…and on the 8th day, micro fiction was published on some dude's blog.

Soft Style Home-Baked Select

Frank sat there, blindfolded, and sniffed.

He heard Janet’s voice. “Sooo…which one smells more like honest-to-goodness fresh home-baked cookies? A…or B?”

It was the moment of truth, and Frank wasn’t up to it.

Sure, signing up for the focus group seemed like a dream job: You’ll pay me to sit around eating cookies? Yes, please!

But the reality was this: Yes, he had sat around…in a cramped, clammy, poorly-lit room, seated in an uncomfortable chair, surrounded by some highly unlikeable people, for close to nine hours. He felt like he had eaten his weight in cookies, and they weren’t even good ones. They had all started to taste the same hours ago. It wasn’t too much of a good thing; it was more than a lifetime’s worth of a mediocre thing.

And now they had come to the last test: The blind smell test. And he was the tie-breaker; his vote was probably going to determine which recipe Cookie Gems Inc. would end up using for their new Soft Style Home-Baked Select brand of chocolate chip cookies.

The problem was, Frank couldn’t smell the cookies. All he could smell was the BO of fat Gary sitting to his left and the rancid coffee and cigarette breath of Nancy sitting to his right. So he guessed.


He guessed wrong.

Soft Style Home-Baked Select brand chocolate chip cookies were a DISASTER for the company. They were reviled by the general public, who in short order had re-named the brand “Soft Vile Hot Mess Rejects”. Sales were awful; at least three top Cookie Gems executives were fired over them. And the final nail in the coffin was when International Cookie News Quarterly critic Brendan Novack (a highly influential taste-maker in the world of store-bought cookies) declared the brand to be “the New Coke of chocolate chip cookies”.

Cookie Gems Inc. was in crisis.

But Frank didn’t care. Their focus group had kind of ruined chocolate chip cookies for him. The way he saw it, they were even.


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4 thoughts on “Soft Style Home-Baked Select

  1. I enjoyed the story–made me reminisce of taking part in a taste test of chocolate chip cookies for a market research company when I went to the mall with my Aunt Debbie in Florida one summer. Only that only took about 20 minutes and I was the only one in the room with my chocolate chip cookies and the questions on a computer screen. And I’m pretty sure my remarks didn’t change anything about the cookies, the company, or my life. Oh, well, I guess we can’t all be part of a micro story!

    • I’ve never participated in market research. The closest I ever got was being taken aside by one of those places at the mall near our house one summer when I was home from college, and after getting in the place, they realized I didn’t qualify to test any of the products they had at that time (all of the stuff was for women, for people over 50, etc.). You’d think they’d have figured out what type of person they needed BEFORE asking someone to participate, but you’d be wrong. I’m sure with those standards the data they provided to the different companies was stellar.

  2. I got pulled into one of those research surveys at the mall once- it was for a movie, and the process was just obnoxious. Never had any desire to see the movie after that, either… LOL

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