Penny for Your Thoughts
I’m suspicious when the government sends out arbitrary amounts of money to people in hopes of “stimulating” the economy. But what about sending cash for some other reason? I don’t have a problem with this, although the recipient of $5 quoted in the article sounds pretty mad:
The letter claimed to be from the Department of Transportation and said the $5 was an incentive for personal information about driving habits.
And while it looks like a scam, the DOT says it’s not. […]
“When you called me back and told me it wasn’t a scam, I got even angrier. For the government to spend this kind of money on a mailer like this just infuriated me even more,” Held said.
Sending out cash with a survey could be worth it. The five-dollar bill grabs the recipient’s attention and makes him or her feel somewhat obligated to respond. And while this gimmick may sound expensive, mailing a survey that no one replies to would itself be a waste of money. Making decisions without information is costly too.
It would be interesting to find out whether a one-dollar bill is as effective in eliciting responses. If so, switching to the lower denomination might be a way to keep expenses down. Anyone at MoDOT want to give it a try?