Mrs E got cold-called the other week by the Food Standards Agency asking if she would like to take part in a survey about dietary trends. Intrigued, she said yes, and an appointment was made for a researcher, who was also a trained nurse, to come and ask us some questions about our food intake, etc... And they were most insistent we should both be there for the appointment.
Then came a letter saying we would both be asked to provide a urine sample, at which point I decided this was an intrusion too much, and suggested we cancelled. Oh, they were paying £20 for this 'interview' - big deal!
Mrs E decided to go ahead with this, despite me saying I thought it was ridiculous, so last night, while I was still stuck in traffic on the way home - grrrr - the researcher/nurse arrived. With two huge plastic bottles.
It seems this particular government department's research requires you to supply all your wee for a 24-hour period - and it must be on a work day, not a weekend!
So they seriously expect you to take this huge bottle, and the funnel they also thoughtfully supplied, to work with you, stick it under your desk, then take it off to the lav every time you need to go!!!
Mrs E said 'you have got to be joking' and, on being assured it wasn't a joke, showed the researcher the door.
The researcher's parting shot? 'You're the first person to have ever refused.'
Which begs a few questions...
1) What on earth is going on in this prodnose department? Is it control-freakery gone mad? And can't they see how bizarre this request is? Do they have any concern for people's dignity?
2) Who on earth are the people who go through all this at work for a day just to earn £20?
3) Could you possibly make something like this up if you tried?
I've never considered a career in stand-up comedy, but this incident has me seriously wondering!
Rant mode is now disengaging...