Ask me my opinion in a survey and I’ll usually decline, knowing that there’s some sales pitch attached, or my name and personal information will go into some deep repository to receive never-ending spam.  But there was something about the two freshly scrubbed kids in the Senado Square in Macao that made me stop, and willingly submit to their interviews.

This was not a solitary incident.  My husband Russ and I were interviewed no fewer than three times during our one-week stay in Macao: once on the square, once at the airport, and once at the EVA Airlines check-in counter, but more about that later.  The questions ranged from our lodging to how we spent time at this booming city whose massive lush casinos dwarf its charming and well-preserved Portuguese-Chinese historic district.  And the burgeoning middle class has money to spend, so these surveys will no doubt track and help Macao determine how to respond to the well-heeled throngs that appear to be bypassing Hong Kong and now flying directly into Macao’s international airport.  They even asked about our favorite food, which may help determine what is being served in one of the 30 restaurants in the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel, one of the largest structures in the world (you could park more than 90 747’s in it).

There is no doubt that Macao is a success. And constant re-evaluation is key to that success – I remember being surveyed when I first visited almost ten years ago.  It’s hard to resist a friendly young person armed with a clipboard, but why did I find myself happily and willingly participating in a survey at the EVA Airlines counter?  The tablet PC next to the gate agent was very touchable in a way that a computer screen and keyboard could never be.  There was no jumble of wires, no Enter key.  Just a series of questions about our satisfaction with EVA’s service associated with smiley or frowney faces.  So while we checked in, we tapped the screen.  All positives.

Perhaps that’s the nature of tablets.  They’re friendly.  They’re relatively light.  They invite touching.  Maybe that’s why one in four people expect to replace their laptop with a tablet, according to a recent Zogby International survey.  The simple elegance of an integrated device with a clear friendly screen probably increased my likelihood to interact with it.  I’m sure there’s a survey for that, too.

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