I've been polled!

Posted On: Saturday - December 5th 2020 7:00AM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity  Media Stupidity

No, not poled, as in up the ass, with more government/lefty/commie/feminist/ PanicFest stupidity, such as we have been writing about for 4 years running. I was polled with 2 "L"s, as in by the big un', Gallup Polling. This call to my cell phone* was at least 1/2 an hour long, maybe even 45 minutes. This was about 2 weeks back, so I need to write this now, before I forget more of the questions I was asked.

I have lost more of whatever confidence I had that these pollsters knew what they were doing after this call. I don't mean the young lady asking me questions, of course. She was as polite as can be, but would cut off any extraneous part of any answer. She had to be as patient as all get-out to keep that job, as I'm sure she hears all manner of ranting (not me, this time) and if anything went seriously wrong during the call, I'm guessing the whole set of answers gets trashed. That's not a successful call, and it's not likely an employee there gets any kudos for having too many of those.

I'm not sure if the pollsters in charge have ever heard the simple saying: Ask a stupid question; get a stupid answer.. That applies to the call I got, for the most part.

The first 1/3 of the call consisted of questions to ascertain who was this guy she'd called. "Do you make between $X and $Y?" "Would you say your race is white?", "Are you between 35 and 55?", etc., each with a set of 4 answers (probably so she wouldn't get "what was the middle one?" all the time ;-}) Sure, you've got to get that info. for the independent axes of the graphs, such as with Audacious Epigone's many bar graphs.

Within all that were mixed-in other questions, possibly to get the respondent to figure "we are getting somewhere". There were 4 questions in a row about "have you not had enough money for food due to ...?", as an example. Really, is that ever the case in this age of welfare? What was the point of that series of stupid questions. How about "how much have your health plan costs gone up?", you know, something that is a real problem?

For a while, we got down to business. Still, the questions just made me roll my eyes and wonder who made these up? It's not the subject matter. There were at least a couple of political subjects that the pollster wanted opinions on.

A series of questions was about feminism, for instance. Again, it was another set of stupid ones though: "Do you strongly disagree, slightly disagree, slightly agree, or strongly agree with the statement "women should be allowed to work outside the home"? "What is the percentage of your friends, would you say, who would agree with "women should be allowed to work outside the home", under 50%, between 50% and 90%, over 90%? There were 2 more of the same. It was just tedious and stupid!

How about "do you think it's better for society if most women stay at home with their families?" and "what percentage of your friends ...?"? Give me a non-stupid question, and you may get some important data! Was the point to use this question to tell the users of this data that pretty much all Americans were pro-feminism? Or, did they ask non-stupid questions to other respondents, and I just got the stupid ones as part of some control group? Are they very very smart or very very dumb? I'm going with number 2 for $800,000, Alex.

We got to immigration even (yea!), but most of the questions were stupid-obvious there too, as in, with only one non-completely-stupid answer. I finally got to one that was straightforward. "Do you strongly disagree, slightly disagree, slightly agree, or strongly agree that there is too much immigration?" There's one for our side. That was the only question I remember to which the answer could be used to actually determine something useful.

The poll wrapped up with "what's your zip code?", and that was it. The process was extremely disappointing, and I see it as at least 1/2 hour wasted.

Is it possible that Gallup Polling asks so many stupid questions as just part of a long series gradated among respondents from stupid-obvious on one end to stupid-obvious on the other, with the discerning questions in the middle? Nah, I doubt that. I believe it comes down to the same stupid question I asked above. The stupid answer again is: These people are very very dumb.

NOTE: If I remember some other questions later on, I'll update this post.

* I still answer calls from numbers I don't know. It's hit or miss. See Modern Peak Stupidity telephone etiquette, along with Hanging up in Style.

Adam Smith
Monday - December 7th 2020 3:02PM MST
PS: Good evening everyone...

My landline receives several spam calls each day. Some of them show up as "spam" on the caller ID. I'm kind of a hermit so I usually don't answer calls from mystery numbers.

I used to get quite a few messages on my answering machine from these spammers. Apparently the robo-call machines recognize English and Español. Since I changed my answering machine greeting to French, the spammers rarely leave a message.

Monday - December 7th 2020 8:32AM MST
PS: Mr. Anon, once you say something that basically means you reject the premise of the question, they'd probably give you that out of "not sure", haha, or "don't know". Those are not good answers either, but that's all they'll take. Probably had I rejected the question as stupid more than a couple of times, the lady would have found a nice way to end the call, and all the data would not count.

I guess that'd have been just as well, but I wanted to see it through to see if there was anythingI could give a valid opinion on. i guess that was the 1%, that immigration question. I probably should just screen my calls better - yeah, it was a waste of time.
Mr. Anon
Sunday - December 6th 2020 6:51PM MST
PS The questions pollsters ask are as obtuse as those that most journalists ask. The only right answer is usually "I reject the premise of your question." Of course, the obtuseness is willful. They don't want to ask real questions because they don't want to get real answers. They want to shoe-horn your replies into a range of opinions that they can use to justify whatever it is their clients want to do already anyway.
Sunday - December 6th 2020 11:07AM MST
PS: Rex, what you do works fine for sales actual-people on the other end and is obviously kind of fun too. My friend had started just waiting a few seconds because he had a land line with no caller-ID. Whenever I'd call, I'd wonder why I heard nothing for a couple of seconds. He explained this, and that's why I though, yeah, that might be the new way - the one calling says "Hello" first.

Those generated voices can be pretty smooth though.. and sexy sometimes...

Lots of people have apps that get updated regularly with numbers known to be from robo-calls. Even my little junker phone says "scam likely" sometimes. That is not from phone memory, so the call-phone company must be running some program to find out which numbers are calling like crazy, and then sending those 2 words with the number. It's getting nuts out there.
Sunday - December 6th 2020 8:13AM MST
PS: Rex, you could still comment under that old post, but I'd likely be the only one to comment back or even know, as I just use the dBase, haha.

As to your own phone etiquette, firstly, so many of those robo-calls are, or say the are, about car warranties. We've only had our first ever car with a warranty a couple of years ago, so I will admit right here in from of Peak Stupidity and heaven that I fell for that one, even writing down the number and calling back. Man! I totally understand why they persist with that line of scamming.

As for you various ways of detecting salesmen I'm down with all of that kind of thing, but for computer calls, I think as long as a voice is detected, that software counts you, Rex Little, as a big success. I figure that that a piece of data saying "yes, this is a non-business, non-fax actual human's phone number" and keeping that to sell to other companies with software ready to bother you while you're driving on a wet mountain road at night.

I gotta go. I'll write more back later, Mr. Little.
Rex Little
Sunday - December 6th 2020 5:43AM MST
PS This comment is off-topic here; it would have gone in the Telephone Etiquette post, but I didn't know about Peak Stupidity when that was written.

In that post, you recommended answering calls by saying nothing until the caller did. I prefer to have some fun with them. If I don't recognize the number, it's almost always one of:
- a salesman for an extended auto warranty;
- a "Medicare advisor" wanting to sign me up for a Medicare Advantage plan;
- I've won $5.5 million and a Mercedes, but first I need to pay a processing fee using a Walmart gift card.

So, when I first pick up, I say "Rex Little's Bra and Girl--uh, Bar and Grill--what can I do you out of?"

If someone is still on the line after that, and says anything, I switch to a nasal falsetto for "The number you have reached is not infected at this time. Please hang up and perform a recto-cranial insertion."

So far, no caller has stayed on the line through the end of that.
Saturday - December 5th 2020 4:57PM MST
PS: Mr. Stinkburger, lots of people have those features. I am quite a bit behind. I'll take your advice next time I get polled, at least if it starts off as worthless as this one was. Or, I'll tell them to send some money for my time first.

At least the Neilson TV people throw you a couple of dollar bills when they send you that diary that I return almost blank. (I put in about 5 minutes every other day that during which I supposedly watched the weather radar channel, just so they don't think I've ignored the whole thing).
Comrade Meanwich Stinkburger
Saturday - December 5th 2020 4:26PM MST
PS They won't leave you alone now. There should be a spam call block feature on sailfawns (cellphones).
Give all the wrong answers or say what you think that they want to hear.
Let's have fun with the glorious Zimbabwe fundamental transformation.
Yes we can!
WHAT SAY YOU? : (PLEASE NOTE: You must type capital PS as the 1st TWO characters in your comment body - for spam avoidance - or the comment will be lost!)