Praying For Them To Hang Up

, , , , | Right | July 1, 2017

(I work a desk at a public library. I’ve seen my fair share of strange in my career, but this interaction is one of the weirdest I’ve had at my current job.)

Me: *answers phone, gives standard greeting* “How can I help you today?”

Caller: “I don’t have Internet at home and I need you to tell me the weather for the next two days. Is it going to snow?”

Me: “All right, just give me a moment to pull up a weather report. Are you in [Town where library is located]?”

Caller: “No, I’m in [Neighboring Town].”

Me: “Okay, I’ll pull up the weather report for [Neighboring Town].”

(While I get on a popular weather website, the caller starts telling me how she needs the weather to be good for the next few days because she’s got friends coming to visit and she hasn’t seen them in forever.)

Me: “Okay, the weather for the next two days shows 1-3 inches of snow tomorrow and freezing rain the following day.”

Caller: “No, that can’t be true! What site are you using?” *I tell her the site name* “Well, [Other Popular Weather Site] must have a different report. Can you check them?”

(I proceed to do so, and give her the weather as stated in their site. It’s even worse than the first site.)

Caller: “Are you absolutely certain? My friends can’t come in if it snows! And I haven’t seen them in so long! I’m homebound and in a wheelchair and if it snows, I just don’t know what I’ll do!”

Me: “Well, I’m sorry, ma’am, but that’s what the weather is for the next two days.”

(I start to ask her if there’s anything else I can do for her, but she cuts me off.)

Caller: “But what will I do? What will I do? I never get out, I never see anyone, and my friends were going to help me pray for my niece! If they can’t come and pray for her, she might die!”

(At this point, it’s clear that this is someone who calls the library to talk to whoever picks up the phone. These people are usually lonely and the library is an outlet for them. I feel bad for her, but I now have one person standing in front of me waiting for help and I need to assist them.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m not really sure. I’m sorry the weather is interfering with your plans. Now, is there something else I can—”

Caller: *her voice is now quavering, like she might cry* “But what DO I DO?” *silence, mostly because I have no idea what to tell her* “Oh, I know! You can pray for her!”

Me: *who is an atheist and very private about my personal views* “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but if there isn’t anything else I can help you with that’s library related—”

Caller: “NO! You have to tell me you’ll pray for her!”

Me: *has to pull the phone away from my ear because she’s yelling into the phone, and the customer waiting at the desk shoots me a look because he can hear her* “Ma’am, I’m going to have to end this call, as I have someone else waiting for help. Have a good day!

Caller: *who is screeching at this point* “You’re a horrible person! You need to learn a little sympathy! People like you will burn in Hell! *click*

Customer: *who had patiently waiting* “Did that woman just hang up on you?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Customer: “What was her problem?”

Me: “It’s going to snow tomorrow and I’m apparently a horrible person.”

Customer: *who starts to laugh* “Well, the first is true but from what I saw, you handled her very well. Do you get calls like that often?”

Me: “With screaming? Not really. But with unusual requests? All the time.”

Customer: “Is that your best one that’s happened?”

Me: “Oh, no. My favorite was when someone called asking for the phone numbers of the first ten presidents.”

Brand New Vintage!

, , , , , | Right | June 26, 2017

(We sell a mixture of vintage and new items, including furniture. Everything vintage or antique is marked on the tag as such.)

Customer: “Hi, this antique mirror. How old is it?”

Me: “Oh, that’s not an antique. It’s made by a company upstate.”

Customer: “Not, it’s antique. See? On the tag it says ‘Nouveau.’”

Me: “Nouveau is a style. It was definitely most popular in the ‘20s here in the US, but this mirror is a modern replica in that style. If it was vintage it would say so on the tag.”

Customer: “It IS vintage. It says right here, ‘Nouveau’!”

Me: “If it was vintage, it would say ‘vintage.’ Like this tag here, see?”

Customer: “You don’t understand.”

Me: “Well, it is a very nice mirror either way. Are you looking for a mirror?”

Customer: “It’s VINTAGE. Just LOOK at it. I know more about this than you. I’ve been buying antiques for decades.”

Me: “If you say so. If you really like it you should purchase it; it’s a really stunning piece. ”

Customer: “Is this the only mirror you have? It’s a little big for me.”

Me: “No, but since we have those mirrors custom made for us by a company upstate we can request them in any size.”

Customer: “Never mind. I’ll keep looking.”

(She left.)

Trying To Corral The Answer Out Of Them

, , , | Right | June 19, 2017

(I am working the reference desk when I get a phone call from a patron.)

Patron: ” Hi, sorry about all the noise. We are watching a tv show. I wanted to put a book on hold so I can come pick it up tomorrow.”

Me: “Okay, What book are you looking for?”

Patron: “Oh, I don’t know the name… I put it on hold at [Other Branch] but I never got around to picking it up, and they said that you have a copy on your shelf, so I need you to pull it and hold it for me.”

Me: “Do you know what the book is about?”

(Reference librarians have fantastic deduction skills. We can normally figure out what you are looking for if you give us some clues…)

Patron: “Oh, um… it’s about Wyatt Earp’s wife. It’s for my book club.”

Me: “Are you looking for a biography about Josephine Earp, or a fictional story about her?”

Patron: “That’s not her name!”

(Uh… yes, it is.)

Me: “Okay, are you by chance looking for ‘Lady at the OK Corral’?” *biography about Josephine Earp*

Patron: “No. That’s not it. Can’t you look it up in my account? I had it on hold but I never picked it up.”

Me: “No, our system doesn’t keep expired hold requests; it’s a privacy issue.”

Patron: “Well, how am I supposed to know what book I want?! I have the name of the book in an email, but my Internet isn’t working, because [Cable Provider] is the worst company ever and they always turn off my Internet when I need it the most…”

(This goes on for about two minutes, with her complaining non-stop about how her Internet is out and how I am not being helpful. While she is complaining, I search our entire system, but ‘Lady at the OK Corral’ is the only book about Josephine Earp that is not at the main branch in the reference collection… I am at a loss of what to do next when…)

Patron: “…oh! The Internet is on! I’m pulling up my email. Do you have a pen? The name of the book is ‘The Lady at the OK Corral.’ Do you have that?”

Me: “Yup… I will put that on hold for you. You have until tomorrow close to pick it up.”

So THAT’S Why Mona Lisa Was Smiling

, , , , , | Learning | June 19, 2017

(Our teacher gives us twenty minutes at the end of a lesson on Friday to ask the most random questions and then debate one of them. We write them down and put them into a tombola for her to pick out of. The last few weeks every topic has been asking whether a prominent historical figure was gay, so this week she has pleading and praying that there isn’t another one.)

Teacher: *picking a topic* “Oh, for pity’s sake!”

(She turns around and writes the question on the whiteboard.)

Question: “Was Leonardo da Vinci gay?”

(She sat down and took some ibuprofen before letting us debate. Unbeknownst to her, we have all been putting those questions in the hat this month!)

But The Chocolate Bars Would Have Been Bigger

, , , , | Working | June 16, 2017

(I am paying for fuel and snacks. A lot of credit/debit card machines allow you to tap to pay, but some still require the pin. I’m not certain what the limit is for tap and pay on my card so I usually try it and see if it asks for a pin.)

Me: “Can I tap it or do I need to put in the pin?”

Cashier: “No, it’s chip and pin. We haven’t got the new machines yet. Old school.”

Me: *jokingly, as I put in my pin* “What is this, the 20th century?”

Cashier: “Yeah, it’s like being in the ‘80s, haha.”

Me: *looks around at the pristine shop filled with well lit displays of convenience foods, the coffee machine, and the ATM in the corner* “Clearly you don’t remember the ‘80s.”

Cashier: *handing me my receipt* “Well, I wasn’t born then. Why, what would this have been like in the 80s?”

Me: “You would have been in a little shack with maybe a few chocolate bars and a toilet if you were lucky.”

Cashier: *looks genuinely shocked*

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