Jewish World Review April 5, 2004 / 14 Nissan, 5764

David Grimes

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Consumer Reports

Got those customer survey blues | Customer satisfaction surveys give me the willies, which is why I sympathize with a group of employees at a California utility who arranged for questionnaires to be sent out only to their friends and relatives.

An investigation revealed that 12 employees of Southern California Edison hacked into their company's computerized data system and changed the phone numbers of those to be surveyed from random customers to those of friends and family.

As a result of this prank/ crime/dubious career move, the utility may have to return millions of dollars it received inappropriately based on the slanted customer satisfaction surveys.

My newspaper does customer satisfaction surveys every now and then and I'm always afraid I'll get low marks and be demoted to ink taster or be forced to answer the angry calls when we leave out the crossword puzzle.

If I knew how, I might reprogram our computer to send out questionnaires only to friends and family, but I'm not sure that would help.

My mother, by sheer coincidence, was once asked to evaluate my work, but apparently they caught her on a day when she had forgotten to take her medications.

"David does a terrific job," she responded. "I'd say he manages to hit my driveway with the paper more than 50 percent of the time."

The results of previous customer satisfaction surveys have shown that I am seldom read in Sarasota but have a huge following in Rubonia, which has a population of about 10.

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Some of the other comments sent in to upper management about my work include:

"As writers go, David is an excellent typist."

"The range of David's material runs the gamut from A to B."

"You describe David as a 'humor columnist.' I'm still waiting."

"Twice as absorbent as Dave Barry's column."

"A tree gave up its life for David's column. Now we have to put up with dirtier air AND Grimes."

"The next time you feel compelled to continue David's column on an inside page, don't."

"All things considered, I prefer the Jumble."

"David once said that he writes at home in his underwear. Perhaps he should consider putting on pants."

"I loved that column David wrote about France. Oh, wait. That was Art Buchwald."

"Is this thing supposed to be funny?"

"I could live without the picture."

"Didn't the section David writes for used to be called the Women's Pages?"

"After reading David in the morning, who needs fiber?"

"I lined my birdcage with David's column and my bird died. What do you plan on doing about it?"

"David's column helps me understand why your paper only costs 50 cents." "My paper up north had a humor columnist. You should consider hiring one."

"Does anyone there read this thing before it goes into the paper?"

"You know what my favorite Grimes column is? It's the one that begins: 'David is away on vacation.' "

So you can see why I get the heebie-jeebies every time my paper does a customer satisfaction survey. I don't look forward to being an ink-taster, but a job is a job.

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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