Monday, September 29, 2008

News Flash:

33% of Americans willing to talk to telephone pollsters are dumber than a box of hammers.

Turk Turon was visiting last night and he and my roomie were chatting in the living room. The phone rang and, to spare them the interruption, I answered the extension here in VFTP Command Central:


"Hello, I'm from XYZ Polling, Inc., and I'd like to talk to you about politics for a moment. Your answers will be completely confidential, and..."

"Hey, dude, sorry, but I'm on my way out the door."

"But, it..."

"Gotta run, sorry!" *click*

As I wandered towards the kitchen (I was only on my way out the office door. To get a Diet Dew.) RobertaX called out "Who was that?"

"Just some nosy person finding out why touchy-feely people always lead cranky misanthropes in telephone polls."


Brigid said...

I usually respond in a foreign tongue, they get confused and hang up.

For your use, my standard poll response "sorry my hovercraft is full of eels" in several languages.

Afrikaans: My skeertuig is vol palings

(Cantonese) (ngóh jek heijínsyùhn jòngmúhn saaisíhn)

(Mandarin) (Wǒ de qìdiànchuán zhuāngmǎn le shànyú)

French Mon aéroglisseur est plein d'anguilles

Gaelic (Irish) Tá m'árthach foluaineach lán d'eascainn

Gaelic (Scottish) Tha mo bhàta-foluaimein loma-làn easgannan

Klingon : DujwIj naQ ghargh

Latin Mea navis aëricumbens anguillis abundat

Russian Моё судно на воздушной подушке полно угрей
(Moio sudno na vozdušnoy poduške polno ugrey)

Swedish Min svävare är full med ålMin svävare är full med ålar

Turkish Hoverkraftimin ici yılan balıǧı dolu

Welsh Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn o lyswennod

Alan said...

I miss out on all the fun.

Since I'm one of the unwired, I don't get these calls.

After YEARS of being consistently wrong, why do we still have election polling?

Turk Turon said...

Cranky misanthropes RULE!!

kbiel said...

No they don't. They're all just a bunch of morons too. What makes them different from the rest of humanity is that they know they're morons. ;)

Mark Alger said...

Gee! You're polite. I usually just hang up.

When I don't go off on them and tell them not to f***ing call, "We're on the 'No Call' list, take us off your list, if you ever call me again, I'll find you and rip your lungs out, Jim!"

That is...


Nathan Brindle said...

Place no confidence in polls. They don't actually count the people who matter.

Personally, I won't answer the phone at home unless I know who's calling. Lately I've been picking up the receiver and dropping it back on the hook when these morons have called. For instance, the Police Protective Fund (one of the biggest charity scams out there); the Free Enterprise Institute; and anything that shows up as TOLL FREE CALL or PRIVATE.

We made a big mistake in this country when we didn't come down firmly on unsolicited calls when they started happening years ago. I pay for this phone for my use. If I don't know you, you should have to pay me for the privilege of talking to me.

The only thing wrong with the do not call list is all the exceptions.

D.W. Drang said...

I suspect their numbers show as "Not available" or "Toll Free"--or maybe as a state name--as I discussed in A note...

Carl H said...

Come November, the pollsters will discover a huge difference between their wack results and reality. It will all be blamed on the Bradley effect or the Shy Tory or something similar. But they prolly won't call it the bitter, gun-clingy misanthrope principle. Might oughta.

D.W. Drang said...

As for the poll, yesterday I was reading about a global BBC poll in which 40% of the respondents feel that "the Global War On Terror has made Al Qaeda stronger."

Didn't realize we got to vote on that sort of thing...

Anonymous said...

The last time I answered the phone and the voice said "Hello, I'm from 'some company whose name bounced off my brain and didn't stick', and I'd like to ask you a few questions about the upcoming election."

I immediately interupted her and said in one long run on sentence:

"Great! I think Barak Obama is a mindless mouthpiece who is too stupid to hold an honest job, and if he is elected will destroy this country. I think John McCain is a schizophrenic RINO who we can't depend on because he is a maverick who will do or say anything and that frankly scares the crap out of me. Joe Biden is a idiot who should have been voted out of office 30 years ago. Sarah Palin is a, well, ok, you got me there. I like her and she is the main reason I will be voting this fall. My Senators, Boxer and Feinstein are anti-american bitches who are so stupid that they are almost comical. My governor is a democrat who couldn't spell it so he registered as a republican.

I am pro-military, pro-war on terror, pro-small government, pro-tax breaks, pro-securing our borders, and anti-everything today's democratic party stands for, and if you show up at my house to register or take my guns I will use them against you.

Basically I am a depressed and bitter conservative who is desperately clinging to my guns and religion."

Then in as bright and cheery voice as I can muster I asked:
"So, what did you want to talk about?"

When she paused and said "uh, um, err, um..."

I told her to stop quoting Barack Obama and I hung up.

TJH said...

I recommend not answering the poll questions for the simple reason that they're usually designed to steer the pollee. As far as I'm concerned, any multiple-choice question that doesn't include an I-don't-care / I-don't-know / None-of-the-above option isn't going to yield meaningful information.

The most accurate form of questioning would be to let the pollee provide whichever answer he sees fit, without attempting to steer him into a limited set of choices. This is undesirable because it's more work and therefore more expensive.

Here's a hint pollsters: ask no more than three questions over the phone, let the answers be free form (but allow the caller to condense with answerer's permission), and don't discard what you believe are invalid answers.

D.W. Drang said...

I recommend not answering the poll questions for the simple reason that they're usually designed to steer the pollee
In a moment of weakness earlier this year I agreed to let some idiot ask me questions regarding politics; every single question was designed to get me to say that I would either vote for, or against, Hitlery no the basis that she is female.
I suppose it could have been Col. Tigh sounding out the Sarah Palin thing, but I doubt it.

rickn8or said...

Or, my favorite answer: "I'm a professional consultant, my fee is $450 an hour, and the meter is running. Do you have your credit card number ready?"

TJH said...

D.W. Drang said:
"In a moment of weakness earlier this year I agreed to let some idiot ask me questions regarding politics;"

You're being hard on yourself. I don't think that it's weakness, it's the quality of helpfulness.

You're obviously like me: you pay close attention to the questions. I've arrived at my conclusion after being stranded inside several telephone surveys. Aborting presumably causes your incomplete poll results to be discarded, so why even bother to begin with?

It always happens after a significant investment of your time, such as reaching question twenty of forty. "Would your rather a) vote for Romney, or b) drag a cheese grater across your naughty bits?" Gee I don't know. What's the difference?

Stingray said...

The last one I played with didn't like it when I pointed out deliberately leading questions, and got really flustered when I made her ask her manager who was sponsoring the survey before I'd answer any more. They wouldn't tell me, so I just went non-linear and explained, in detail, what was wrong with each question's phrasing, explained my position, and then made the poor girl on the other end pick if that meant I was "somewhat opposed to, very opposed to, somewhat in favor of" etc.

I haven't heard back from them, but I've sure gotten a shitload of hang-up calls where caller ID says "Democratic Party."

Nathan Brindle said...

I like rickn8or's approach. I may have to try it, just for laughs.

Johnny said...

We are sorry, you have reached an imaginary number. Please rotate your phone ninety degrees and try again.