Making $2.25/hour

A few months ago I bought a new car. A few weeks ago, I received a letter in the mail from JD Power. It turns out they wanted me to fill out a survey about the initial quality of my car.

Wow, I thought, now I can give them my own opinion which can, in turn, be used to tell me what else to consume!

The packet from JD Power contained four things:

  • A letter explaining everything
  • A four page, double-sided, survey form with hundreds of questions and bubbles
  • A return envelope
  • One American Dollar which JD Power gave me “as a token of (their) appreciation for (my) participation”

Wait, you seriously gave me a dollar?

At first I was surprised that they even included money but then I got to thinking, if they included the dollar to compensate me for my time, then how valuable is my time based on the time needed to fill out the survey?

To test this, I decided to do something pretty simple:

  1. Fill out survey
  2. ???
  3. Profit!

I broke out my iPhone’s Clock app and used the stopwatch. This is by no means scientific. I likely read the questions much faster than the average person and likely put much less thought into my answers. If anything, the only way my sample is somewhat time representative is the fact that I shade test ovals obsessively. FILL THE ENTIRE OVAL.

Your test results, sir

The JD Power survey took me 26 minutes and 38 seconds to complete. The test was a mix of oval-stuffing, slamming characters in small boxes, and monkey scratching on blank red lines.

Once again, I broke our my trusty iPhone (the test asked if I used one, for the record) to fire up the Calculator app. Based on my time and the amount I was paid, JD Power paid me an hourly rate of approximately $2.25.

Some useless and amusing comparisons

I already knew that I make more than $2.25 on my elevator ride to my office at work every morning; I was curious how that wage compares to some other countries. As it turns out, it’s cheaper to just pay dumb Americans to fill these out than pay foreign workers to fake them.

Some minimum wages around the world (all in USD)

  • El Salvador: ~$4.80/hr
  • Liberia: ~$3.15/hr
  • Taiwan: ~$3.67/hr
  • United States (not working for JD Power): $7.25
  • United States (working for JD Power): $2.25