28 Oct. 2007
SETI League
PriUPS Project

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Fewer Opinions, More Dollars

I knew what was in the envelope before I opened it.  With the return address "Arbitron," what could it be but an invitation to take part in their radio survey program?  I knew the answer to that, too.  Yet another dollar bill.  I showed it to my housemate, who predictably lamented "Why are they always sending you money." 

I couldn't answer that, but I do hope "they" don't stop.  Meanwhile, the letter from Arbitron told me that I could enroll in the survey over the internet, or await their telephone call.  I was a bit rushed at the time, so deferred enrollment until I heard from them.  I was reminded of the opportunity a week later when I received another envelope and another dollar.  They claimed to have spoken with "someone in my household," so I did my own survey.  This was pretty easy, even for a 100% sample, which elicited no admissions of contact.  I put the envelope aside, thinking they'd try again, since that's what the enclosed card said.  (Confession:  I just might have been thinking that an additional dollar might be forthcoming.)  I put the new envelope aside, next to the first one.  (No, I had no hope that the dollar bills would somehow have progeny, even though one had an even serial number and the other was odd.)

Arbitron:  Lost opportunity! After another few days with no telephone contact with Arbitron, and with no additional dollars forthcoming, I went to the Arbitron web site to see if I qualified to enroll in the survey.

"We're sorry, but the deadline to enroll in our survey has passed."

It would seem that I lost my chance to tell the New York market how much I appreciate WXPK's format.  So it goes.  I'm not even sure I would have qualified.  Although I don't work in broadcasting now, I have done so in the past, and am involved in the broadcasting industry, albeit not at a station. 

Even though my "home was randomly selected to represent the households in [my] area," I'm not devastated by my failure to represent my particular group of kilohouseholds.  As I said, I may not have been qualified in any event, and I also learned an important lesson from this experience:  Check carefully when someone sends you a brand new dollar bill in the post!  You may find, as I did, that two bills are stuck together, and you have actually received more money than you thought.  Another benefit of human carelessness and tribological science.

NP:  "Doctor My Eyes" - Jackson Browne

Richard Factor

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