Monday, May 09, 2011

858 The Dirt Devil Census

858 The Dirt Devil Census

Twenty five bucks for a light-duty vacuum cleaner that’s really a hand vac with a long detachable handle, and without enough power to pass those lung capacity tests the docs like to give you. And in return for registering for the warranty whose time limit is unstated, they want a few scraps of information about you. Just a little bit. Just so they can “continue to make improvements.” Just so we “know a little the customers’ lifestyle.” Privatized census data.

Name, address, e-mail address. Okay. Then date of birth. Important? Maybe. If you’re too old (say, over 45,) there’s no reason to pound you with advertising for their Next Big Thing, because who cares about death’s door customer types like you?

Then, your phone number. Why, if, as promised, they’re not going to call you? They also want to know where you bought it and what influenced your decision to buy. And they want to know what you paid or if it was a gift.

Then it gets really interesting. They want to know if you watch TV and when. Or cable. Or satellite. They want to know if you “surf the internet.”

They want to know how many people live in your house and of them, how many are kids. Stuff you don’t even have to disclose to the census bureau.

Your occupation. They really really want to know about your occupation. Are you a “professional?” Or an executive, middle manager, salesperson, a retiree, a student (what student buys a vacuum cleaner?) Clerk? Service worker? In the military, a homemaker (at least they don’t say “housewife.”)

Your income. If you’re buying a $25 dirt devil and not a $400 Oreck or an $800 Dyson, chances are you’re not on the Forbes 400 list. That should be indication enough.

Your education level: In which grade did you drop out? Or do you have a terminal degree?

Which major credit card(s) do you have? Do you own your home, rent it or are you a squatter? And how long have you lived there? Are you going to buy a house or car in the next six to 12 months? (Important info for a vacuum company, no?)

Then they want to know your internet buying habits, your catalog buying habits, your membership in “frequent flyer” programs, whether you house a cat or dog, own a cell phone or a CD player (no mention of an iPod, but they DO want to know if you have an Apple computer.)

Do you: Box, bicycle, go to the gym, run or jog, ski, play tennis, go hiking, camping, fishing, hunting? Do you sew, garden, buy videos? Do you do your own car repairs, read, (two questions, one general, the other about the bible.) Do you collect antiques, do crafting, cruise, have an interest in wine or gourmet food?

And finally, would you list the top three of your favorites of all of the above activities.

All that’s missing is a group of questions about your sexual orientation, your citizenship and your ethnicity. Because even THEY know dirt is dirt even among illegal alien transsexual, gay, cross-dressing multiracial atheists, regardless of color, creed or whether they were born in Kenya or Panama and how long ago.

For the time effort and energy it takes to complete this form, they should at least GIVE you the vacuum cleaner if not pay you a princely sum.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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