour of a firm that maybe has a snort of a chance of understanding concepts such as knowing its audiences.
CROP’s president Alain Giguere says he asked some bold questions simply to help Aeroplan better understand its members’ points of view.
“Are we dealing with modern people or are we dealing with very traditional people?” he said. “The goal of it is really to understand all the sensitivities of your audience.”
Giguere says, like it or not, many Canadians have conservative views on some issues.
According to his own research, in August 2017, when Canada was experiencing an influx of asylum seekers, 45 per cent of the 6,000 Canadians CROP surveyed agreed with the statement: “Overall, there is too much immigration. It threatens the purity of the country.”
Giguere says he has been asking these contentious questions in market research surveys for decades, including in a poll on populism and xenophobia that CROP did last year for CBC’s Radio-Canada. It included provocative questions such as the ones on immigration threatening the purity of Canada and the father being master of the house.
Giguere adds that people are free to oppose any statements they find offensive.
“You just have to disagree and we will know that you are a modern person,” he said. “This is a very scientific process.”
Which is all fine, but again, know your audience. Unless the goal was to allow Aeroplan to better target discounts on travel to ass backward shithole destinations such as the White House where every night is racist night and bigots eat free to “very traditional people”, those questions have absolutely nothing to do with my ability to swipe a card at the drugstore or sit there and curse at the miles balance that won’t let me fly across town let alone the country. Next time, assuming somebody in the stuff reviewing department doesn’t do his job again and there is a next time, maybe leave the provocative bits at the office until they’re asked for, Alain.