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    Alohomorons

    | Newport, TN, USA | Extra Stupid, Family & Kids

    (I’m working in the library when a patron of about 11 or 12 years of age walks up. We have the following exchange.)

    Young Patron: “Where do you have the Harry Potter books?”

    Me: “They’re right back here…”

    (I show her to the section where we keep them. She stares at them for a while.)

    Young Patron: “Can I have the Prisoner of Azkaban?”

    (I take it out and place it on a table. She opens it up and leafs through it.)

    Young Patron: “Oh my God! There are so many words! Can I have the one with less pages?!”

    Copy That, Not

    | Pennsylvania, USA | Extra Stupid, Top

    (I am showing a guy how to use the copier.)

    Me: “Lift the lid from the front.”

    Patron: *ignores me and keeps trying the side*

    Me: “The front.”

    Patron: *ignores*

    (I reach over and lift it for him.)

    Me: “That’s the front. Do you want me to make your copy for you?”

    Patron: *ignores me again* “So, I put it like this?” *flops the thing down diagonal on the glass*

    Me: “Which side do you want to copy?”

    Patron: *silence*

    Me: “Which side–”

    Patron: “So, it’s a dime?”

    Me: “Which–”

    Patron: “A dime?”

    Me: “Wait a sec. Which side do you want to copy?”

    (A minute or two later.)

    Me: “Press copy and press start.”

    Patron: *stares at the machine*

    Me: “Copy is the first button on the screen.”

    Patron: *stares*

    Me: “Just press copy.”

    Patron: “Now?”

    Me: “Yes. Okay, now press start. It’s the giant green button.”

    Patron: *stares at the screen*

    Me: “On the right, in the keypad.”

    Patron: *stares*

    Me: “On the right.”

    Patron: *stares*

    Me: “The right. It’s the only green one.”

    Patron: *stares*

    (I reach over and point.)

    Me: “Press this button.”

    Patron: “Now?”

    Some People Aren’t Backward Compatible

    | Ohio, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I work at a public library. Patrons often ask us how to print from the computers.)

    Patron: “I need to pay for my printing.”

    Me: “Okay. When you hit the print button, how much did it say it was going to cost?”

    Patron: “I did not hit the print button.”

    Me: “What computer were you sitting at?”

    Patron: *impatient* “I was not sitting at a computer. I am trying to print from the typewriter!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, I am confused. You were not sitting at a computer, but at the typewriter? And you want to print what you typed?”

    Patron: “This is ridiculous! I cannot believe you won’t help me!” *leaves*

    Not A Shred Of Intelligence

    , | Orange County, NY, USA | School, Top, Wild & Unruly

    (It’s finals week and a student approaches our help desk.)

    Student: “Your copy machine isn’t working. My papers wont come out.”

    Me: “It’s probably jammed. I’ll have my coworker fix that for you.”

    (My coworker follows the student to the copy machines. After a few minutes, the student runs by me in tears. My coworker comes back a few moments later.)

    Me: “What happened?!”

    Coworker: “She used the shredder instead of the copy machine.”

    That’s (Not) One Smart Cookie

    , | Colorado Springs, CO, USA | Technology, Top

    (I work at a university library and we sometimes get calls about our online databases not working. 90% of the time, it’s due to cookies not being enabled.)

    Me: “[Library], this is [name], how can I help you?”

    Patron: “Yeah, hi, I can’t get [database] to work.”

    Me: “All right, do you know if you have cookies enabled?”

    Patron: “I don’t know.”

    Me: “Okay, ma’am, open the internet and click on—”

    (I proceed to walk her through enabling cookies. After each step, I wait for the confirming “okay” from her.)

    Me: “…and that’s it! Does the page work now?”

    Patron: “No.”

    Me: “Did you enable the cookies?”

    Patron: “No, but I did close the internet! It should work when I open it again, right?”

    Me: “No, ma’am. We need to apply a setting.”

    (I proceed to explain the process a second time, this time asking if she completed the step after each one.)

    Me: “Okay, try to open the page again. Does it work?”

    Patron: “No.”

    Me: “Did you allow the cookies?”

    Patron: “No. I closed everything.”

    Me: “Okay, ma’am, please click—”

    Patron: “This is frustrating! It should work if I restart the internet. I need [database] for class. Why won’t it work?”

    Me: “As I’ve already said, you need to enable cookies.”

    (We go through this process a third time.)

    Patron: “I can’t do this. I need to speak to someone else. I don’t want to talk to you anymore!”

    Me: “All right, ma’am, the librarian is right here. I hope she can help. Have a nice day.”

    (I happily give the phone over to my boss, who at this point is giving me the “I will kill you for making me talk to this person” glare.)

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