I like to complete surveys. I feel it's my duty to be opinionated about products because I tend to go against the mainstream. Every once in a while I even get a prize for my patience in answering them. My last prize was a DVD collection of Abbott and Costello movies. These have been more fun for my entire family than the CD of Cher's greatest hits.
Filling out surveys is not for everyone. Many times I end up running screaming from my computer at the inane questions. And I even understand the necessity of the repetitive questioning. Most surveys ask the same question using various wording to ascertain whether the person is reading the questions or just randomly filling in bubbles. But it does grate on the nerves after a while.
In every survey, there is always a section that vexes and perplexes me. It's when they start asking personal questions for classification purposes. Sometimes these amuse me. They try very hard not to insult anyone, which results in unintentionally funny wording. Take the oft-asked employment status. I don't like checking off unemployed. It is an insult to call any homeschooling parent unemployed. Lately, I've found that leaves me with a choice between the recently added "homemaker" (well yes, I do that) and "not employed outside the home" (also fitting, but is this really accurate?). It would be easier if they simply asked, "Are you a) working for pay, b) a stay at home parent, c) a student, or d) unemployed and childless?
Even asking for my age can be amusing. Some are very straightforward. They simply ask you to state your age. But look at this example:
Which range best reflects your age? (Select one)
o under 18
o over 66
Now, how do I reflect my age? Chronologically, I might fall in the 35-39 category, but is that a true reflection of how I feel on a day to day basis? I'd say I reflect more of a 25-29 range, but I haven't had a good night's sleep all week, so that might push me into the 0ver 66 range. My yoga instructor says the yogis measure age by the flexibility of your back. My back normally reflects the 21-24 range. And what logic created the age span? Why do most of these range 5 years and then they suddenly jump from 55-65? What if I reflect 55-59 but not 60-65?
Finally, there is that annoying heritage question. I am half Hispanic. If I answer Hispanic in any way, I usually set myself up for a flurry of questions about my English fluency. English is my first language, the only one I speak with any degree of fluency, but I'm proud of my Spanish heritage and I feel like I'm lying if I simply opt for the White/Caucasian choice. If I answered Native American or Asian, I doubt I would generate the same degree of interest in my language abilities. I spent my entire childhood eating Spanish food and surrounded by Spanish relatives who only spoke to me in Spanish. I don't know why I can't speak Spanish well. But I've paid my dues and I'm going to click on the Hispanic button even if it completely throws off the sampling.