Surveyed And Dismayed

, , , | Learning | October 31, 2018

(Near the end of my freshman year in college, longer ago than I care to remember, I received a questionnaire in the mail. It was long — eight pages, each with two columns of questions — and intrusive — asking about drug use, sexual habits, parents’ income, number of toilets in my home, and more — and despite assurances of anonymity there was an embossed unique serial number on the sheet to record answers. After about two minutes of looking at it, I set the whole thing on fire and forgot about. The next fall, I get a call from the Dean of Students’ secretary.)

Secretary: “[My Name], I’m calling about the survey you received from [Company] last spring. It’s important that it be completed, as the college gets a significant amount of money for it.”

Me: “I did get it and took care of it. I must say I was quite concerned about the personal nature of the questions, some of which could potentially leave me open to criminal charges if I had actually done them and answered honestly.”

Secretary: “[My Name], it’s anonymous, and they don’t have your response.”

Me: “If you know they don’t have my answers, then it’s not anonymous, is it? When I said I took care of it, I meant that I destroyed it immediately.”

Secretary: *click*

(I expected another call from the Dean himself, but no. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to trash the survey.)

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