Tell the Bell – the Feedback Program From Hell

Once in a while our users or customers send us examples and testimonials from using the standard old feedback system. This one comes from an OwnerListens user in Ohio, and we weren’t sure whether to laugh or cry after reading it.

Ever since I started using OwnerListens, I notice traditional feedback programs more than before. For the heck of it, I sometimes even try them out when I’m bored at work. This one from Taco Bell is not the worst, but that’s not saying much given the competition.

First, it’s on the receipt. Really? 95% of the time, I do not take my receipt. I don’t need excess paper in my life (not to mention it’s bad for the environment) but hey, I get it. You couldn’t think of a better way. You haven’t heard of OwnerListens yet, I guess.

So I have to type this link. At least the name is clever. I appreciate good rhyming. I can also text ‘something’ to ‘something’. Not a fan of those. They bite into my messaging plan and half the time I mistype something or a weird auto-correct takes over and I have to send again. My phone suggest “lovemaking” as soon as I typed “Livem” (to write “livemas” as requested). No thanks Taco Bell. I like you, but not in that way.

The QR code is a great antiquated touch. There must be some small cult who uses those religiously – probably the marketers who put them there. I for one, have never used a QR code and doubt I ever will. No matter, multiple options to connect. I suppose that’s good.


On to the survey, for which you apparently need the receipt and a 16 digit (!!) code. Sixteen? These are not missile launch codes people. Really. At this point I turn the timer on.

The first time I type my lucky 16 digits, I get an error. Instead, I’m asked to input the store number, time and date of visit. Way to make me work for it. I have to give you more data. I oblige and spend 30 seconds thinking whether my visit was more at 7pm or 7:10. I honestly don’t remember so apologies to the good folks at Taco Bell if I misled you.

My info doesn’t take the first time. I retype. It works.


It’s been 4 minutes already. Can we get this party started? Finally my first question:


I’m a tad dismayed that after all this work I’m only 2% done, but I soldier on. It does get better going forward. This first question is a typical generic satisfaction question. Nothing earth shattering or inspiring, but gets the job done. What I always hate about these questions is the annoying middle option “Neither satisfied or dissatisfied”. That’s a cop out guys. No such option exists in real life.

If I’m neither, it means I don’t know. Speak like real people, not like robots for Pete’s sake! Anyways, I don’t think that’s in the middle, that’s more on the side in my book. I’m sure multiple professors of survey psychology have looked at this and determined describing things like a rigid academic is good for obtaining authentic responses. They are smarter than me, so I move on.


5% more towards completion. That doesn’t reassure me at all. If one question is worth only 3%, I have 31 more questions to ‘look forward’ to. But, this next question is easy so I continue.

Or is it? What if I dined in and then carried out to take to my awesome and hungry boyfriend? Ha Taco Bell. Didn’t think of that, did you?


Whoa! I suddenly jump to 21%! Just for answer a multiple choice with three options. Great! This will be over in no time (spoiler: it won’t). It’s already been 5 minutes since I started.

Now this question asks about various aspects of my experience. I answer diligently, but can’t help but think whether they’re later averaging my answers to see if I truly am “satisfied” like I answered in question 1. What if I’m not? Is this a test? What happens if I fail? I decide I’m too old to care about tests.

But wait! The survey question is quite comprehensive, but have you noticed one thing it does not ask about? Read through the question again. Wait for it…has it hit you yet?


Taco Bell cares about a whole host of things, but even though it’s supposedly serving delicious food it cares not to ask about taste. Good to know where your priorities are Taco Bell.



Wait a minute? How did answering what is essentially six question only get me another 11% there when answering one question? That’s some weird math Taco Bell and way to squash my expectations of wrapping this up soon. It’s been 7 minutes by now and I seriously consider bailing. This could take another 14 minutes if my math is correct (unfortunately, I don’t have access to “Taco Bell Math”).

I’m the kind of person who likes to finish what they start, so I keep going but honestly I probably won’t even make the effort next time.

So what do we have here? This question seems to expand on my answers from before wanting to know why I wasn’t satisfied with some aspects of my experience. You realize what this means, don’t you? Next time don’t say you’re dissatisfied with anything and skip this really really long text filled page. You’re welcome!

Here’s the real kicker: Those questions are not even correct. I did say I was dissatisfied with the portion size or with the appearance of the food. I force myself to make up an answer just to move on. For the second one I think I chose “the ingredients were too greasy or too dry” just because I found it amusing that those two reason would be lumped together. Why? Doesn’t Taco Bell want to know which was is: greasy or dry?

The third question makes me really appreciate the absurdity of the closed list of options. I want to chose none because none of the reasons I was dissatisfied is on the list. Again, I’m forced to make something up AND I don’t get to tell them what really bothered me. Oh well.

Other images to choose from in this section:



I click Next.

Darn! Only 4% progress after all that effort to make up answers?


I’m starting to understand Taco Bell math better which tempts me to select know at this suspicious looking “Did you experience a problem during your visit?” question. If I say yes will I get more long, close listed questions that will prolong my suffering?

Being the honest person that I am, I end up answering “Yes”. After all, we’re here to talk about the problem, aren’t we?

Well, not really. At least not yet.


Ha. I know this trick. No matter what I answer, I’ll get a follow-up with lots of details. I answer N/A which is also the truth. It’s now been 9 minutes.


HA! Wrong again. Those sneaky, sneaky Taco Bell survey writers. No one asks about my problem. Asking if I had one is just a mind trick to make me think you care. Clearly, whatever the problem was will go with me to my grave.

Instead, this stressful would you recommend us question. 30 days? I can’t even commit to a diet for more than a week. How should I know what I’ll think in 30 days? Choosing “I haven’t got a dog gone clue you morons” is not an option so I decide that since they didn’t care about my problem, but I did say I was satisfied in the first question, selecting “somewhat likely” would be consistent. I don’t really know what “somewhat” means. I suppose if someone said “Hey, do you know a place in this area where I could get quasi-Mexican food really quickly but not die of food poisoning?” I’d probably point them to this Taco Bell. Even if they asked me 32 days from now, I’d still do it.

I ruefully note I’ve only progressed 1%.


Finally! Some open ended room to explain how I really feel. Terrible timing guys! It’s been 10 minutes. I’m less than satisfied with your survey and NOW you want me to write everything I have to say. The time for questions that require effort is in the beginning before I wished I burned that receipt in the first place.

Luckily you can skip this one. Adios!


Say what now? I’m up to 77% for skipping? I’ve never been this glad to have skipped something since Mr. Carrol’s 7th grade gym class (he had weird eyes and made us climb rope. Yuck). 77 freaking percent! I’m re-energized.

The question is another one of those “there could be a ten other questions disguised as one” if you say “Yes” but I’ve made it this far. I’m sticking to the truth. Deep breath and…


Tah dah! They fooled me again! This is actually a reasonable follow up question. A bit specific, but maybe it’s something they’re paying close attention to this quarter. I can dig that. I’m working on my math skills this quarter…

I was visually full post taco, but it wasn’t visually full when I got it so I click “YES”.


It was at this point I notice something odd. Have you picked up on it yet? Hint: you are not as color blind as my favorite subject of a Presidential sex scandal William Jefferson Clinton (runner up: JFK).

The survey is indeed in black and white! What gives Taco Bell? The internet has not been black and white since, well, never. Am I good enough for you to invest some red and yellow in before I buy my tacos, but now that you have me, you can’t spare the colored pixels?


This is an image of the first ever website. Note the blue links.

Moving along:


Another reasonable question. Better yet, you can even select more than one answer. I get the feeling the computer is finally getting smart and asking better question just like they do now in standardized test. 86%! Only a bit more to go.


Turns out it’s over already. Now we’re on to the administrative sweepstakes stuff. Just like that. What a shame. The questions were just getting good. Is it me or does it seem like someone scrambled the order of questions. I don’t care, just relieved it’s over.

The next step is to fill out my info so I could win $500 (no word on the odds).


This page could’ve just been merged with the previous one, don’t you think? Fill out or skip. Why ask explicitly if I want to participate?

This form has some charm in the sense that it’s not asking to fill out dozens of fields or for the sixteen digit nuclear codes from before. It’s short and simple but still raises some questions:

The first thing I notice is the phone number. Who the hell still uses a phone? The only people that have my phone number are my family, boyfriend and doctor. The rest of the world uses email. Ever heard of it? It’s been around since the internet came in color.

It also asks for my name (first and last) but doesn’t taking down my name make this survey non-anonymous? Was I wrong to assume it ever was? I paid with a credit card and had to put my receipt number in so potentially they could connect the dots. I know it says my info will not be used for any other purpose, but no offense Taco Bell, I don’t believe you or whatever third party is running this survey that I’ve never heard of. There’s a logo on the bottom right of this survey. Taco Bell outsourced this people. They actually paid to get someone to write this annoying, alienating, bad math-ing survey.

I click the “Privacy Policy” link to learn more. Surprise:


So which is it?  “no other purpose” like the survey says or “research purposes”, “fulfillment of incentives” and “other everyday businesses purposes”? Sneaky.

The rest of the privacy policy is not much better but it’s probably not worse than any other website. I doubt anyone ever reads it. When was the last time you read a privacy policy?

To be thorough I try the “Sweepstakes Rules” link but quickly backtrack at the barrage of fine print. There’s only so far I will go for $500. If you want to invade my privacy, make it $5000. No thank you Taco Bell! It’s been 14 minutes already and the Domino’s pizza guy is at the door.

Maybe I’ll take their survey next 🙂

Comments (26)

  1. Name (required)ellen

    Would be funny if it weren’t true and commonplace.

  2. Yvonne

    Comment Usually I don’t have any problems with this survey. Today, after I type in survey code it say connecting for so long I gave up!!!!

  3. Jane

    Thanks for writing this! Very funny, and all too true! I just went through the exact same steps and had the same reaction. Why on earth would I give Taco Bell my name and phone number? If someone called me on my phone and said, “This is Taco Bell. You’ve won $500,” I would certainly think it was a scam! So I just closed out of the survey as well. I wonder if it still records your previous answers, even if you decide not to do the survey? (Probably. So maybe that’s their way of making sure that NO ONE actually enters the sweepstakes!)

  4. robert boos

    I just left Taco Bell at your new Dickson city, pa. store and got my usual fair. I was going to fill out the survey but after reading the person who talked about filling out their survey, I said to myself, No.

  5. Mike Deitz

    2 things to know:
    1. Taco Bell has stream-lined the survey; so it’s quicker.
    2. MORE IMPORTANTLY; for the employees the only answer that gives the team credit for doing a good job is “highly satisfied”. If you choose satisfied or below it is a negative result to the unit. So if your attention is to praise/recognize then choose highly satisfied, NOT satisfied.

  6. Deniene

    I agree 110% I’ve been trying to enter the code to take the survey 3 times now. I get all the way through and yes you have to answer question’s with crap to go further. After I post my long comment. It never fails something happens and it disappears. And I have to start all OVER AGAIN. And at that point I’m completely pissed off. WTF do they want? They want it, but do they really want it?

  7. Melissa

    I seldom do the Taco Bell survey for the reasons mentioned above. Sadly, I would like to provide positive feedback for the good employees but seldom take the time. Unless I have a really poor experience, I usually don’t bother.

    Today, my Taco Bell experience was bad enough that I completed the online survey. I stopped to pick up breakfast on my way from one work location to another, arrived at work only to find out that I had been given food and drink that was not what I had ordered. I’m vegetarian, so being given the wrong food means no breakfast.

    I wish I could attach photos of the food I was given. It looked absolutely awful: messy, skimpy, poorly packed. And the bag looked like it had been dug out of the trash: greasy, crumpled up, folded over. Are they reusing their bags now?

  8. Rick Kritzer

    The Taco Bell survey is better than others, such as Kroger.

    The time you ordered is on the receipt. You don’t have to even think, much less obsess about it.

    They probably have different percentages for different questions because some questions are more important to evaluate.

    They ask your name if you want to be in the drawing. If you don’t want to give your name, just say “no” to the drawing. This is obvious. And since you want $5000 , it is even more obvious. You should be embarrassed to bring this up.

    You are obsessively picky. I hope you will find something more important that’s wrong, and work to improve it .

  9. rita glasscock

    I have been wanting to find a way to speak to someone about why not bring the “Bell Beefer” back to Taco Bell. That what mine and everyone i knew favorite meal. So what i have done is buy the meat sauce, take it home and make my own. Would love to hear from someone

  10. John

    I’m 76 yrs old…Some way down deep in my heart I knew this would be the results I would receive… Now I’m glad I didn’t bite… Thanks for letting me know so I won’t wast any of my time. The old adage, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ never fails. Good Guy John
    PS: I still “LOVE” Taco Bell bean burritos…I go to the Bell every day and more often than not, I go two time a day.

  11. Elizabeth Silver

    The food at taco bell on 11257 Pines Blvd Pembroke Pines Florida 33026. Telephone 954-430-3353. There was no napkins and the Fountain soda tasting like s***

  12. Ken

    THIS was too long, like the TB survey. But reasonably funny and cute.

  13. Tabitha

    You talk about how long the survey was and your rant was longer than the two surveys I just took. And the survey I took was very easy and fast. You sound picky and start complaining from the start and it doesn’t end. Should of just did another survey

    1. David

      Hi Tabitha – Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. The user who submitted this post did quite a thorough job of explaining why they did not like the survey, complete with screenshots and detailed descriptions. Perfectly understandable if you don’t agree. Every customer opinion counts, especially in the age of internet transparency.
      To be fair, this post is from over 20 months ago and we made sure the folks who write surveys for Taco Bell saw it. Perhaps they took notice and improved the survey since resulting in a good experience with the survey you took. We certainly hope so. Thanks again!

  14. Jobetty

    I had planned to write to Taco Bell about our experience on 6/19/16 at one of your restaurants. Now, I wonder if I’m just wasting my time. We found the food to be good. However, we were surprised to find 35 packets of the hot and mild sauces. Usually, we are given 4 to 6 packets, but 35 was far too many. We feel the owner of this restaurant should be made aware of this fact. We like to get food from this restaurant and don’t want it to close.
    The above restaurant number is 030559, 630 S. College Road, Wilmington, N.C., 28403. Our receipt is #317662, Date:6/19/16, Time:9:29:56PM.
    Survey Code: 1206-9035-2859-3218

  15. Bri

    Taco bell bring back Verde. Verde is the only sauce that I eat with breakfast it’s the only one that is good with your breakfast items and since breakfast has its own menu it’s got quite a few items I enjoy. You’re losing half of my money by taking away a whole menu for me. Also verde goes with quite a few chicken items that now just aren’t the same. The sauce you’ve replaced verde with just does not work .

  16. Gail

    I would love to leave a comment, but the Survey Code on the receipts I have received several times at the Gallatin, TN location are unreadable. Please put a new ribbon or fresh ink in your registers! One-half of the entire receipt is unreadable.

  17. Bryon

    Completed entire survey without any issues.
    Took about 5 minutes from start to finish.
    I figured my odds of winning 500 bucks were
    about the the same as being the next President of the United States but gave it a shot anyway

  18. Patrick

    There must be something wrong with me. I got through the survey in less than 2 minutes. I did not consider the survey as an intellectual journey. I did not search for a philosophical plateau. I just answered the simplistic questions and moved on.

  19. [email protected]

    why are you advertising your two layered tacos for $1.00 on television, and when
    you purchase them they are not $1.00, but $1.49 ? when I questioned the cashier
    at taco bell , 1840 sw gatlin blvd, port st. lucie, fl. 34953, (772) 621-4836, she just
    raised her eye brows and offered no explanation. THIS IS FALSE ADVERTISING ! you are libel for selling the product at what it is being advertised as ! senior drinks
    used to be free and now they are $. 50 each. It takes the fun out of thinking your
    getting a bargain when eating at taco bell.

  20. Sharob

    My granddaughter was hired to this store and for 2weeks now they have had her come in for Orientation and have sent her back home because your managers are inept and unprofessional how do you hire someone bring them in and not be able to set up a video machine and train. Your new hire this is the worst place for a first time employee to learn how a business runs I have been in the food service business for 15 years and have never seen anything or anyone this unorganized in a management staff your company should be ashamed of the ineptness of Managers that you have in your employment!!! Store#029693

  21. Railroadman

    I just left Taco Bell in Starkville, Mississippi, empty handed at ten o’clock in the morning. I went into the store that has just been remodeled. I was impressed with the inside of the store, however, the register said CLOSED. There was ONE person sitting at a table in the place wearing a TACO BELL uniform and NO ONE behind the counter nor doing any cooking. The one in the uniform did not get up or even look at me. After waiting a minute and a half, I left. And I was hungry too and had decided what I wanted to order.
    This is not the way to run a business.

  22. Mary m Thomas

    Went into your new store in Rio Grande,N.j on July 6 for a Chalupa box.I expected to pay $5,as per the charged $5.99 +tax.Meal was very disappointing,soggy, without enough meat.Why was the price $1 higher??Being that it was extremely busy,Taco Bell overcharged all those customers,and their profits soared!

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