Sunday, May 2, 2010

Don't Evade the Census Taker - I WILL Find You!

Evasion of the Census taker seems to be a regular occurrence for some neighborhoods. It's a good thing I don't take these things personally. Rejection that is. No, no. For me it's a challenge. You tryin' to avoid me????? GAME ON!

Here are a couple of my favorites thus far. For all you conspiracy theorist nuts out there - no names or addresses are used so no PII (personally identifiable information) is being used and thus I may tell these funny stories without fear of violating my sacred Census Enumerator Oath.

  1. The old sneak behind the door and wait until I leave. Excellent - except if you live in an old house where the floor boards creak if you even think about walking on them. Hint: I hear you! I know you are there, that's why I knocked 3 times and called out "U.S. Census". I will be back. And you just look dumb. Open the door. It takes less than 10 minutes and if you don't want to participate it takes less than 1 minute to tell me that.

  2. The "I'm on my way out", "Just sat down to dinner", "I'm shaving the dog" but I'll call you when I'm done". Awesome, except you never call. Then when I come again you pull the #1. This one just isn't cool. You flat out lied. Now I just don't like you. So I'm going to stalk you until I find you and you submit or confess your desire to opt out of the census. BTW the "shaving the dog" one really was shaving a dog and when I came back they submitted very nicely.

  3. This is a version of #2 - you send your child out to lie to me. Really - can you get lower? Your child? How do you manage to stand without your spine?

  4. This one cracks me up - really. You lie to me and tell me that you are not the homeowner when clearly you are. I had one of these yesterday. Had been to the house two times already and it was a #1 (see I'm tenacious), asked a neighbor if they knew when the people were home (playing dumb), they told me that their cars were all there so they were home. I knocked - 4 times! And a man in his boxer shorts answered the door. When I told him who I was he claimed to be the babysitter. His neighbor across the street ratted him out by yelling across the street - "You ain't no babysitter _______, be a man and answer the lady's questions!" - ahhhh, cooperative neighbors, a Census Enumerator's best friend. Man was shamed into taking the survey :)

  5. This is another version of #1. After hiding behind the door you assume that you are safe and come out of the house to do yard work, auto work, sit on the porch, etc. I had one of these yesterday too. I was on my last run of the day and conned Zach and Paul into coming with me by promising a trip to Dairy Queen when we were done. We were on our way to Dairy Queen when exiting the neighborhood I saw a #1 type respondent in his front yard weedwacking. I yelled at Paul "Stop the car!" thoroughly freaking Paul out. I jumped out of the car and asked the man if he lived in the house. He sheepishly admitted that he did, to which I said "Caught ya!" He laughed at that and took my survey.
  6. And my personal favorite - those who are not thrilled to see me come back but when they get lemons, make lemonade. Case in point - I went to a house with three college boys on Friday. Only one young man was there that evening and he did not feel right giving me his roommates personal information - understandable. So my supervisor sent me out to try to catch the other roommates. I went again on Saturday. The first roommate was not too thrilled to see me, but being an intelligent young man, he realized that I was NOT going away until I got what I came for so he being of quick wit devised a nice plan for his roommate. He called up the stairs, "Hey _____, there's somone at the door for you". Response I could not hear. "It's a chick!" I heard feet beating a path to the front door faster than a 5 year old at Christmas. I couldn't help it, I started laughing immediately. He whipped that door open so fast. I told him two things, "1. That was funny as hell. 2. It's ok to show your dissapointment." He was a gentleman to the end, he gave a charming smile and gave me a nice, "nahhh, how can I help you." He then chastised his roommate for not giving me the information the previous day and answered my questions. Now THAT was funny. If you have to do something annoying, at least have fun with it!

Note for all Census takers out there - always kill them with humor, in all the above situations it's pretty hard to be mad at me when I'm laughing at myself and having a good time!

The Census was started 1790 and we have been doing them every 10 years since then. It helps establish our congressional representation, federal programs, etc. Maybe you agree with the Census, maybe you don't. I don't really care. It is supposedly mandated by law that you participate in the Census, but no one is going to force you. If you don't want to give information, just open the door and say, "No thank you, I don't wish to participate." That took less than 30 seconds. I think it's probably a whole lot less than all the evasive maneuvering above. Although the above does get me paid more (read waste of government money) and is much more entertaining. Chances are, if you evade me I'm going to ask your neighbors and find out something anyway. If you refuse, you put an end to it. I'm not going to ask your neighbors, I'm going to know that you don't want to be counted and respect that. So man up and answer your door for the little lady!