The other day I responded to one of those e-mail surveys on consumer preferences. They asked me if I had access to a vehicle, and that qualified me to do the survey. They didn't ask me if the vehicle had wings.
The brands of gasoline available to aircraft are generally the same as those available to cars, so the survey proceeded fairly normally through me checking boxes for all the brands I'd heard of, and the brands I'd used for my last five purchases. They wanted to know what other services I'd used where I had last stopped for gas. Using the washroom, buying maps, buying oil were all on the list. They didn't have a checkbox for oxygen service, but they had an "other" box for me to fill it in.
They wanted to know when I last visited a Phillips 66 service station, how much did I spend on fuel, to the nearest dollar? I remembered the number because I had just entered it on my expense account. I put in 188 US gallons for $1003 and change. So I typed in 1003. The webform rejects it. The number must be between 1 and 999. I giggle and enter 999.
And from there the survey gets weird. They start asking me for my impression of various gas stations, as if I have some kind of personal relationship with the place, or have done extensive research. They're asking me which brand of gas is better for my engine, gives more power, better economy or is more environmentally friendly. I'm confused. I was under the impression that it was all gas. I honestly thought it all came through the same pipelines before it was pumped into the delivery trucks with different coloured paint jobs. I keep saying to the screen, "No, it's just GAS!" As long as it isn't mixed with diesel or contaminated with water, it burns fine. The target consumer has a much deeper commitment to his or her service station than I do.
They ask me what Techron does. They have an array of about forty possibly functions of the additive. I don't check any of them and fill in the other blank with "it's a marketing ploy."
How likely, they ask me, am I to return to the last Phillips 66 station for my next fill. Considering it's 800 nm away, and I'm going the other way, it's very unlikely. I think my responses won't be very useful in formulating their next marketing campaign. But I got some entertainment out of it. And I hope you did, too.