Hello, My Name Is … (RE-Blog)

Anne Belov , creator of the blog The Panda Chronicles, has published her adult coloring book (“who says pandas are all black and white?“), and I just got my copy.  While I’m working on opening that box of 64-count crayons and figuring out which one to use for which section of my first art project, please enjoy this re-blog of one of my earlier posts.

Nothing Overlooked.jpg

“Nothing Overlooked”
Oil Painting by Anne Belov
Private Collection; Coupeville, WA

Thank you, Anne Belov, for your willingness to let me use your beautiful image.

I don’t know about anyone else, but my kitchen sink definitely does not look like this – Anne’s painting actually makes me want to spend time doing dishes!

As opposed to seeing a few dirty dishes in the sink and running as far away as possible.  Which is why these days I mostly eat meals that require the use of very few dishes.

This aversion to  normal household chores became chronic in 2005, when I found myself working three jobs (one full-time, two part-time) to try to keep up with my credit card bills.  After working a full day job, I would rush home, grab a 5-minute break, and then rush to my next job.  And on Saturdays, and sometimes Sundays, I worked one or the other of the part-time jobs, as well.

Both part-time jobs were the same – market research interviewing.  Each company knew I worked for the other company, but they were OK with that as long as the projects didn’t overlap in any way, and I was just that good at interviewing that they were so willing to accommodate me.

Yes, folks, I was one of those annoying people who call you up to ask you random questions such as how old are you, how big is your family, what kind of car do you drive and do you like it.

Note – market research is NOT telemarketing.  We never sold anything to anyone.  Our calls were strictly opinion polls.

But people still often got sensitive with us.

OK, so some of the surveys leant themselves to misinterpretation.  Many women got extremely upset during the “cosmetic surgery” survey we did, wherein we were to find out how many women had undergone boob surgery, or were contemplating doing so.  The VERY FIRST question (after, “Hello, my name is [CookieCakes] and I’d like to ask you a few questions…”) was:

“Have you ever had breast augmentation surgery?”

I can’t imagine why so many women simply hung up that point …  hang-ups were especially prevalent for the male interviewers in our group.  Again, I can’t imagine why!

IhatepeopleAnd then there was the survey that required us to call up people whose telephone service had been cancelled due to non-payment.  One of the questions asked for the individual’s feelings about being terminated – helloooo, how do you THINK they’re going to feel?

That is, if we even got through to anyone at any particular number.  Because – did it never occur to the person who wrote the darn thing? – the numbers we were given to call were the same numbers that had been cancelled by the company!


That survey was a close runner-up in insensitivity to the one we did on behalf of a local funeral home, trying to determine if the funeral director’s services were satisfactory.  I can sum up that experience by quoting the words of a widow who had lost her husband just a week or so before the survey:

“Well, I guess it was OK, but my husband’s still dead!”

(followed by heart-rending sobbing.)


Of course, some people get annoyed simply because anyone has the audacity to call them at all, especially if the call just happens to come in at their dinner time.  We interviewers had no way of knowing the dinner time of every single U.S. citizen, but some of our respondents felt we should have had that information at our fingertips.

I’ll never forget the young gentleman I called who happened to live in a distressed urban area.  I don’t know if it was his dinner time or if he was just generally an obnoxious individual.  Upon realizing that this middle-aged female caller was not someone he knew, he immediately invited me to come to his house and perform a certain act on a certain uniquely male body part.  I am very proud of the fact that without missing a beat, I responded:

“Well, thank you, but I’m working right now.  Perhaps some other time.”

In the ensuing shocked silence, I simply hung up.  We were allowed to do so with extremely difficult respondents.


Of course, not all of the interviewing experiences were bad – some were downright fun.  Many respondents actually seemed to ENJOY answering all kinds of questions.  I had one elderly male respondent who, upon hearing that the survey could take up to an hour, merely asked me to wait while he got into his comfy chair – and then he answered every, single question I had, and it did take an entire hour.

NewCarSometimes language was a bit of a barrier.  We were doing a new-car survey, and I had a respondent who was very willing and intelligent, but English was not his first language.  During the course of the survey, there was a question asking what feature the respondent liked best about his new vehicle.  His answer? – fuck lights!

Whoa – gotta get me some of those!

During training, it was drilled into us that we must CLARIFY all ambiguous answers given by respondents, so I was forced to ask what, exactly, he meant by fuck lights.  He replied, “You know – those lights you use when it is fucky so you can see better.”  [Nah, personally I prefer low lighting, or candle lighting, or no lighting …]

Oh, wait a minute – there’s that language thing going on:


Even I have fog lights on my vehicle – they’re nice, but I think those OTHER ONES probably would be way more fun.  (And I want a percentage of the profits from any car manufacturer who latches onto this idea.)

So, folks, have a little sympathy for those individuals who work these types of jobs to make ends meet.  I’m not saying you have to agree to do a survey, but at least decline politely.  A simple, “I’m not interested, please take me off your call list” was always sufficient to end the interview.


I love to hear from my readers.  You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook page, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com


Images by:  Anne Belov, and Eisley Constantine, and Riccardo Romano, respectively

This entry was posted in Humor, Re-Blogs, That's Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Hello, My Name Is … (RE-Blog)

  1. i can understand the concern of the ladies over personal questions but then non payment of bills are actually embarrassing for some. Conducting the survey is not as easy as it sounds. Can be challenging.


  2. Wow…that’s quite a job. It seems you’d have to insulate yourself from all the hang-ups and negative comments. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would do a 1 hour survey ? I’ve had some challenge with those fake “you have a Microsoft problem with your computer” folks with a heavy foreign accent. I once stopped one of them mid sentence and asked where he was calling me from…and he took offense and made a few suggestions as to what he’d have me do to him…I handed the phone to my husband, who listened quietly as he rambled pornographically. ☺


    • When people asked where we were calling from, we told them the truth because it was a legitimate market research center. And yes, there were quite a few people who were willing to do a one-hour survey – mostly older, retired (and presumably lonely) people, and people who had previously done the job themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. lbeth1950 says:

    Telephone surveyors must have the hardest job in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. prior2001 says:

    What a truly enriching experience – especially for rich empathy – and laughing at those lights – hah! So fun – and I had a project and had to do some interviews earlier this year and it is so vulnerable and I felt like a solicitor – but thankfully I got the participants I needed and it was done – but I am very grateful this is not my line of work – have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ladyryl says:

    Telephone surveyors get polite treatment usually, from doing the survey to a no call request. Microsoft calls get told I have an Apple computer [which I don’t, but they don’t know that], Duct cleaning gets told the truth – I have radiators… Autodialer calls are the latest telephone mush these days and they hit up land line and cell phones with regularity, some allow for a press this # option to stop the calls.

    I did telemarketing for all of 4 hours of a shift and left on lunch break, I just wasn’t cut out for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, ha. You’d be surprised how many potential market surveyors leave in the middle of their first shift. On my first shift, I spent about an hour sitting next to a seasoned worker, just listening. Then the seasoned worker handed the phone over to me, and I was like, “What? You mean I actually have to do that now?”


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