Sunday, August 22, 2010

They never call here

"Hands Down Research", says a nervous-looking woman on the doorstep. Because she's looking nervous and the alternative to taking her survey is to resume carrying furniture upstairs, I say:
"Oh, go on then."
She brightens up a little.
"I have to tell you, it will take maybe 15 minutes."
"Oh yeah?"
"That's me," she says, pointing to a picture of herself, looking nervous, on an identity card.
"Correct," I answer helpfully. "Have we started yet?"
"Do you have a mobile phone?" she asks, squinting at a list of questions on an electronic notepad barely visible in the glaring sunlight.
"Madam, you haven't even offered me dinner and drinks yet."
"Have you heard of Vodafone?"
"Tesco Mobile?"
"This other one whose name you'll not remember when blogging about this later?"
"If I was to hand you this piece of paper with ludicrous statements on it, which would you use to describe your current mobile phone service provider?"
I read through the list. Finally, I say:
"I would choose 'Elephantine liquorice sticks hold up my house of minuscule beans' to describe my current mobile provider. That's number six on the list."
She ticks a box on the screen.
"If I gave you this pen, would you hold it?"
"If I struggle using one hand to turn the piece of paper over to display a number of commercial logos, will you wait while I do so, in the meantime, trying hard not to look down my blouse?"
"Do you recognise these commercial logos?"
"How many of these commercial logos have you seen on television or on bus shelters or in other places in the past fortnight?"
"This one, that one, and those ones hiding in the corner."
"Who sponsors the Meteor awards?"
"I don't know."
"Who sponsors the venue formerly known as The Point Depot, now known as the O2?"
"I don't know."
"Have you read any newspapers or magazines in the past fortnight?"
"Have you done any of the things on the next page of the list in the past fortnight?"
I read out:
"Got out of bed... Emailed... read blog... used social networking site... used the searching thing named Google... returned to bed."
"Do you own a spoon?"
"Do you know your own name?"
"I do."
"What is your telephone number?"
"I don't know."
"Finally, where am I?"
"You are here."
She stabbed a little electronic box with her stylus and handed me a printout informing me I had just taken a survey and that someone might call me about the answers.
I returned to lifting furniture.