I’m Going To Have To Gingerly Refuse

, , | Right | January 16, 2019

(I work at the front desk at a public library, but I’ve recently been trained to work on the information desk. Basically, the difference is that staff at the information desk will help you find books, and then you check them out at the front desk. Our library is known to have a lot of entitled patrons who think our jobs are to do everything for them, and they pick on new staff. A middle-aged woman approaches me at the information desk one afternoon.)

Woman: “I want some information on the ginger root!”

Me: “Okay, do you want a cookbook about using ginger in food? Or maybe health benefits of herbs?”

Woman: “Yeah, health and therapeutic uses of ginger!”

(This isn’t the weirdest thing I’ve been asked to look up, so I look in our collection and after a while, I find literally only ONE book that is specifically about therapeutic uses of ginger. While I’m searching, she is clear about being impatient, tapping her nails loudly on the desk and asking what’s taking me so long. The book I found is not at our library, so I offer to order it in for her.)

Woman: *getting angrier and angrier* “No, no, I don’t want a book! I want information!”

Me: *thinking I’ve misunderstood* “I’m sorry, I’m not sure I understand. Do you just want to look up some information on one of our computers?”

Woman: “Yes! I want information about the ginger root!”

Me: *now understanding, and trying to be polite as possible* “Ma’am, you’re more than welcome to log onto one of our computers and look up information about ginger. If you’d like me to sit down with you and help, I can, but otherwise, I need to stay at this desk and help the other patrons. What would you like me to do?”

(The woman stares at me for a few moments and looks like she wants to say something, but she ends up saying, “Well, never mind!” and making a huge fuss about putting on her coat, grabbing her purse, and marching out of the library. My coworker on the desk has witnessed the whole thing.)

Coworker: “Did she actually just ask if you could spoon-feed her information off the Internet?”

(Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time she had come in and pulled a similar stunt. Staff know her by face and name now, and know not to just give in and do everything for her.)

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