Ring ring, my telephone is illuminated and the number is one I don’t know. Do I answer it, or leave it? Good question, and then, my mind starts playing games. “if you leave it” it says to me, ‘it might be a new client with a referral from someone you know”. Shit, what to do, and only a split second in which to do it. “Fuck it!”
“Hello” gruff and irritated voice in motion.
“Yes, this is Ed, and I’m from a national survey company conducting a poll on behalf of all voters”.
Time to move into ‘take the piss’ mode. I just love that feeling. I hate people who read from scripts, as I’ve mentioned often on this blog, and when they do, I love to put them off their stride immediately. No holds barred! This is open warfare for me.
“Yes, Edward, I voted, (long pause), once, ( long pause again), does that count?”
“Yes sir” replied Ed in his, OK I have a live one here, voice. I actually imagined him saluting at the other end of the phone. He was so militarily correct with his reply!
“But it was in 1946 in Scotland”
“Edward, are you with me?”
Silence. I could just tell that his ‘script only’ brain was trying to compute what exactly was going on here.
“Yes sir, that counts” and then he paused, and paused, and decided to go back to his script.
“Are you eligible to vote here in the United States?”
“Edward, can I call you that?” I asked politely.
“Yes sir”. The military edge to his voice had now gone, and he was in complete withdrawal mode.
I continued, “I was eligible to vote in Scotland in 1946 Ed, so doesn’t that make me eligible here in the US in 2012?”
He was puzzled, flummoxed, annoyed, confused, irritated, all at the same time. I could here the cogs revolving inside his brain. He had no idea what was coming.
“I’m going to vote for Reagan! Do you think that’s a wise choice Edward?”
Without pause or hesitation, Ed replied,”Sir, Reagan isn’t running”.
“NO WAY!” I shouted down the phone. It was loud enough to disturb not only the dog, but the next door neighbors. “Who beat him out?” I asked.
By now, Ed was perhaps coming to his senses, and even though he’s been distracted from his script, I could tell he was beginning to cotton on, so I changed up a gear and went for the jugular.
“Ed, I know Reagan didn’t make it, I was only joking with you, and I also know that Nancy is too old and too frail to be the first lady, so my money is on Obama. Is that what you wanted to know?”
“Yes sir” I was starting to believe that ‘yes sir’ was all Ed was able to say.
He asked me instantly,”Sir, I just need to ask you three questions”
“You do?” It was now back to taking the piss time. “I am not, I repeat not, giving you my social security number Edward. I’ve heard about these scams on the news. You want to take advantage of us old folk and I am not having it. In fact, if this is another one of those scams, I’m….” Ed was trying hard to butt into the conversation, but I wouldn’t let him. I was on, and I was going to remain on. “…..going to change my vote to Bush. Got it Ed, Bush it is.”
Speechless Ed, was even more speechless now. “Sir, this is not a scam”.
“I’m sure you tell that to every old person you talk to Ed, but I am not going to be fooled. You know, we beat the Germans in 2 wars, and we beat everyone else we ever fought, so we will beat you scammers, I assure you!” I was on fire, and he was in hiding. The phone went dead.
That, my friends, was a true story from a few weeks back. So it got me thinking, if I was so irrational on the phone with these guys, who else acts the same way and how do we know how accurate these polls are? I suppose my point was proven by what happened 8 years ago in FL with Bush and Gore. No one could call it, even though the polls said one thing, the opposite was actually true. In any event, how many of you have ever had a call asking for your opinion and given the truth? And, if you told the truth, when it came down to voting, did you sway or did you just go with your heart and remain honest with the data you’d given during that call? These pollsters are given too much credit. Results are rarely a surprise nowadays, only because we seem to have an innate ability to predict correctly, most of the time, what the country is going to do, just by the direction each voter takes when they walk out of that voting booth. “Oh, he turned right Tom”, said the reporter on TV, “Must have voted Republican!” And, he was probably correct. Polling surveys are a complete waste of time. Just let it be, have the election and like having a new born, wait until it’s over and act surprised when someone wins, no matter who. What’s the fun in telling everyone that Obama leads Romney by 3 points in Ohio and by 6 in Florida, if we all know they are right and that’s exactly what happens? There is no edge to election night if the polls predict an outright winner and that Bush/Gore standoff we all witnessed, becomes irrelevant if we all turn off out TV’s knowing it’s over, when really it’s not.
Ring ring, shit, it’s that same number.
“Sir, this is Ed again”.
“Edward, you cut me off”.
“Yes sir”. Fuck, here we go again. “What do you want this time?”
“Sir. I meant no disrespect to a war veteran, and I am sorry I put the phone down on you” . Was he being serious now?? It was my turn to be confused.
“Edward, go home, make a pot of strong black coffee, have a wee dram of your favorite whisky and relax.” I was being comforting, NOT! “When you wake up tomorrow, please go out and vote for whoever you believe will rid this country of polling companies like yours!”
At that the phone went dead for the final time. Ed is probably lying on a beach someplace, recovering from the abuse I gave him, crying his heart out that he upset one of this country’s war heroes. The only question left is, who will he vote for?