A couple of years ago we got a phone call from Nielsen Media Research, the company that does the TV ratings. They asked us if we would record our television viewing for one week and they would pay us a small fee for our efforts. In a moment of weakness I said that I would participate, so they sent us the television viewing log and $5.
We don’t watch television, usually, except when my husband is home in the evenings, so I thought it would be pretty simple. Pretty simple, that is unless your husband is a channel-change-a-holic and you are obsessive about honesty.
My husband flips channels faster than a… person who changes channels very frequently, and that television viewing log had more eraser marks than… oh, fiddlesticks, it had a lot of eraser marks, okay?
Anyway, I decided that I didn’t like marking down and erasing channels and times and television programs every day for a solid week when I had other things to do with my time. Things like feeding hungry children and providing clean underwear for them to wear.
Well, a couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from the same company asking me to do the same thing. I politely told the representative that I did not wish to participate this time, but thankyouverymuch for considering us. Well, this lady must have received her phone training from Never Take No For An Answer University because she kept explaining the procedure like I had, you know, never said, “No”.
I interrupted her very persuasive speech and explained to her that I have SEVEN! children that I homeschool and I just do not have time to be recording trivial things like television viewing and besides, we hardly ever watch any television anyway. If you have ever dealt with a telemarketer, you know that she acted like she didn’t even hear my answer, but she just kept right on talking like I had agreed to participate! I finally ended up hanging up on her and consoled myself with the fact that I had TRIED to decline politely.
A couple of days later, we got another call. This time my husband was home and when he heard me struggling to decline politely again, he motioned for the phone. He can be quite a bit more, ahem….convincing than I can and not nearly as concerned with southern charm and gentility (mercy me, I’m coming down with a case of the vapors just thinking about it) so he told the lady in a VERY clear and concise manner that we would NOT be participating and we would appreciate not being solicited again.
That was the end of that. Right?
Wrong! We got a fat envelope in the mail with what I assumed was a television viewing log inside. I almost threw it right in the trash unopened, but, and I still don’t know why I did this, I opened it.
I was right. It did have the viewing log inside, plus 5 one dollar bills. In cash! Who sends cash through the mail these days?
I decided I would put everything right back in the pre-paid envelope and send it right back immediately. Only, there was no envelope to put the cash in. Just the fat viewing log with a tab to seal it shut.
So, here I am with $5 and a viewing log that I had said I did not want! I can’t just keep the $5 and not fill out and return the log. I can’t return the $5 without using my own envelope and stamp. I can’t just write any old thing in the log. I definitely feel manipulated.
What would you do?