November Theme Of The Month: Black Friday!

The Color(ful Language) Of Money

| NC, USA | Language & Words, Money

(A patron complaining about the cost of a fax:)

Patron: “Two d*** dollars?!”

Coworker: “Regular dollars will work, too.”

Cracked The Da Vinci Code

| MD, USA | Books & Reading, School

(This happens around the time many teenagers are getting books for their summer reading. Today, a young man and his mother came in looking for Dan Brown’s Inferno. My coworker is the one who helps them. I overhear this.)

Mother: “Oh, yes, my son really needs this book. Not only does he have to read the whole thing, but he also has to write a paper on it, and draw a scene from it. They’re dedicating a lot of time on this.”

(I find this odd considering Dan Brown books are not the usual summer reading requirements, but don’t think nothing further of it until the two leave with the book.)

Me: *to coworker* “Wait, he has to write a paper on the Inferno?”

Coworker: “Yeah.”

Me: “Um… is he sure it’s supposed to be Dan Brown’s Inferno, and not DANTE’S Inferno?”

Coworker: “OH, MY GOD! That makes a lot more sense! I don’t know…”

(Nobody before or since has ever requested Dan Brown’s Inferno for summer reading.)

Declaration Of Independently Sourced

| CT, USA | Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid, History

(I’m upstairs at the reference desk, fielding calls and helping patrons.)

Me: “Hello, this is [Library] Reference. Can I help you?”

Patron: “Where can I find the Declaration of Independence?”

Me: “Like the text?”

Patron: “No, like the real thing.”

Me: “Um, we don’t have the real thing, but we have a few copies of the text if that’s something you’re interested in getting? It’s all the same words, I promise.”

Patron: “But, like, do you have the actual paper?”

Me: “No, we don’t have the actual paper.”

Patron: “Where would I get that?”

Me: “In Washington.”

Patron: “Oh.” *hangs up*

The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 15

| White House, TN, USA | Books & Reading

(I’m working the register at the local library. We have a program where we help aspiring writers get their names out there by printing previews of the first few chapters of their book for local review before they send it to major publishers. One of said aspiring writers is talking with some people about his book, a long and detailed story with a vampire and werewolf as dual protagonists. Comparisons with Twilight have been drawn by several people, and he calmly explains the (myriad) differences, usually ending with a blunt jab about Twilight being “ploddingly written garbage.”)

Writer: “I’ve spent a lot of time building up this world with a bunch of traditional mythos. There aren’t just vampires and werewolves, but many other mythological creatures from all over the world.”

(Another customer comes up and begins speaking to him with a paperback preview of the first few chapters.)

Customer: “Oh, my god, this book is such a Twilight rip-off, and it’s such a bad rip-off, too! And your character is all wrong. He’s supposed to be broody and dark and hate what he is and that he can’t control it. Yours loves being a vampire and drinks blood like a drunk drinks wine!”

Writer: “You know, there are more types of vampires than just the one from Twilight. And quite honestly, Twilight—”

Customer: “Is the best thing ever! Honestly, the reason I’ve never heard of vampires before Twilight is because the old ones are all STUPID!”

(The woman throws the paperback on the ground and stomps off, the writer’s face is deadpan but I can see his eyes glaring a hole into the woman’s head. He looks to the guy he was speaking to and gives an exasperated sigh.)

Writer: “And that’s why I want people to help me get my book published.”

(The customer agrees with him and buys the preview the woman just threw down, he came back a few weeks later to return it, extremely satisfied and waiting on the final product.)

The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 14
The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 13
The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 12

Needs To Get His Fax Straight

| WA, USA | Criminal/Illegal, Technology

(We are a small library without a public fax machine. We have a private business fax machine for office use only. We still get spam faxes because the number is publicly listed.)

Me: “Well, I was going to send the weekly report to accounting but something is coming in on the fax.”

Coworker: “Ooooh, is it another offer for a discount trip to Bermuda?”

Me: “It’s some financial thing. Man, it’s eight pages long. Woah. This is someone’s debt consolidation paperwork.”

Coworker: “What? Is it for someone who works here?”

Me: “No… but they apparently live in town.”

(I attempt to call the customer multiple times as a courtesy, but their voice-mail inbox is full. They show up the next day anyway.)

Customer: “Hi. So, uh you should have some papers for me?”

Me: “Did you have your financial institution use the library’s fax line?”

Customer: “No, it was their idea. They say they do that for a lot of customers.”

Me: “Ok. You need to explain to them that isn’t appropriate. Our fax machine is for library business only. I actually thought your fax was spam at first because we weren’t expecting anything. It could have been shredded. It’s also not very secure. We have volunteers and maintenance staff coming and going all the time and we don’t guard the fax machine because we don’t normally receive sensitive documents. We had to look over these papers just to figure out what they were and there is information on here that we did not need to know about you, like your social security number. We couldn’t reach you to warn you either. If you had contacted us first we could have told you not to use our fax.”

Customer: “Oh… so, like, does that mean I can’t send my paperwork back through you guys?”

Me: “You may not. There is a pay-fax machine at the copy shop across town. Please inform the company not to use our fax again. Any other paperwork that is sent will be shredded.”

(The customer shrugged and left. I’m still not sure I got through to them. At the very least I know never do business with that debt consolidation company!)

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