October Theme Of The Month: Halloween!

Understanding Of The Technology Is Backwards

| York, England, UK | Extra Stupid, Technology, Theme Of The Month

(It’s a crazy busy day in the library, with queues of around 10 customers per member of staff, and everyone is run off their feet. A lady comes in on a mobility scooter who is known to staff as a bit of a deliberate time waster. She starts shouting for a member of the staff to come and assist her.)

Me: “Can I help you?”

Customer: “Yes. I want something photocopied.”

(Normally photocopying would be self-operated by the user, but I can see why it would be difficult to do from a mobility scooter.)

Me: “Okay, no problem. Let me give you a hand. What do you need copying?”

Customer: “This!”

(She pulls an artist’s pad from her bag, which has a picture of a bird on it.)

Me: “Thanks. Let me get that copied for you.”

Customer: “Hang on. I need to finish the leg. Do you have a fine liner?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry. I can get you a biro though?”

Customer: *grumbling* “I suppose that will do.”

(I hand her the biro and she starts painstakingly drawing in the leg of the bird. I glance over at the desk and see the queue has become even longer.)

Me: “I’ll pop back when you’ve had a chance to finish that.”


Me: “I understand, but if you aren’t ready for me to help you, I can come back later—”

Customer: “Write on this in mirror writing for me.”

Me: “Pardon?”

Customer: “I need you to write on it backwards. Put my name and the date and the title, but backwards.”

Me: “Um, I’m really sorry but I don’t think I can do that. Why does it need to be backwards?”

Customer: “So it will be the right way round when you have photocopied it.”

Me: “That… is not how photocopiers work. It will be fine written normally. I promise.”

Customer: “You are so stupid! It’s the same as when you take a photo… That comes out backwards, too.”

Me: “… I’m pretty sure that doesn’t work like that either.”