Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Phone Surveys

I hate talking on the phone. However, I recognize that other people do not necessarily share my neurosis, so I make accommodations for friends and family and generally answer the phone, since I am on the Do Not Call list. I also refuse to pay for caller ID, so answering the phone is one of life's little adventures.

Although I will give a very hard time to telemarketers, I have a soft spot for phone survey people. Last night, I received a call from a mostly-literate barely-post-high-school woman with a heavy southern drawl who asked me if I'd be willing to answer some questions about my opinions on a contentious issue here in Midwest State where certain groups are attempting to put a ballot issue on the November ballot that will amend the state constitution to allow certain business activities to take place. I generally support the business activities in question, but I vehemently oppose amending the state constitution to do something this quotidian.

I suppose, however, that the distinctions are lost on some people. After my rant about how absurd the recent constitutional issues have become, she asked, "Do you have anything else to say on this matter, or can we move to the next question?"

"The ballot issue, or the constitutional issues?"

"Either."

"Um... no. Let's just move on."

Then in the demographic questions, she was convinced that a bachelor's degree was something one routinely obtained in three years. I indicated that it was usually a four-year degree, and she advised me that perhaps the colleges had slowed things down in recent years. Sure. Let's go with that.

At one point, she asked me if I'd heard X about the issue. "Have you heard that the passage of this issue would create 27,000 jobs in Midwest State?" I indicated that I had. "Is that true, false, or don't know?

Huh? Crystal ball... not working...

"Did you hear that every county in Midwest State will get an allocation of the taxes raised from these businesses?" I had. "Is that true, false, or don't know?"

Once again... principles or pragmatism?

6 comments:

Jen said...

You lost me at "quotidian" I had to leave to look it up.

Shay said...

I got one of those calls last month, supposedly asking my opinion on the issues, but with questions mostly of the "When did you stop beating your wife?" variety.

GDad said...

Yeah, these questions were pretty one-dimensional. As I said, I support the business activities, but I hold the state constitution to a higher standard than I hold something like the Small Town Zoning Commission's bylaws. Maybe I should stop being such an idealist.

However, I got some moral support yesterday at work when I described the phone call, and a co-worker who is socially pretty tight with me, but politically a bit to the right of me said that he also disagreed with all of the amendments we've been putting in recently. Woo-hoo! Bipartisanship!

Anonymous said...

This was probably what's known as a "push poll". The organization doing the polling wasn't really soliciting your opinion or finding out how much you knew; they just wanted to repeat the business about the 27,000 new jobs and the counties receiving tax allocations (that you, County Resident, get the benefit of without having to pay!). They favor the proposition and they want to repeat the benefits of it to you in a setting in which you won't just roll your eyes.

And I love that you used "quotidian"! How wonderful to see a good word like that used correctly in context!

GDad said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for stopping by. I agree that it was probably a push poll, but honestly, push pollsters should hire people who are less easily manipulated and less easily impressed with big words. I sincerely doubt the caller actually recorded my responses, though.

Thanks for the kudos on "quotidian". I love to resurrect older words.

Dave said...

quotidian, what an excellent word ... damn, quotidian.com taken.