Wednesday, March 24, 2010
It's been a while since I had a good outrage going. Don't get me wrong, the current political climate of bickering, back-biting, and outright lies and slander has made it difficult to even enjoy the antics of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, but that has me more sad and disillusioned than outraged. But then, two weeks ago, I got a letter in the mail. It was from the Census Bureau. I knew the census was nigh upon us, but it seemed awfully thin to be the census form. I opened it, and took out the letter that said, essentially, that in a week or so I'd receive my census form. Don't throw it away. The current US population is estimated to be somewhere in the vicinity of three-hundred-million people. Even if each letter cost a fraction of a penny to mail, and I'm reasonably sure it cost more than that, that's a shitload of money spent to tell me that something else is coming in the mail. Sure enough the form came in the next week, and I thanked my wonderful government for the warning because I nearly panicked when I saw that envelope in my mailbox. I mean, it was an envelope, in my mailbox! Fortunately, as I was getting ready to douse my mailbox in gasoline and set it ablaze, I remembered that I had, indeed, been warned that this form was coming, and I relaxed. It took all of five minutes to fill out and mail the form, and I went back to my daily life, secure in the knowledge that I had done my civic duty. But then, when I got home from work yesterday I found a surprise. A postcard from the fucking Census Bureau! 'You should have received your census form by now, blah, blah, blah'. Oh for fuck's sake!!! I know the census is important, and I know that people can be less than responsible about such things, but do we really need THREE MASS MAILINGS!? In this time of financial belt tightening, when schools and scientific research are being strangled by the ever-shorter purse strings, do we really need to waste this much time, money, and paper? I'm sure there is a tiny percentage of folks who this might make an impact on, but if someone is not going to fill out their census form, are they likely to read the first letter, or care about the follow-up postcard? Maybe I'm being naive, but it seems that maybe TV and radio ads would have been a better way to spend hundreds of millions to tell the American public that the census forms are not to be used to line bird cages. But what do I know about marketing?
Marius the Perplexed