• Paper Wait, Part 4


Have I mentioned recently my experience with the U.S. Census Bureau?

[If you’ve missed the saga, read Paper Wait, Paper Wait 2 and Paper Wait 3. I’ll hang on ’til you get back.]

Well, I dutifully mailed out the completed American Community Survey form, which I have been told I must do under penalty of law, about 10 days ago. So, I was surprised when I got a phone call the other day from someone representing herself as being with said Bureau.

She asked me some identification questions — address, phone number, etc., which was interesting considering that the Bureau had mailed me all paperwork I’ve been discussing, and she had, after all, reached me by phone. After satisfying her curiosity that I was indeed at that moment in the abode she was curious about, she launched into a prepared spiel about the American Community Survey and its legendary special qualities.

After several attempts, I was able to insert a verbal wedge and get her to stop blathering on.

“I mailed out the completed survey about 10 days ago,” I informed her.

“Oh, well, it’s not marked down that we’ve received it,” she replied.

I felt like saying, “Well, I did,” but I decided to simply wait, silently.

“Maybe it’s still working its way through our intake system,” she offered.

I remained mute.

“Well, I’ll just mark it down that it’s in the system and we’ll wait. We might have to call you again if there’s anything we can’t read on any of the answers.”

I couldn’t maintain silence.

“Virtually all the questions were multiple choice, so all I had to do was make a check mark in the appropriate box. Do you think that would be hard to read?,” I noted.

“I’m not sure,” she said. “I’m not involved in that part of the survey.”

Oh, how I wish I wasn’t either.


About Bill Dowd

Webmaster/social media coordinator for the Southern Rensselaer County NY Rotary Club.

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