Tuesday, March 09, 2010


The Censusman Cometh

It’s 2010.

Notice that the year number ends in a zero. That means it’s time for the decennial United States Census, and that’s cool for a couple of reasons. One is that we get to use the very cool word “decennial”, and the other is that we get to be counted. And if more of us live here, and fewer of you live there, well, we get more money, more representatives in Congress, more teachers, more hospitals, more firefighters, more... well, we get more. You see.

Imagine, then, how excited I was yesterday, when I found in the day’s post an envelope from the U.S. Census Bureau! Breathlessly, I tore it open, pen in hand, ready to do my civic duty.

Imagine, then, how disappointed I was yesterday, when I found in the envelope not a census form to complete, but a letter, just three paragraphs long, bidding me keep my anticipation hot for just a little while longer, just another week:

Dear Resident:

About one week from now, you will receive a 2010 Census form in the mail. When you receive your form, please fill it out and mail it promptly.

Your response is important. Results from the 2010 Census will be used to help each community get its fair share of government funds for highways, schools, health facilities, and many other programs you and your neighbors need. Without a complete, accurate census, your community may not receive its fair share.

Thank you in advance for your help.


Robert M. Groves
Director, U.S. Census Bureau

The letter was even dated “March 8, 2010”, the very day that it was received. Quite a coordinated mailing, yes?

Quite an amazing, coordinated, monstrous waste of money!

Here: let’s send everyone a letter, telling them to expect a letter next week. OK, well: anyone who would ignore the census form will ignore this letter too, don’t you think? Can you imagine someone opening this and saying, “Damn, it’s a good job they sent this! Otherwise, I’d have completely missed the form when it finally arrived, but now, now I’ll be a-watchin’ for it, you bet!”?

No, I can’t imagine that either.

The U.S. Census Bureau has been doing a lot of advertising, promoting the 2010 Census (I guess I’d better capitalize it too), and I think that’s been a good use of their money.

This is not; this is just stupid.

1 comment:

A'Llyn said...

I had the same thought.

So I decided I could live with it by assuming it was a means of supporting the post office. Yay, post office!