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 Post subject: Funny
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:35 pm 
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There's this program through work that wants us to complete four telephone coaching sessions over the next few months. I signed up and completed their questionnaire in April and had the first appointment scheduled "for sometime the afternoon" of whatever day it was. They left a message and I didn't call back until today. Turns out I had to re-enroll which is to say I had to re-do the questionnaire. Except I wasn't allowed to do it online again; I had to sit there and listen to her talk at me for 20 minutes with multiple choice answers. I do NOT do well with those things. The words jumble and I don't have the patience to pay attention to droning. So as soon as she said whatever sounded the closest to my answer, I jumped on it. Then I got a lecture about how I can't possibly answer the questions unless I hear all the answers. Just shoot me, right?

Anyway, she finally got to the mental health part of the thing.

Her: Have you had thoughts of taking your own life in the last six months.

Me: (completely bored, monotone) No.

Her: Have you attempted suicide in the last six months.

Me: (following maniacal laguhter) Are you kidding me? "Have you had thoughts of taking your own life in the last six months - NO" followed by "Have you attemped suicide in the last six months" immediately after that? So - what? I wouldn't think about it at all for six months and then suddenly - out of the blue - try to kill myself ... for fun?! That is the most idiotic thing I've heard today. Thank you for the laugh. And NO, I haven't tried to kill mysself in the last six months.

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 Post subject: Re: Funny
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:54 pm 
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They should probably have reversed those two questions, since if you've actually attempted suicide, then it would follow that you've considered it. Unfortunately, to do the mathematical analysis necessary to make sense of how you answer, there has to be an answer to every question even if it's totally stupid.

Questionnaires are a pain, no doubt. Somehow it's less annoying to deal with the repetition or non-sequiturs when you fill out an online or paper "tick the box" kind of thing rather than having to listen to the questions verbally. Recently a Census questionnaire was delivered to my home weeks later than it was mailed out (the subject of the inability of my individual mailman to get my mail to me in a timely manner is another post -- it's not the Post Office, it's the actual mailman) and so I got several phone calls urging me to respond, which I ignored, until I actually got the form but hadn't filled it out yet and decided to answer the call and tell them to hold their horses, they'd get the damned thing soon. So the woman on the phone brightly said "Oh, we can just ask you the questions on the phone and you won't have to fill out the phone." So, OK.

On the surface, the questions are, for most of us, ridiculous. Do you have running water? Do you have a flush toilet? How many people live in the residence? Seriously? How many people do you know who don't have modern plumbing? And why is is anybody's business how many people live at your address?

The problem is that there are indeed families in our country who don't have plumbing. Maybe they live in Appalachia or on a Native-American reservation, or maybe recent immigrants live with you. And I think it's important to know stuff like that, so that there are actual numbers to back up statements about the level of poverty here, which is denied by a bunch of people I know.

Sorry, I didn't mean to turn this into a commercial. I just wanted to say that I relate to being frustrated with having to fill out questionnaires, but I also understand the value of the data that's extracted from them. For a long time I was frustrated when I'd read the results of various political polls (obviously an interest of mine, lol) but never got a call or other opportunity to participate, and then I finally got a call from Quinnipiac, a major pollster, and when I saw the results of the poll I was tickled to think my answers to the questionnaire were a part of the results.

It's probably seriously harder for a lot of people to deal with a verbal questionnaire than a written one, just because it's harder to recall the options. I'm not a good verbal learner at all, so at any talk/lecture/sermon/whatever where I care about what's being said, I take notes.

A pain in the arse, but, life. Unfortunately, there are many decisions made on state and federal levels regarding funding (or not) based on polling. If they can't get the answers, they can't come to intelligent choices.

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I can take it in small doses, but as a lifestyle I found it too confining. -- Jane Wagner


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 Post subject: Re: Funny
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:40 am 
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Sari wrote:
It's probably seriously harder for a lot of people to deal with a verbal questionnaire than a written one, just because it's harder to recall the options. I'm not a good verbal learner at all, so at any talk/lecture/sermon/whatever where I care about what's being said, I take notes.


That's definitely ME. My eyes skim and I click immediately on the one that fits and move on. Plus, a lot of these things were boring and repetitive. If you've already described what "seldom" means in terms of "light activity" I think I can extrapolate what "seldom" means when you work your way through "moderate activity" and "strenuous activity." Apparently there's a "stupid penalty" for those who are too busy to be bothered with a stress management call from another person reading from a script.

I tried explaining to her that listening to all the options was stressing me out and since the purpose of the whole thing was to REDUCE stress, couldn't I just cut to the chase? No. Gah!!!!!!!

Back in the early 90's, my soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend's mother was working for a polling company and ended up calling me. Since I knew her, I hung out and sat through the torture of listening to the repetitive list of answer choices. (And yeah, I had the similar glee of seeing the results on the news knowing I was part of that!) But that was the ONLY time I've sat patiently through an online survey. More often than not, I prefer to do things online. I've even signed up with Harris Polls (mostly about retail merchandising) and fill out surveys online. I get points for each survey - from 10 to 300 points depending on the length & depth of the survey. I cashed in some of my points and got a fabulous Targus rolling laptop case that I use every time I fly anywhere with a laptop now. I love that thing. So yeah, gimme online or you'll be sorely disappointed with the accuracy of the results. ("Everything's two. Whatever the question is, the answer is two servings a day.")

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