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Toilet Paper Product Sample Arrives

July 17th, 2007

The Top-Dollars program has yielded a few more free product samples recently. Although most of the products that I have received from paid surveys have been food-related items, in this past month we have had the opportunity to try out a different kind of product. Yesterday we received a box that contained two 4-roll packs of toilet paper along with the following instructions:

Dear Panel Member,

Enclosed with this letter is one 8 roll package of toilet tissue which I would like you to use for the next two weeks in place of your current brand. Please start using the product today, if at all possible.

There are just a few rules that I would like you to follow:

1. Starting today, please set aside your current toilet tissue and use ONLY the toilet tissue we have provided for the next two weeks.

2. Only you or your immediate household members living at home should use this toilet tissue. Please do not give it to a neighbor, friend, or relative to use or keep.


I am most interested in your opinion of the product and at the end of the two weeks, I will be contacting you via the Internet so you can give me your opinion of the toilet tissue product you used for me.

Thank you very much for helping with this study. I will be looking forward to seeing your comments.

It’s curious that the instructions say that they sent us “one 8 roll package”; the product that we actually received was definitely split into two 4 roll packs, which is similar to the size that we usually buy anyway. I suppose it is possible that they consider both packs part of the same package and then split it into two parts for shipping purposes. As far as I can tell, the two packs of four rolls contain the same product.

At any rate, it’s quite clear from the instructions that they really want us to start using this product right away (I have preserved the boldface, underlining, etc. from the original letter). Well, we did start using it and so far it is functioning as toilet paper normally would, and seems somewhat softer and fluffier than the kind that we normally use. The brand name of the sample was not revealed; it was simply labeled “Product Q” along with a short description and the name of the market research company that was conducting the survey.

Although it would rate highly for the softness factor, I’m not so sure that our sample would be very economical to actually buy in the stores. Each roll contains only 200 sheets, which compares to 1000 for our usual brand. Each sheet is little thicker and more puffed up than some of the other brands, and this makes the roll appear to be approximately the same size as the others even though it has fewer sheets.

The problem with this is that the rolls get used up very quickly, which means that we will have to buy the product more frequently in order to maintain our supplies (or perhaps buy more of it at one time). Unless each package is priced pretty low, we will wind up spending more money in order to obtain the same amount of product. This does not make much sense unless the new sample is significantly better in terms of quality than the other brands, but there is really not that much difference in this case.

Toilet paper retains the same functionality across all brands, so the main factor when considering which brand to buy is usually the price, or more specifically the price per sheet. Most of the time we wind up going with the 1000 sheet rolls and choosing a store brand that is less expensive than the comparable name brand. At this point, it seems unlikely that we would switch to the sample product unless it is priced low enough to be competitive in terms of its cost per sheet. The “softer” rolls and pretty packaging may be a nice marketing trick, but cost-conscious shoppers like us will not be fooled!

UPDATE 12/14/07: Interestingly, this page seems to have done relatively well in the search results recently. I can see that some of you have been searching for more information about toilet paper such as when we first started using it, how it is made, and even instructions on how to use it (wow, do people really need to use a search engine for this?).

While looking through some of the results, I found this handy little video (about six minutes long) that shows and explains how toilet paper is actually made. It also happens to mention when we first started using toilet paper and when the different types of toilet paper were invented.

2 Responses to “Toilet Paper Product Sample Arrives”

  1. comment number 1 by: jacob

    you’ve mentioned a few times about top-dollar.com and i recently signed up for them, how long until you had success with them as far as getting paid for surveys, and any tips you could give me? just send me an email thank you very much - jacob

  2. comment number 2 by: Karlonia


    I have sent you an email in response to your questions. It’s rather long (about 1400 words) but should contain enough information to help you get started on the path to success with paid surveys.

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