Adventures in Modern Telephony: Telephone Surveys

December 5, 2009

Someone calls my house. Being too cheap for Caller ID (and I don't receive many calls at home in the first place), I answer the phone. Meanwhile, I've already got a call going on my mobile phone (a work-related conference call - yes, on a Saturday). A person with an English accent asks if I wish to participate in a public opinion poll. I tell him no, and not only that, he can remove my unpublished number from his list, and not call me again.

He then threatens me with DEPORTATION.

Excuse me?! "Are you an American citizen sir?" It's none of your got-dang business. "Well if you aren't, then you'll be deported for not responding." Well I am, so I'm not worried. "Oh, you are, so you know the importance of letting your elected officials know your opinions." I know how to get in touch with my elected officials.

"Well don't you think your opinion's important?" I think my opinion is more important than anyone else's, but I'm sure no one else thinks so. Certainly not my elected officials.

"Don't you care about public opinion?" Not really. How's that been working out, anyway?

"Well, sir, if you don't care then you're not an American and you'll face deportation." Well, I guess I will take my chances. By the way, how's that removal of my number from your phone list coming along?

"Why don't you just answer the survey?" Why don't you just take my number off your list?!

(A clear-minded person who is not juggling two telephones at once would have simply hung up well before this point. I am still sane enough to keep a lid on the expletives, as my son is in the room - which has not been working so well with the business call already in progress.)


"My number is 212-384-1000. My name is Jerry Ford." Oh like the President, huh?

"Sir, I am not an American." Huh? WHAT IS YOUR NAME? "Jerry Ford." WHAT IS THE NAME OF YOUR COMPANY? "If you'll call the number it will tell you." JUST TELL ME! "Why are you getting so angry, sir?"

This actually goes on a little bit longer, with at least one more threat of deportation. Finally I say "Bye-e-e-e-e" and hang up.

So obviously, *69 and *57 don't work. It turns out that 212-384-1000 is the phone number for the FBI's field office in New York City.

As though there aren't already enough cabrónes, someone out there is being paid to be one...

I'll just try and keep this in perspective: the fact that I am speaking on two telephones at once means I am better off than probably 90 to 95 percent of the rest of the world.