A better way to find out what the customer thinks


A fortune in product feedback is squandered in Wal-Mart every day. I'm talking about you, the quick impressions you have of items as you walk through: wrong color, too expensive, those are the ugliest clogs I've ever seen.

Mimieo, a new consumer information startup, is designing a system to provide savvy companies a clever way to gather that feedback. New cell phone technology will allow you, while still standing in front of a sweater in the store, to express your reaction to the manufacturer. If you love the cut of your new leather jacket, text your pleasure. If the movie you just watched sucked, or didn't suck but had a confusing scene, you can let the producer know. If you bit down on a piece of bone in your hamburger, share your pain.

The tech has already been used to gauge reaction to this year's Super Bowl ads. Of course, not all companies will be down with such immediate feedback -- only the smart ones. The rest, those destined for the retail graveyard, will keep the barriers between themselves and their customers intact.