don't remember exactly how long ago it was, maybe three or four years ago, but I used to be a member of the National Consumer Panel. This panel has surveys you can take just like you get with paid surveys, but another thing they do is actually mail you a handheld scanner to use for scanning your grocery purchases at home.
The National Consumer Panel has been around for a long time and gathering consumer data is what they do. For instance, I know there are some people who monitor their TV watching habits for this company. They have another program where you let them track your internet surfing habits. So this grocery thing is something else they are behind.
Is the handheld scanner they send free?
Yes, it's completely free, but you have to send it back to them if you decide at any point you don't want to participate. If you decide you no longer want to be a panel member, they will send you a prepaid shipping label to use for sending it back. Be sure and keep the original box it comes in too so you won't have to worry about coming up with a box.
What do you get in return for scanning your grocery purchases?
Sweepstakes entries and redeemable points. They have a catalog of rewards, and you can use your points for things in the catalog.
How does the scanning process work?
Once you have it, you turn it on and scan the barcodes on your grocery items when you bring them in. Sometimes this isn't as easy as it looks. For each item, they want to know the quantity and also whether or not you used a coupon for the item. If you shop at certain stores, the price will automatically come up, but at other stores it won't and you may have to enter it manually. For that reason you need to be sure to have your receipt on hand while you're doing the scanning. You get points in your NCP account for everything you scan.
At the end of each week, you have to transmit your data through to National Consumer Panel. To do this, I had to hook the scanner into my computer and then press a few buttons on the scanner to get everything to send through to them. This only took a few minutes to do if I'm recalling correctly.
Who can sign up?
The National Consumer Panel is open to the U.S. and also Canada.
How do you sign up for the National Consumer Panel?
You can sign up here if you are in the US. Below are the sign up links for other countries –
Signing up for National Consumer Panel is free and easy, but there may be a waiting list. Apparently a lot of people want to do this and get the little scanner like I did at one time. For what it's worth, I do not think that I had to wait that long to get in.
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