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    Books On Surveillance Tape

    | Allentown, PA, USA |

    Me: “**** Library, how can I help you?”

    Caller: “Yes, I have some books that are due tomorrow, but I need to keep them longer.”

    Me: “Okay, ma’am. I’ll need your name so I can renew the books.”

    Caller: *scandalized* “You need my what?”

    Me: “Your name, ma’am. So I can call up your account on my computer.”

    Caller: “You have my account?! How did you get that? Do you have my Social Security number?”

    Me: “No, ma’am. I mean your library account. When you came in to get your library card, you filled out a form with your name, address, phone number, and email, so that we can contact you if you ever have overdue books. We don’t have your social security number.”

    Caller: “Well, I’m not giving out my name to a complete stranger over the phone!”

    Me: “Okay, ma’am. Perhaps you could give me the titles of the books?”

    Caller: “Why do you need to know what I’m reading?! The books are due tomorrow! Just renew them!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but there’s no way I can look up books by the due date. Without your name or the titles of the books, I can’t help you.”

    Caller: “You’re trying to steal my identity! I’m calling the cops.”

    Me: *giving up* “You do that, ma’am.” *hangs up*

    Co-worker: “You should have told her we put cameras in the books.”

    High Altitude Expectations

    | Michigan, USA |

    (I overhead my coworker have this exchange while helping a patron.)

    Coworker: “What can I help you find?”

    Patron: “I need pictures from when they used to tie small cameras to birds to take aerial photos.”

    Coworker: “Well, I don’t think that we would have any books for that – let me look online.”

    Patron: “I kinda need this right away; my class starts in ten minutes.”

    Coworker: “I’m looking as fast as I can.”

    Patron: “Well, f***ing look faster! I am going to fail this class now, and it’s all because of you!”

    Coworker: “I found your photos. I’ll send them to the printer right now; it will be 50 cents for the print.”

    Patron: “What the f***? You expect me to PAY for the prints?”

    Coworker: “Yes, yes I do.”

    (The patron hands over the money while swearing under his breath.)

    Coworker: “Enjoy.”

    (She hands him the papers and he runs out, but not thirty seconds later he runs back in.)

    Patron: “I need pictures of the f***ing birds, not the pictures that they took!”

    Coworker: *as she turns off her computer* “Well, it looks like our system is down. You’ll have to come back at a later time.”

    Patron: *storms out*

    One Last Parting Shot, Part 3

    | Estonia |

    (An couple of US tourists come into our library and use the public computers for the Internet. When they start leaving, they come to me again and give me 2 Estonian Crowns.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t take this.”

    Customer: “What do you mean you can’t take this?! I got it from the bank just down the street. I know it’s not fake. And it says in the rules that it costs 2.”

    Me: “No, I mean–”

    (He cuts me off and starts ranting on how he never wanted to come to Europe anyway and how everything is better in the States. His wife and I manage to calm him down after a few minutes of loud ranting.)

    Me:“Sir, I can’t take your money because just using the computer is free. Only printing costs 2 Crowns.”

    Customer: “Oh. I thought… I mean, I always have to pay in… well… America is still better than Europe!” *hurries out with his wife*

    Related:
    One Last Parting Shot, Part 2
    One Last Parting Shot

    Customer Service, God Speaking

    | El Paso, TX, USA |

    (I’m working at the library; it’s cloudy and raining outside.)

    Patron: “Can you do something about all that noise?”

    Me: “Is the AC too loud? Maintenance isn’t here today, but I can give you some ear plugs.”

    Patron: “NOT THAT! ¬†The construction! ¬†Tell them I’m trying to work!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but there’s no construction.”

    Patron: “That rumbling!”

    Me: “You mean the thunder?”

    Patron: “Whatever. Tell them to stop.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but I really have no control over nature.”

    Patron: “Ugh, you people! You can’t do ANYTHING!”

    (Sadly, this man is a doctor.)

    What Goes Around Comes Around

    | New Jersey, USA |

    Me: “Reference Desk, how may I help you?”

    Caller: “I have been waiting for a book for months, and it’s overdue.”

    Me: “Okay, I can put it on hold for you and that will trigger our system to call the person who has it out.”

    Caller: “I can’t believe that you let people do this.¬†It’s so rude! Don’t people understand that maybe someone else might be waiting to read that book?”

    Me: “Ma’am, I understand. Could you please tell me your name and the title of the book?”

    Caller: *tells me her name and the book title*

    (I type in her name, click “Place Hold” and enter the title. An error message pops up: “Cannot place hold. This title is already checked out to this patron.”)

    Me: “Ma’am… there seems to be a problem.¬†I can’t place the book on hold for you because you are the one who has it checked out.”

    Caller: “What? WHAT?! That is impossible! How could that be? I never checked that book out!”

    Me: “Well, it’s out on your card, and it’s quite overdue. I’m going to have to ask you to return it, because there are people waiting to read it.”

    Related:
    An Expensive Temper Tantrum, Part 2

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