A Customer For The Archives

, , , | Right | December 10, 2018

(I work in a museum in the UK.)

Caller: “Hello. I’m conducting some family history research and I need information about [Person] buried in [Village].”

Me: “Unfortunately, our archivist is out of the office at the moment.”

Caller: “Well, that’s typical! These people get paid so much that they’re always on holiday!”

Me: “She’s actually meeting with a local history group, but she’ll be back shortly, so I’ll take a few details and ask her to call you when she returns.”

Caller: “Why can’t you get me the information? All you do all day is sit in an office answering the phone. You should get out more.”

Me: “The archivist is really the best person for this enquiry. I’ll just take some details.”

(The caller goes on for a bit about the information he wants, and I take notes. Then, suddenly, this happens:)

Caller: “I used to be an engineer, you know. I travelled the world. You people have no ambition or life experience. You think the world is the Internet. That’s all you know.”

Me: *ignoring his outburst* “So, I’ll pass on the information you’ve given me to our archivist.”

Caller: “You people don’t know what the real world is. You just sit in front of the Internet while our NHS gets exploited by foreigners. You need to do something with your life. I bet you’ve never even been abroad. Get some experience. Then you’ll realise why intelligent people like me voted for Brexit!”

(Despite having British parents and an “English” accent, I grew up “abroad.” However, given his views on “foreigners,” I decide not to mention this.)

Caller: “Nowhere else has a nationalised health service. You didn’t know that! We’re the only country that does. Everywhere else they have to have insurance and pay a fortune. That’s why they all want to come here.”

Me: *forcing myself not to correct him* “I think I’ve got everything I need to process your enquiry, so unless there’s any more family history information you’d like, you can leave this with me.”

Caller: “My family is related to [Famous Company]. You wouldn’t have heard of them, because if it’s not on the Internet, you don’t know about it.”

Me: “Right…”

Caller: “You should really educate yourself more. Do something with your life.”

Me: “Okay, well, right now, I’m going to take your enquiry to our archives department. Good day.”

(I hang up the phone, rest my head on the desk, and scream. The archivist pops her head round the door.)

Archivist: “I’m back! Oh, my… What happened while I was out?”

Me: “This guy would like you to call him back. Have fun!”

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