Hiring Them Would Be Questionable  

, , , | Right | August 7, 2019

(Because of employee illness, my little library branch is short-staffed on the same day as a big children’s event. While one employee keeps an eye on the event, the other employee and I are assisting patrons. We’re taking turns answering the phone. It’s my turn to answer and I have the following conversation.)

Me: “[Library], how may I help you?”

Patron: “Is this [Library]?”

Me: “Yes, this is [Library]. How may I help you?”

Patron: “Is this [Library]?”

Me: “Yes, it is.”

Patron: “I wondered if you can answer a question?”

Me: “I can try.”

Patron: “Your library used to have a class to help people who want to learn how to work computers.”

Me: “We still do. Every Monday night at seven pm.”

Patron: “Really? Why haven’t I heard about it?”

Me: “I don’t know. We advertise it on our home page, in the newspaper, and on the bulletin boards.”

Patron: “I don’t know how to look at any of that. I think I won a prize at some company and I need to learn how to use the computer so I can claim my prize.”

(At this point, I figure she is being scammed but I have tried to intervene on this kind of thing before and nine times out of ten, the patron tells me I just don’t want them to get the prize, free trip, or whatever.)

Me: “Well, our computer teacher can certainly help you. She teaches the class on Monday nights. At seven pm.”

Patron: “Tonight’s Monday night.”

Me: “Yes, it is. But they are halfway through the class now.”

Patron: “Well, I can still come and she’ll help me.”

Me: *feeling disloyal to the computer teacher* “Yes, she can probably help you get into the site you’re looking for.”

Patron: “Or you can, or someone else there.”

Me: “Yes, that’s true.”

Patron: “So, I’ll be there in a minute. Can I ask you another question?”

Me: *thinking that the class is almost over* “Yes, but the class is almost—”

Patron: “So, does the room have its own computers? Because I don’t have a computer.”

Me: “We have computers.”

Patron: “And can I ask you another question?”

Me: “Sure.”

Patron: “What’s the weather like now? Is it raining out?”

Me: “I don’t think so, but it looks cold.”

Patron: “Because I don’t walk well. It’s hard to walk, but I don’t want to waste gas driving my car.”

Me: “Well, you will have to make your own mind up about that. The class is almost over, so you need to decide and we will either see you tonight or next week.”

Patron: “And can I ask another question?”

Me: *beginning to grind my teeth* “Absolutely.”

Patron: “I want to work at your library. Do you have an opening for me at your library?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but there is a hiring freeze on.”

Patron: “Because my friend [Friend] works there and he got a job. How did he get a job there?”

Me: “There wasn’t a hiring freeze when he was hired. He only works part-time.”

Patron: “On a computer?”

Me: “No, not on a computer. He puts books away for us.”

Patron: “How did he get the job?”

(The truth is, he got the job through a special program that I suspect this lady is probably in, as well. He’s a great guy and his work is spot on, but there are days when his particular emotional disorder sends the lot of us right up the wall as he asks questions the same way this lady does.)

Me: “He volunteered with us for a long time, and then my boss hired him when a position opened up.”

Patron: “So, you’ll hire me, too.”

Me: “I have no say in the matter.”

Patron: “Well, I applied at [Main Library] and they told me there was a hiring freeze but they would put my application on hold. So, I thought I’d call you. Is it raining?”

Me: “No, it’s not from where I can see. Is it raining where you are?”

Patron: “No, but I don’t want to walk because it hurts to walk, but I don’t want to waste gas to drive the half block to get there.”

Me: “And if you put an application in downtown, then you don’t need to apply with us because we’re connected.”

Patron: “Well, maybe I will see you later.”

(I say goodbye and finally hang up. I learn from my staff that she DID show up. She marched into the yoga class we had going on and started screaming:)

Patron: “Hey, I want the computer class so I can learn how to get online, but this here looks really interesting. How can I join this class? I need computers, but I want to do this, too. What time do you start? Can I take this and the computer class at the same time?”

(The computer teacher found her and guided her into the computer class. I feel for the lady and understand she has issues, but no, I don’t think I can hire her to run my computers and put away books if she can’t — as she claims — read, operate computers, or walk.)

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