Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heart Attacks and the Census

Right now, my heart is pounding, my chest hurts, I'm shaking all over and I've just been forced to terminate a mental torture session with the census bureau.

I should be very interested to know how many heart attacks have been induced by census workers, and how many innocent, elderly folks will not live to see the benefits of Health Care Reform as a result of telephone harassment by census workers this spring and summer.

The telephone census seems to be deliberately designed to insult, offend, upset, infuriate and raise blood pressure in harmless, law abiding folk who are alone at home in the daytime.... and on Sunday evenings.

There ought to be a Congressional inquiry.

I just bet they don't ask the same questions to non-Caucasian households.  In which case, if the census phone calls are targeted as a result of racial profiling, is that legal? I cannot see it being politically correct... say in Arizona... to ask people the questions that I was asked.

I've been called three times for this "survey", so I do not believe that it is random.

I filled out my census form completely and promptly the week it was sent to me. I see no reason why I need to be recorded for a ten minute survey required by law (allegedly) to clarify whether I lied on my census form about how many people live in my home.

I refused to be recorded, but I suspect that my refusal was ignored. I requested that any questions outstanding should be mailed to me, but my request was ignored.

Among the questions I was asked (in random order, to the best of my memory) and which I answered truthfully, albeit at increasing volume, and interspersed with a few expressions of mild frustration.

Do these people live at this address?
Does anyone else live at this address?
Are these the only people who lived at this address?
Does anyone else stay at this address?
Are these people duplicate names for the same people?
Have you declared these people at any other address?
Have there been any births?

(Come ON! Our ages were listed on the census form!!! )
(I don't remember being asked about deaths, but I imagine it must have been asked)
Have you taken in any foster children?
Has anyone stayed with you?
Have you taken in any homeless people?
Is there anyone living at this address who you haven't declared?
Is anyone in this home not living at this home?
Is anyone away at school?
Have any of these people been put in a nursing home?
Have any of these people been put in a drug facility?
Have any of these people been imprisoned?
Have any of these people been put in a facility for sex offenders?
Have any of these people been hospitalized?
Are any of these people child abusers?
Has anyone come to stay with you?
Has anyone visited overnight?
Have you taken a vacation?
Have you gone away on business?
Do you have a second home?

Apparently, the worker is required to read the same lengthy paragraph about why she is asking these questions at regular intervals... to do with an accurate count of persons living in the home, also Title 13.

I asked if she was being paid by the minute, because this is all very cost ineffective. She said not. She said she had to read each item as it came up on her screen. So, it would seem that there is a script, and these census people read the script all day long. Other census workers were laughing in the background.

I feel calmer now. I'm not as old as I sound on the telephone, but that's nobody's business.


Jacqueline Lichtenberg said...

Good grief! That can't possibly be LEGAL!!!

Oh, wow, is there a plot in that, an expose thriller maybe?

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Marianne Arkins said...

A census is to count us. I don't mind adding my race. But the rest of that? They have NO BUSINESS asking. I'd have hung up. Sheesh.

RowenaBCherry said...

Thank you, Jacqueline and Marianne.

I wonder whether the third degree was designed to catch out anyone who might have fibbed on their census form, but...really.

One would have to be really inattentive to change ones answer, wouldn't one?

And all this is so the government can assess whether to build a new road in my area? They are already widening the roads in Detroit.

One has to wonder why, considering the high unemployment and the decline of major industry here.

Frances said...

Welcome to the land of community organizers, now run by ACORN and Affiliates. The U.S. Constitution only requires that you say how many people occupy the residence...nothing more. Hang up on the thugs!