Monday, July 19, 2010

Get Paid To Eat

I am forever in debt to my friend, Jenny Hanson, for introducing me to the world of taste testing. Typically I spend about 30 minutes eating food & answering a survey about said food in a little cubicle and I get paid about $30 for it. In cash! It’s truly amazing.

Let me explain. Last summer I was in the mood for some extra spending cash, and as my job afforded me quite a bit of summer leisure time, I decided to spend that time giving plasma. This was a disaster for me. Apparently I am a “tricky stick” and I ended up with blackened arms for weeks at a time. Not to mention the occasional close call with passing out, though I did everything I was told to prevent this (i.e. drink lots of fluids, eat before you go, etc). Probably the waiting several hours in the crowded office before they got to me didn’t help.

After one such instance of “donating” (can you still call it that if you get paid via cash from an ATM after?) plasma, I had lunch with Jenny and our good friend, Micaela. Because I was bearing the marks of my visits, our conversation turned toward that topic. It was at this point that Jenny imbued me with her amazing knowledge. Thank you, Jenny! And my body thanks you!!

For those who would also like the opportunity to get paid to eat food products like macaroni and cheese, chocolate chunk granola bars, cheddar cheese popcorn chips (honestly, not good), red pepper alfredo penne pasta, and more: Innovation Research is off 78th & Cass (near Dodge) and tests products for companies like ConAgra, which produces Healthy Choice, Banquet, etc. I’ve tested for various foods and companies. I’ve done take-home tests and two-day tests, but most of the taste testing has been for about 30 minutes one day and I always get paid in cash via an on-site ATM. (Just like plasma but so much less painful!) You can apply online or in person (see link below). If you have food allergies, this probably isn’t for you. After you apply they will send you an ID card and packet to get you started. Then they will call you with phone surveys to see if you qualify to taste test a product. If you don’t get called regularly, I’ve found it helps to call them. If you do so, odds are that the message will tell you all sessions are full, but if you keep calling regularly, it’s been my experience that they will call you more often as well. (Last time I was testing I overheard a lady say she hadn’t been in for over a year because they never called her and I was tempted to tell her to just call them herself more, but we’re not really supposed to talk to each other.)

If it’s two things I’m good at, they would have to be eating and telling people my opinions!

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