Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Census Report: One Day + One Helluva Time

While all indications were pointing to this being a wrap with the U.S. Census Bureau—capping a wildly rewarding and adventurous four months—it appears I'm pushing onward for another couple weeks. I'm still involved in the clean-up operation, revisiting residences where first count attempts faltered.

Today, fellow Crew Leader T from the previous Group Quarters operation and I worked to tidy up households in Brooklyn Heights that mouthed off and refused entry.

Address 1) The original enumerator alleged that a "huge unleashed dog" left her in peril, so she ran for her life. The reality: The address simply doesn't exist! It's listed as 48 Main Street (fictitious to maintain confidentiality). We located 46 and 50 and there simply ain't nothing in between. So why didn't she just say so?

Address 2) Gotta love this. We hit the buzzer of the apartment that previously refused entry. "Yes?" says a female voice. "I'm here to collect information for the U.S. Census. We've attempted to contact you several times and need about 5 minutes..." Her response: "There's no one home." Hahahahaha! So T and I waited until someone came out of the locked entrance, went up to the apartment, knocked on the door—surprise, no answer!—and left a delightfully threatening letter from the feds, demanding cooperation at risk of a $5,000 fine (click on document).

Address 3) The fairly typical story of the dumbass doorman wielding his mighty power... As federal reps, we are actually allowed to walk the halls of any apartment building. For purposes of the Census, they're considered public space, as long as we don't enter anybody's home (a safety violation, in any case). This dude wasn't hearing it—despite the fact that some random guy walked in behind us and said, "Here to see John Q. Public," and he was waved toward the elevator. This is going to require a second visit, where this time, I am visiting Mr. Public. One way or another, I'm going to knock on Apartment 8J.

Come on people! Just let us do the job. Promise: No one cares that you're housing 50 lizards, your daughter's boyfriend's family of Guatemalan refugees or growing medicinal vegetation. Some folks are so damn touchy.