Friday, April 22, 2011

Lesson of Day: Read the directions.

When I received my Juror Summons in the mail last month, after the initial groaning I sat down and read what was basically a large post card. It very clearly stated that the attached questionnaire had to be returned (by mail or complete online). The attached questionnaire had a postage paid envelope. 10 yes/no questions that were things like: are you in the active military, are you 18 or older, can you read? Things you don't really need to think about. I completed mine online. It took less than 2 minutes, start to finish-and that probably included walking over to my "To do" pile, rifling through it for the Summons, turning on my computer, logging in and navigating to the website-it was that quick. It might have even been quicker to check off the boxes, seal it and mail it.
So imagine my surprise when the head of Jurors (I am sure she has a better title than that) looked around the room and announced that there were far too many people present. There were 100 of us present. A full 40% had not followed directions on the Juror summons and filled out and returned the questionnaire. They were dismissed immediately as "unqualified" with no credit for the day, no documentation for employers and a curt-you WILL be back here very soon-you are deferred only until they draw the next lot.
Did they do this on purpose?
If they did it on purpose. Why? They showed up. They didn't request deferrals ahead of time (which you could do). They had to come to the courthouse at an hour that meant they were up before dawn. They had to take off work and not get paid (since they get no credit). They have to come back. Why go through that.
On the other hand, if it wasn't on purpose-how did they miss the directions to finish the questionnaire. I mean, I had to search on the paper for the reporting room number for awhile because THAT was written in small print-while the Directions to return the questionnaire were in a larger, bold font. Not to mention that envelope. Didn't that peak their curiosity?

Maybe it's because I am a rule-follower at heart that I just don't get it.

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