A Towering Sense Of Entitlement

, , , , , | Right | April 7, 2020

(When the Towers went down in New York, they took with them a television antenna that broadcast all the way into our little slice of heaven in Connecticut. As a result, if you didn’t have cable, you were only able to watch a few local channels and those not very clearly. All the channels that came in out of New York were gone or so snowy as to be useless.

This happened on September 12, 2001, when I was working in a library, to a coworker who was absolutely flummoxed by the patron’s reaction. She’s generally a very sweet person who always tries to find a good reason why a patron is cranky and so is able to continue being kind to some of the meanest patrons by assuming they are just having a bad day. This caller, however, made history by pressing a few buttons too many.

The caller is an elderly woman and my coworker is trying to maintain patience by imagining that it is very hard to be elderly, a shut-in, and not able to access your television.)

Patron: *already in a bad mood* “Why can’t I see [Program only accessed through NY antenna on the towers]? I have been trying all day and there is nothing but snow! What’s wrong? Why can’t I see my shows?”

Coworker: *ever so gently and patiently* “Ma’am, yesterday the World Trade Towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack. The television broadcasting equipment on the towers was destroyed as well. No one is able to get that channel unless they have cable.”

Patron: “Cable is too expensive! When are they going to get this fixed? I need to see my shows!”

Coworker: “Ma’am, I’m the librarian at [Branch]; I have no access to decisions that will have to be made later on. Right now, all I can tell you is that the firemen and police are trying to save people and hope they can find people alive. Then, the Towers would have to be rebuilt—”

Patron: “And when will they rebuild? I need to see my shows!

Coworker: “Ma’am, I understand it is frustrating, but they cannot rebuild the Towers overnight.” *trying to paint a picture and put it in perspective* “There’s nothing there but rubble and dead bodies and—”

Patron: “Well, who can I call to complain?! This is unacceptable! I have a right to watch my shows and I want to see them now.”

Coworker: “Ma’am, do you understand that something like 3,500 people were killed yesterday, vaporized, when those planes hit the building? The buildings are gone, the people who worked in them are gone, the broadcast channels are the least of the authorities’ concerns right now, and—”

Patron: “I don’t care about piddling stuff! My television is not working and no one cares or wants to help me.”

(And that is when my sweet, gentle, and sometimes annoyingly goodhearted coworker gives up and says:)

Coworker: “Well, ma’am, I don’t know their names, but I can think of thousands of people today who would love to have the great big problem you think you have and would gladly trade places with you.”

(And then she hung up.)

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