Posted by: Michelle Mitton | November 3, 2008

Pollsters, Pit Bulls and Pizza

I’m a mom trying to raise four kids to be courteous, caring adults so I figure that I ought to at least practice what I preach and be polite–even under duress. But there are those times when you get pushed to the brink of sanity you know?

Tell me that I’m not the only one ready to pass a moratorium on political pollsters? It used to be that I’d get a call or two asking who I was likely to vote for but now . . . NOW they all start out months ahead of V-day with “I’d like to ask you a couple questions, it will only take a moment . . . ” and then they proceed to ask seventy or eighty questions that take so long to answer that by the time I finish the polls are closed and the election’s been called.

Maybe I’m odd but “a couple” means two. TWO. As in, “Have a COUPLE cookies” or “They are a COUPLE” or “It costs a COUPLE of bucks.” This translates into: “Are you registered to vote?” followed by “Who are you most likely to vote for?”

Not “Given the incumbent candidate’s views on abortion, the environment, NAFTA, the price of oil, domestic violence, apartheid, Volkswagen bugs, mullets, Paris Hilton and bologna are you definitely unlikely, really unlikely, somewhat unlikely, unlikely, kind of likely, pretty likely, mostly likely or completely likely to support their opponent in the upcoming election?”

“Uh, can you repeat the question?”

The thing is I’m too darn nice to get uppity with them and object. I should just refuse to take the poll from the very beginning but I’m held back by the guilt I feel at the possibility that maybe if I refuse to take a poll I’m jeopardizing the entire political process and shaking the foundations of freedom and democracy all over the world. That and I can’t ever bring myself to hang up on a person.

But this last call did it and I’ve decided that I’m never again going to take a poll. Never–and you’ve got that in writing. If you want my opinion, submit it by email or better yet, visit my blog (I’m always giving out an opinion there).

You see they’re getting sneakier because they’re not just trying to find out my opinion they’re trying to influence my opinion and I’m onto them like lipstick on a hockey mom. Or is that lipstick on a pit bull? I get them mixed up. I mean, I may not have a rock-solid political platform here but darn it, it’s mine and I’m not so stupid that I can’t see where all those leading questions are taking me.

“Given candidate X’s recent vote on bill 476 which will promote strip mining as well as minors stripping can you in good conscience still support her opponent?”

“What if, in the course of the campaign, it were proved that candidate Y were a child-loving bibliophile? Would that change your vote?”

And my personal favorite, “Have any of these questions changed your opinion?”

The last poll I took like this started out innocuously enough but after five minutes of questions that were repetitive, partisan and leading I finally got gutsy enough to ask “You said it was only a couple of questions, how much longer will this take?” I was assured we were at the end but the questions continued and continued until I finally got irritated enough to interrupt (yes, I actually interrupted!) and say, “I’m sorry but I don’t have any more time. Thank you for calling.”

I told Grace that in the future any pollsters would be directed to her. They can talk with her–probably the only person in the world who has more stamina with a phone receiver in her hand and could outlast them in a phone call-to-phone call smack down. She’d never get tired of talking in a million years.

But the ultimate? The absolute limit? A couple weeks ago the kids had received coupons for personal pizzas from Pizza Hut at school and had been begging me to take them to Pizza Hut so they could cash them in. We called ahead for take-out, they picked up the pizzas, went home and ate them. End of story. Completely non-interesting. Except that . . .

A couple days later (a couple meaning TWO) I got a call from a person asking if I would be willing to answer a couple of questions about my experience ordering from Pizza Hut.

Suspicious but once again, not wanting to be rude I said, “Okay? . . . .”

Now maybe I’m weird but somehow knowing that I could go and pick up some pizzas, make my way to the safety and security of my home and then have them track me down to hound me about the purchase didn’t sit well. It’s not like I want to order pizzas under an alias or anything but where’s the privacy people?? I just want my pizzas, let me eat them in peace.

She proceeded to question me about whether I physically went into the restaurant to pick up said pizzas, what toppings I had on my pizzas, whether I chewed them on the right side or left side of my mouth, whether I used unleaded or diesel, whether I’m a natural blond and whether I’d ever considered adopting a badger before finally asking “How likely are you to order pizza from Pizza Hut again in the future?”

I’d had enough. As if being hounded by political pollsters trying to get me to vote for their guy wasn’t enough, as if pre-recorded messages from our local school board reps cutting into family activities weren’t enough, as if being interrupted at dinner every other night to see if I would sponsor blind children to go to the movies weren’t the limit, NOW Pizza Hut is tracking me down to grill me about my choice of pizza toppings?? I just wanted some pizza, dang it! Is that so wrong?

I took a breath and said something to the effect of, “Well you know, I’ve always thought Pizza Hut was pretty good–I’ve eaten there lots of time and had plans to come back as often as my cravings called but if I’m going to walk in, pick up a pizza, then be phoned by Pizza Hut later and hassled with lots of questions about the whole thing I don’t think I’ll be going back ever again. The relationship is over–I’m through. I prefer a silent, one-night’s stand pizza experience.”

“Oh.”

So don’t even try calling me again Pizza Hut because on Tuesday? I’m voting for Little Caesar’s.

  • unlikely
  • somewhat unlikely
  • likely
  • very likely
  • no opinion

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