Two weeks ago Borderline got a letter from a company called Arbitron. The envelope contained a letter, and a crisp $1 bill.
Wow! People demand money from Borderline all the time -- I'm used to getting dunned for unpaid bills a few times a week! But getting free money, unsolicited? What's going on here?
From what Borderline understands, Arbitron
produces "ratings" for radio programs, which stations and networks use to make programming decisions and adjust advertising rates. For instance, the data that Arbitron gathers help determine how much WBZ can charge Subaru of New frigging England for running 30 second radio spots during our drive-time commute. There is another company, Nielsen, which does the same thing for TV programming.
Anyway, Borderline pocketed the dollar bill and threw away the letter without reading it. Some people actually like to reveal their innermost radio habits
to a bunch of statisticians. But not Borderline. I don't know how they got my name, but I sure didn't volunteer for help-out-the-advertisers duty. I feel no obligation to take part in whatever schemes this company uses to make u- I mean gather statistics upon which multi-million dollar PR decisions are made.
Then the calls started.
Every night at dinner. Early in the morning on weekends. Late at night on weekdays. Borderline never answered. There were hangups, recorded messages, and sometimes, breathing from a real live stats-gathering human. They used legitimate caller ID most of the time, but a few times they didn't. I could still tell it was Arbitron, because of the area 410 code. Later Borderline looked at the caller ID list for these numbers, and they all led back to the same number:
If you Google it, this weird mashup
appears, that seems to be charting telemarketers and the like who are breaking the federal "Do Not Call
" list. Borderline signed up for this "Do not call" registry service several years ago, to stop the flood of unwanted solicitations at dinnertime, but Arbitron apparently feels they are above federal law because they have a "business relationship" (an exception to the Do Not Call rules) with me. Yeah, that's right. Arbitron thinks that by virtue of the $1 bill they sent me, they now own me and my time.
So, yeah, I feel used. It's almost as bad as when Patrick J Hynes and New Media Strategics tried to co-opt this blog
for some corporate lobbying purpose.
Anyway, now Borderline is torn between doing nothing, or answering the phone and giving these jerks and piece of mind, or answering the phone and lying about all the fringe radio programs I listen to on WBRS
, AM talk radio, and the like.
But I'll probably end up doing nothing.
Labels: Shopping, Skunked, TV