The Census

Images Like most good citizens, I filled out the census form.  The count takes place in the month of April so it was relevant to where we were living that month.  We have been receiving phone calls to confirm the information that I filled out on the form.  I finally connected with them today. 

I don't know whether to laugh or cry now that I have completed the phone call.  I assume that like the airport where they randomly decide to pull some aside that our census was just picked out of a group.  The questions they asked were pretty much the exact same questions asked on the census.  They want to confirm that all the information I filled out was true.  Did we all really live in that particular household in the month of March and April 2010, were any of us living in another place at the same time like jail, a nursing home, a different facility, etc.  Before asking everything question the caller would read some statement that was obviously written by a lawyer.  A few other questions were asked like was I sure I didn't have another baby during that time or perhaps have another person living with us.  My answers were basically no, no, no.

At the end of the call I did ask one question, "where are you located?"  The woman on the other end of the phone spoke seriously broken English with a heavy Chinese accent.  I had to keep asking her to repeat the question because I couldn't understand a word she was saying.  She continued to read off the computer screen in front of her and at one point I asked her to spell out one of the words she was saying.  She told me she was only reading a statement, it wasn't a question.  Basically, it was the legal cover my ass Government stuff.  She told me she was located in Georgia.  Not sure if that was Georgia as in the USA but I figured enough probing.

On another note, this was my second call today with someone that I couldn't understand a word they said.  I spoke with a banker today who had such a heavy Indian accent that I felt bad that I couldn't understand a damn thing he said.  I probably asked him to repeat what he said at least five times.  At one point I asked if I could speak to someone else but he refused to budget and just repeated himself again.  I finally got it.

Glad we are keeping the phone banks busy and employing people to do the work but not quite sure how we help the callers articulate the necessary information over the phone in a way that I can understand what they are saying.  It has to be frustrating on their end too.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. sotek

    It’s 2010. Nowadays you can access your bank account over the Internet, book flights or pay taxes online, however, you CAN’T fill out a simple census form online. Great!

    1. Gotham Gal


  2. tata

    Ha! This is funny for me. I am a foreing and I have to deal with this second language thing. I agree with you, we have to be able to speak english properly, this is essencial once you have decided to live abroad. I try to improve my skills every day but I can tell you, not an easy task!Tried to find what “refuse to budget” means.. Could you explain that? Love NYC, love your blog!tata

    1. Gotham Gal

      Refuse to budge means unwilling to try something a different way