Do you find yourself shouting at the telly or radio when the results of the latest opinion poll are revealed? NAH and I do - it's usually something along the lines of who on earth do they use in these polls? or that's nothing like me!
Well, on Friday evening the phone rang. As usual, I answered it suspiciously and steeled myself to hear some sort of salesman on the line, probably phoning from India. Instead I got a rather polite American woman.
Polite woman: Good evening ma'am, I'm from Ipsos MORI and I'm working on the latest opinion poll, would you mind sparing about 10 minutes of your time to give me the benefit of your thoughts?
Me (still suspicious - it could be one of those telephone scams you hear about, but taken by surprise as well): Errrrr yes, that's fine.
MORI: Firstly I need to ask you some preliminary questions, so I don't ask you irrelevant ones later. Tell me, are you pregnant?
Me (wishing for once I had a video phone): No
MORI: Would you say you're in good health, with no ongoing medical problems?
Me (aha she is trying to sell me something!): Yes
MORI: OK, The first part of the survey's about swine 'flu. Have you heard anything about swine 'flu in the last week?
Me: Well, someone I know has got it, I read it on their blog
MORI (obviously wondering what on earth a blog is): Their blog?
Me: Yes their web diary. They've been ill for quite a while. Oh, and my husband had a 'flu jab this week and we were wondering if it was a swine 'flu one
MORI (trying to place me in the correct pigeonholes): ...so that's the... Internet and... Word of Mouth as your sources. Now, how well do you think the goverment are prepared for a swine 'flu pandemic?
Me (laughing): I've absolutely no idea - I don't know anyone involved with the preparations.
MORI: That's a Don't Know then. Can you tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements. The swine 'flu pandemic has been hyped up by the media...
And so it went on, me answering the questions and she putting them into some sort of category. Because I could only answer yes or no, or strongly/tend to agree/disagree, the conversation felt a little unreal. Even when I was invited to expand on something, she was still putting my answers into whichever tick box seemed the most appropriate. Square pegs into round holes sprang to mind.
I also had lots of questions on the financial crisis - 2 absolutely massive topics covered in just one phonecall. So sometime soon when you're shouting at the newsreader telling you x percentage believe the financial crisis was partly caused by people borrowing too much, do remember it's me who said that.