Monday, June 21, 2010

I am NOT an Idiot

I try not to write too many complaining posts, but Chuck suggested that I channel my feelings on my blog... so here goes.

I got a phone call the other night from someone from the 2010 census. She began the conversation by telling me that I was required by law to answer her questions and then she rattled off a bunch of numbers which I can only assume was the code that makes her statement official. Being the law abiding citizen that I am I handed Fiona off to Chuck and stepped out of the apartment (which is the black hole of cell phone reception in the city of St. Paul) and gave this women my undivided attention.

The purpose of the phone call was because there were some questions with our census form. Right away I thought... they are probably calling because I filled it out before Fiona was born and they were most likely looking to get her information.

HOWEVER, I was told exactly how many questions she was about to ask me, and given a time estimation of 10 minutes for the conversation. She did ask me about Fiona's birth... which she pronounced (F-EYE-ONA) even after my correcting her (F-EE- ONA). Turns out that she basically asked me every question that I filled out on my census AGAIN... ummmm did you not believe me the first time? Did the way that I checked the boxes look suspicious to you? Seriously I would have to be a complete idiot to have gotten these questions wrong.

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation which felt more live an investigation... In parenthesis is what I would have said if I didn't have a conscious about being rude to people, which I do so I bit my tongue. But sometimes it's fun to pretend.

Census Lady: "Who filled out the census form for you household?"
ME: "I did"
CL: "And who are you?"

(well lets see here... why don't you stop reading your teleprompter and think about that for a second. There are only two people listed on my census Charles or Tacy... You are speaking to a women.... any guesses?)

ME: "Tacy Marie Call"
CL: "You have listed for your household Charles Henry Call and Tacy Marie Call, is there anyone that I have just listed that you do not know or are unfamiliar with?"

(considering that one of the people listed is myself and the other shares my last name, I think it is pretty safe bet that I know both of these people. No, Ma'am I did not ACCIDENTALLY write some unknown person down as living with me.)

CL: "Were both of the people I have listed living in your home as of April 1st 2010?"
CL" Were there any other people living with you as of April 1st 2010 not listed on your census?"
ME: "Yes, I had a baby on March 29th, 2010."
She then asked me a bunch of questions to get her information.... including such questions as,

CL: "What is F-EYE-ona G. Call's relationship to Charles H. Call?"
ME: "Daughter"
CL: "Is F-EYE-ona G. Call Charles H. Call's biological daughter?"
CL: "Is F-EYE-ona G. Call Hispanic or Latino?"
ME: "NO"

(Seriously STOP reading your computer for one second, use your own human brain and have a normal conversation with me!!! You just asked me if she was Charles biological daughter, and he is white... and Me the mother is also white. Hmmm any guesses as to what the baby might be?)

CL: "Is F-EYE-ona G. Call native american, African american, White/ Caucasian, Chinese, pacific islander.... etc etc.
ME: "She is White"

Then she asked me if either of us were living anywhere else as of April 1st 2010, but it took her about 10 questions to do it.

CL: "Was Charles living in an assisted living home?"
ME: "NO"
CL: "A nursing home?"
CL: "A Correctional facility?"
ME: "NO"
CL: "A detention center?"
ME: "NO"
CL: "Prison?"
ME: "NO"
CL: "Could he have been counted on anyone else's census?

(This is just getting ridiculous... )

She asked all of these questions about me as well.

Then to end the conversation she asked me if I would like the address to write a complaint letter about the amount of time that it took or the amount of questions asked. Almost as if she had been trained to know that these conversations give people something to complain about.


I really am not ticked off, I just find this all so absurd... laughable. Does our government think this is a nation of imbeciles? Let me just take a deep cleansing breaths..... ok.

As a person who loves family history and recognizes the value of census records I say it is an important endeavor for our country to undertake... plus my cousin is working for the census right now and this is how she is currently making her living, yada yada yada the census has is very good points.

BUT (and the census has a very BIG BUT) a 14.7 billion dollar endeavor seems a little excessive with an ADDITIONAL 340 million dollar advertising campaign. And surprise surprise they are over budget! I must admit that $20 seems like a lot of money to me, so in perspective these numbers may seem larger to me than they do to other people.

Part of this money was spent on that ridiculous letter that was mailed out to everyone in the country that basically said, "Hey we are going to mail you a census." OK, waste of money waste of paper!! I thought Obama was on this Green Kick? Not to mention the actual census document, followed by another letter mailed out to everyone saying, "Hey don't forget to fill out the census." (these letters cost about $85 million dollars)

Part of that $340 million dollars was to make Census/ "It's in our hands" WET WIPES!! WET WIPES!!!! No joke, I have in my possession census wet wipes. There were also Census billboards, commercials, pencils, highlighters, T-shirts and a bunch of other junk. JUNK.

AND we are paying people to sit in an office and make phone calls, making it appear that I am a complete idiot and do not know how to fill out a simple questionnaire. Oh and there is an office somewhere full of people reading the complaint letters that people write about the phone calls.

I was under the impression that the purpose of desiring such an accurate census was so that the money would be distributed "properly." It seems to me that quite a bit of money has already been improperly used.

Stay tuned for part two of this discussion were I detail more of the absurdity of wet wipes and ways in which we are all treated like idiots.

Here are some of the sources that I used if you are interested.
MayRant & Rave: A blatant conservative blog


Reuben said...

Boy that black font on a black background makes for some difficult reading!!!! Anyway, I would have been very suspicious of this phone call. I probably would have hung up without answering the questions, or told them they could send the official Census representative from my neighborhood out to my residence if they wanted to verify info.

jeff and alli said...

We had a similar experience, because they thought we didn't turn in a census (confusion since we moved during this time period). Fun stuff.