Monday, August 09, 2010

Waving to the Census Bureau

Since someone at the Census Bureau has apparently renewed his/her interest in this here blog, I thought I'd wave, provide you with a handy-dandy link to all of my Census/American Community Survey-related posts, and take this opportunity to tell you and all of my readers about our visit from the Census Bureau guy who came our house a few weeks ago. Can you believe I forgot to mention it? I tweeted it, I think, but haven't written a blog post.

Anyway, as I mentioned back in March of this year, we only provided one answer on our official Census form this year: Five. I knew that would result in a personal visit, and indeed, I was not at all surprised to get a couple "We came to visit you and you weren't home" notices stuck on the front door during the second week of July.

Then, one sunny Saturday afternoon, as I was leaving the house to go run an errand, I saw a little old man in a little old car park on the street in front of the house. He got out with a clipboard and a briefcase, and I knew who he was. I stuck my head back inside and told Brendan that the Census guy was here and I'd deal with him. Then I stood outside on the front porch and closed the door behind me (a gesture I picked up from an old friend of mine).

The man came up and before he had a chance to speak, I said "We refuse to provide you with any more information. No, thank you." I was as nice and friendly as I could be.

He paused, obviously somewhat surprised, but then got the oddest expression on his face. A smirk. A Jim Taggart-y kind of a smirk. "May I ask why not?" he said.

So I told him that I didn't believe the federal government had a right to that other information, that I was happy to provide the number of people living here, repeated that number for him, but that since I didn't recognize the government's right to the information I was refusing to provide it.

He didn't press me further, didn't protest that it was for my own good or the good of my community or any of that. He didn't tell me "But it's mandatory!" like the woman who came to our house to get us to complete the American Community Survey a couple of years ago. He smirked at me some more and said "Okay." and went back to his car.

I went inside to tell Brendan that I was now leaving for my errand, and then went back outside and got in my car. The man was sitting in his car, writing and writing and writing on his little notepad. I sat there for five minutes or so, but he was working and wasn't ready to leave. I didn't want to delay my errand any longer, so I left him sitting there in his car in front of my house, writing and writing. Brendan said he stayed a few more minutes after I left.

So that was our Census experience this year. Fairly innocuous. I can only imagine that someone at the Census is just dying to hear it, which is why they've been stepping up the visits to the blog lately. Don't get me wrong, I love the hits! But it's just not that fascinating a story, really.

Or is it?

1 comment:

Dr. Bob said...

I simply provided them with terribly inaccurate information about who lives in my house. apparently we have Bob Galt and Brandon Jacobs living at this address and I'm 38 years old....