For Gold, Peace, and Freedom


Body Wash Product Sample Arrives

September 6th, 2007

The second product sample that I mentioned in last week’s consumerism article arrived today. We received a bottle of body wash that appears to be about eight ounces in volume and does not reveal any brand name on the label. The actual product is pale blue in color and has about the same consistency as Head & Shoulders shampoo. The fragrance is similar to Irish Spring bar soap, with perhaps a hint of Zest or Dial scents mixed in with it. Later today, I will probably have a chance to use the product and test its cleansing effectiveness. According to our instructions, we should be getting another bottle of body wash within three or four days:

Dear Panel Member,

You or someone in your household recently completed an online survey and agreed to try two body wash products and provide feedback. Please give this letter to the person who agreed to participate. This may be you!

First, I’d like to thank you for agreeing to participate in this important study! In this shipment you should be receiving one (1) bottle of body wash.

  1. Please open the box with body wash and fill out the attached paper questionnaire immediately giving us your opinions in the LOOK OF THE ACTUAL PRODUCT INSIDE THE BOTTLE. The paper questionnaire needs to be ANSWERED BEFORE you start showering with the bodywash.
  1. Please keep the questionnaire as you will be asked to copy the answers to the online survey available in a few days.


  1. Please stop using your current body wash/shower gel or bar soap and start using the body wash you’ve received in this shipment.
  2. Please use the product we sent you for 3 CONSECUTIVE DAYS at the time you would normally use body wash.
  3. After having used this body wash, we will send you a short 10 minute Internet survey to get your opinion about this product.
  4. Please save the package with product 3-digit code. You will be asked to enter this code in the follow-up survey.
  5. It is very important that you start using the body wash immediately as you will receive another shipment in 3-4 days with the second product to try. Please make sure you will fill out the survey about the body wash labeled “Use First” before you start using the product from the second shipment.

Thank you again for your help! We hope you enjoy your participation in this product evaluation. We look forward to hearing your opinions over the next few days.

The attached questionnaire is pretty simple and only consists of four questions. For each of them, we are supposed to give a rating between 1 and 7 for overall appeal of the product, how refreshing we think it will be, how clean we believe that it will help us get, and how appealing the product looks.

After we receive the second product, it will be interesting to compare the two and see if we can detect any significant differences. In previous product tests such as this, I have had cases where we would receive two products back-to-back and they wind up being exactly the same with no discernible differences! This is probably done to test for consistency within the sample for statistical purposes, and perhaps also to make sure that we actually received the correct products.

On the other hand, we have also had instances where the two products were genuinely different samples, and we would usually be asked later whether or not we preferred one over the other. In this case, we really will not know which kind of test we are dealing with until we get the second product and have a chance to make a fair comparison.

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