Survey Says….

August night2012

7:30 last night, our phone rang.  We don’t have caller ID, but since there is a lull in the political calls, I though there was a pretty good chance it was one of the kids.


It was a call from the Department of Agriculture.

The long arm of the law had finally caught up with me….

“Hi, this is Janet… I am calling to follow up on the Department of Agriculture survey that you should have received in the mail… You did get one didn’t you? “

I had but had already decided not to send it in.  It felt like one of those obtrusive meddlesome/ none of their business forms, but now that I was on the phone with a real live person who was just doing her job, I felt like  a little kid who’d been caught skipping school.

So we began.

She asked me a series of questions related to our apple trees, the questions gradually becoming more and more personal.

Pause-  I am not a  rebel.

I pay my taxes, play by the rules, yet have lived long enough now to have watched our government red tape/ bureaucracy    continue to morph and grow like  the thunderheads of an approaching storm.

Its just the nature of the beast, bureaucracy has a built in growth mechanism and unless there is someone in power who intentionally chooses  to dial it back, it will always continue to grow.

I don’t believe Uncle Sam should have any business keeping tabs on my apple growing hobby, other than whether or not I pay my fair share of income tax.

Because it is a hobby.

The department of Agriculture has  already said our setup is not large enough to qualify for a “farmstead exemption.”  It needs to be a minimum of one acre and ours is not.

Anyway, at this point in the conversation, something inside of me welled up and I blurted out to Janet.  “Is there any way you can take my name off your list?” 

Pause…..”Well, no there isn’t…. pause…But...pause, you do know this survey is voluntary..right?”

( I did not)

“I have to tell you, Janet said, In the past, there was a large highlighted disclaimer on the front of the envelop that said it was optional, and as I look at this years envelop, that is missing. (even though it still is optional)

I then voiced a couple of reasons why I  was asking…she agreed and chuckled…I told her she sounded like my mom.

How old are you? she asked…I told her..“Yep, I am old enough to be your mom.”

Here’s a  toast to all of the Janets of the world who, while just doing their jobs, they are secure enough to know when it’s OK to speak up, press the pause button,  and not just mindlessly follow the rules for rules sake.



12 thoughts on “Survey Says….

      • We had a lot of it buying the boat, having to prove who we were, where we lived, and producing documentation no more than 3 months old to prove the latter. Bit of a problem when you don’t live in a house and so no longer have utility bills. A permanent address is vital for bank statements, taxes, etc, a c/o is not acceptable. Getting refunds on utility bills is a farce….. we gave up with our elecricity, being entitled to over £8 back, but being kept on hold on a mobile phone ran up a bill of £12, then we couldn’t have the money refunded to our bank, it had to go to our new home address which of course we didn’t have at the time.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I know what you mean – if there were only a Janet working at the phone company!!! I just went through a nightmare trying to get basic phone service at the farm. As we have spotty cell reception there we wanted to have an emergency phone. I talked to 5 people over the course of 1 hour and 45 minutes – it was an endless loop of being punted back and forth with no result in the end. None of the customer service reps could step away from their script to save their lives! and even though I was calling to register a complaint and try and find out why I was left waiting for over 12 hours last Friday for someone to show up (they never did and they never called) despite the fact I called twice that day and was assured I was on the schedule, blah, blah, blah – they all tried to “upsell” me with Direct TV service! M ended up physically driving to one of their offices near his office on Monday demanding someone contact me and make restitution.
    So I salute all of the Janets out there – I just wish there were more…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We still have a landline and the robocalls are relentless, especially around the day of the primary. I had calls from 3 of the 4 top Republican candidates (organizations), 2 recorded calls from Congressmen on behalf of a Republican candidate, and 3 local calls from area political groups. Surprisingly neither Bernie nor Hillary called me – ha! Guess I am giving away which way I lean — 🙂 MJ

    Liked by 1 person

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