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Notice of Visit from the Census Bureau

July 14th, 2010

The other night I noticed some people going door to door. Fortunately, we were out taking the dog for a walk. Turned out, it was our friends from the Census Bureau. They left me this:


Blargh. That means for the next “day or two” while they are trying to re-interview me, I would have to avoid them. And my dog likes barking at strange people knocking on our door. Yesterday, they returned. I just ignored them until they left, and then went outside to tend my garden. Apparently I should’ve waited a little longer, because seeing that I was outside, she returned.

Great.  They didn’t like the fact that I responded to only one question on the census form a few months ago.

Although the Census drone said that she was conducting “follow-up” interviews (not unreasonable, as a means of validating the integrity of data – we do it in market research industry all the time), I’m pretty sure she was there to “complete” (as the form indicates) an incomplete interview.  Supporting this claim, I noticed that she was not stopping at all houses, but the vacant ones (several old residents have passed or relocated leaving vacant houses behind) and the house across the street where the vagrants lived until a week ago.  So, judging by the sample of houses she stopped at, I don’t think she was doing follow-up interviews.  Maybe that’s what they told her. Or maybe that’s what they told her to tell people.  I don’t know.

I politely declined to answer any questions, stating that I had returned the form earlier this year, listing the number of occupants and that was all the information I was comfortable giving them. As a matter of fact, the only reason I returned even that much information is because I thought it would reduce the odds of them sending someone knocking.  I was mistaken.

Fortunately, she was pleasant enough not to press the issue, I get the sense she did not want to have the argument with me, because the first logic bomb I would’ve dropped on her would’ve been something about the atrocities the US government perpetrated against Japanese-Americans during the second world war, largely with information obtained from the Census Bureau.

The fact of the matter is that the government could, if they wanted to, obtain any bit of information that the Census asks for. But it’s easier and cheaper to persuade people to “voluntarily” submit these data. Well, I’m not giving it to them. If they want it, there’s nothing I can do to stop them, really. But I’m not willing to just hand it over.



  • downdurnst says on: July 14, 2010 at 4:34 pm


    I’m in the same boat as you – only now they have threatened me twice with fining me 5k – we’ll see what happens. I’ve been called 6 times, they’ve knocked on our door three times.

    They almost got my wife to cave when they mentioned the 5k to her (I wasn’t home at the time) – it scared her and she asked them what they needed to know. They made the mistake of asking my wife our kids ages and names (we have two little ones) – my wife told them that she would never trust the government to have a database that listed out our children’s names and ages, and that they can fine us all they want.

    Never mess with a momma, be it bear or human.

  • Chris George says on: July 14, 2010 at 4:47 pm


    > The fact of the matter is that the government could, if they wanted to, obtain any bit of information that the Census asks for.

    That’s the irony of it all, isn’t it? How many millions of people have access to all the information on me that’s out there and the government needs to collect little information cards. Between going to a public school, public university, taking standardized tests, paying taxes, getting a driver’s license, getting a multiple jobs, etc, they certainly have plenty of access to the information they need.

  • downdurnst says on: July 15, 2010 at 11:18 am


    @Chris George –

    That was the argument the Census lady first made to me “this info is available from other sources you know” – to which I replied a) then why should I bother helping you, and b) that PROVES that this is a total racket – because if the government already can get this info, why would they threaten to fine me for not giving it to them?

    Do your own damned dirty work, you already have your tentacles into all aspects of my life anyway, why should I help you collate the data?

  • Don says on: July 17, 2010 at 7:38 am


    *because the first logic bomb I would’ve dropped on her would’ve been*

    Why waste time getting all technical with her?
    She is a drone and presumably not worthy of one second of your time.

    Look, all of us are *individual* human beings and while many pretend to be something other than that it is all make-believe silliness.

    As an individual she has no right to acost anyone. Period.
    She doesn’t get to hide behind some made-up cloak of deception and pretend to have valid reasons to acost you. She stands on her own two feet.

    Suppose a person that you KNOW has harmed others approaches you and starts asking you questions you do not want to answer, will you comply?

    You were at a task, attending your garden, and this woman decided she can interupt your effort just because. WTF? You should have said, “Leave.”, and if she didn’t just point your rake at her her and say it again. This passivity towards aggression must stop.

no third solution

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