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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ring! Cell phone spam from Super Carole

A reader writes:

I have a 1st grader in Portland Public School, so they have my cell number to contact me in an emergency (as we don't have a land line any more). Since the November "School Bond" robo-call I have gotten a couple of "reminder" calls about late starts, etc. Not crucial, but I don't resent them and I recognize their relevance to my son.

Yesterday, the latest robo-call was to inform me/everyone about "3 exciting and informative upcoming workshops". These were: 1. the changes at Jefferson, 2. "The teenage brain" at King and 3. "Guiding good choices" at Ockley Green for 4 to 8th graders.

First, those aren't my son's schools, and my wife and I, as parents of a 7-year old, aren't their target. Furthermore, I absolutely don't want a phone call about every idea that came into someone's head at all of the organizations we are associated with. Sorry PPS, it's not about you -- it's about our desire to not be interrupted constantly.

I feel like giving up my phone number was for legitimate attendance issues and emergency contact only, specific to my son or about his school or some other district-wide emergency. Definitely time-sensitive information. PPS seems to think of this as just a pipeline for sending mundane marketing and other non-crucial stuff.

This morning I called and left a message for Communications Director Robb Cowie to explain/defend their policy and their criteria for putting out such messages.

It's my feeling that all marketing messages should be opt-in only, otherwise it is unwelcome SPAM. I don't think I should have had to ask them to not abuse the system -- they are adults and should recognize that its importance should be respected and not abused. It's like blasting the Civil Defense sirens to celebrate someone's birthday. Eventually enough people stop listening and there goes the point of the whole thing.

There are too many p.r. people in government in Oregon. Waaaayyy too many.

Comments (12)

Sure they can spam you all day with unwanted marketing calls but will they actually call you if and when there is a true emergency involving your child?

Back East, we have a procedure to handle situations like this.

I got the same call. I was furious that the call had absolutely nothing to do with the little Winos or myself. I wonder how many parents have taken steps to opt out of these "Flash" alerts ...

I think you missed the fact that Government P.R people ride bikes...

As a former sales rep, sounds very much like spin selling to me. Find ways to push "added value" just before asking the customer to commit. (Vote, in this case).

Just wait 'til there's a bond measure on the ballot....

...but will they actually call you if and when there is a true emergency involving your child?

Like Kyron Harmon?

And then you have the opposite end of the spectrum, like the people running the school buses in Sandy.

When my son's bus was 25 minutes late to pick him up the other morning because it broke down, I asked the lady at the bus barn why they couldn't let us know. It was, after all, about 38 degrees and pitch black outside at 6:40 in the a.m. and not exactly conducive to kids standing outside for that long, some of them alone.

She told me she couldn't possibly call "all" those people (15 at the most), and was completely unaware of our school's flash alert system. Even though they'd used it the week before to alert of the detour the Lolo Pass Rd bus had to take due to the damage from the Sandy River.

I'm sure our legislature's Rod Monroe or Mitch Greenlick, or others will soon write a bill to limit government PR. They should do it just to help balance Kitzhaber's budget.

Speaking of our state budget. Kitz's proposed budget is still over a 5% increase from the last biennium. His PR staff is calling it a "decrease" because they have came up with a new method of comparing budgets. It's now based on "maintaining the same level of service budget". Forget the dollar amount. Forget that PERS, Health, other benefits are all going up.

Please don't let our public officials get away with this methodology.

Wait 'til those two school bonds get close. You'll see an outpouring of how Carole is doing specifically for you - 24/7.

The robocalls are apparently beyond human intervention. Our daughter had an opportunity to travel abroad that resulted in her missing several days of school. We contacted the principal and her teachers to let them know of the planned absences ahead of time. And every day, like clockwork, we got a robocall telling us that she was absent.

Honestly, these people are their own worst enemies.

Ummm........doesn't it cost to use the robocall system? Maybe if they used it less, they could lower the bond measure request to only $499.98 per household.

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