Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Don't trick me

Here's an instance in which I think a company should have done some more market research before implementing a plan. On Friday there was a message on our answering machine at home that said, "This is Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline Company. It is imperative that we talk to you regarding pipeline safety in your neighborhood! Please call 000-000-0000 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday."

We have gas service through Atmos Energy, and I've never heard of Southern Star, but who knows, maybe they're a parent company, or maybe they actually build the pipelines or something. But it just sounded odd, and I couldn't do anything about it until Monday anyway. When Bob got home, I asked him to listen to it and asked him what he thought, and he said it didn't make any sense to him, either, and to just ignore it. He said, "If it blows up, it blows up."

Then when we got home last night, there was another message, the same message. Bob said, well, there was an Atmos truck on the street this morning, maybe there's something going on, we should probably call them back. We had this whole discussion about it, with me saying that when someone needs us to do something, I wish they would just tell us what it is rather than making us jump through hoops, but that I would call the next day.

So I wrote down the number and called them back this morning on my way to work, and the phone was answered, "Southern Star Gas Pipeline, how may I help you?" I told the woman on the phone that, "We keep getting messages about pipeline safety in our neighborhood." She said, "Oh, yes, we contacted you regarding a survey on pipeline safety, would you have time to take the survey now?" I declined, and she said she would take us off the contact list so we wouldn't be bothered again.

I know that I'm odd in various ways, but I, like most people, I assume, dislike being tricked, particularly in a way that makes you concerned or frightened. I have a bad impression of that company now, since that's all I know about them, that they tricked me into calling them by making me fearful for our safety. Obviously, they did it because if they called and said we should call them back to take a survey, we wouldn't, so they try to make us think it's a safety issue.

Bad plan.