When Surveys Get Pushy

I can remember back to the days of the last NJ Governor’s election in 2005. Let’s see, it was Demonican John Corzine vs. ideological duplication Republicrat Doug Forrester. Seriously, if I were voting AGAINST Corzine, what was my point of voting FOR Forrester, who came out at the last minute and basically said “I am Corzine!” Anyway, that’s not the point of this post. I don’t care about Demonicans and Republicrats.

During the course of the election, I had a knock at my door. It was a woman with a clipboard wanting to know who we were planning to vote for, and insistent that it be Corzine. I said I wasn’t likely to vote for either of the carbon-copy party candidates, and I would either vote Libertarian, or since voting anything BUT Demonican in New Jersey doesn’t count, maybe the New Jersey Weedman. He’s a stoner candidate. This woman wanted to know for sure who I was committed to. I don’t remember the exact date, but the election was somewhere between two months and three weeks away. Caleb was born that August, so he was between 1 and 3 months at the time. Neither of us got adequate sleep, but Christina took more of it. I decided to be nice and go back to the family room to ask her. When she said she didn’t care. I went back to the door.

This woman pretty much told me “I need to know who she’s voting for. Get her out here now!” That was when my sleep-deprived state started to clash between being nice and being a jerk. I told the woman “I don’t know who you are, and we don’t answer to the New Jersey Democratic party. Who we’re voting for is none of your business, and you have no business demanding that my wife put down the baby and come to the door in her nightgown.” I then wished her well and went back inside.

That memory was brought back to me recently. I’ve been getting calls lately from a 312 number. I’m reaching the point where I don’t answer the phone if the call isn’t from one of my contacts. If I don’t get a name, and it’s not a local area code, I let voice mail handle it for me. I did the same with the number (312)220-4623. When I get strange numbers, I look them up on Google. I got a call every single day for two weeks from a number that hung up when I answered, and by checking Google I discovered it was GE Money, yet another subcontractor that Lowe’s uses to ensure a horrible customer experience. When I looked up this 312 number, I found that it’s apparently got something to do with the University of Chicago conducting some survey about children.

Somehow, they got my Grand Central number rather than my cell number, and a voice mail was actually left. The voice mail was very insistent and authoritative, damn near DEMANDING that I call and give them details of any children in the house.

Once again, my rebellion kicks in. Who are these people, and who do they think they are? What gives them the idea that I in any way answer to them? Where do they get off calling me and demanding that I do anything for them?

If anyone is interested, I can see about posting the voice mail here. Also, as I was finalizing this post, I found this page that gives some minor details about this study. OK, not really details about the study per se, but details about how you’ll be speaking with a “trained interviewer” who “signed an oath.

I still don’t see how it’s any of their business. You know what would be a really cool phone service or application? The ability to block ONE NUMBER. That’s all I want. When I start getting calls from certain numbers because either Lowe’s credit subcontractor screwed up my billing again or somebody wants a survey, or Citibank decides to have a robot call and hang up every day for three weeks like they did to me last year, I’d love to just tell my phone “When these numbers call, I don’t want to know about it. Don’t ring, don’t answer. Just ignore.” Supposedly there are a few Windows Mobile applications, but they don’t work. Oh, yeah, I’d like it to be freeware. I found a few paid applications, but there didn’t seem to be any trial and I’m not going to pay for something if I don’t know how well it works.

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