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Throw The Google Book At Them

| PA, USA | Geography, Technology, Wild & Unruly

(I’m working the Reference Desk at my local library. We often get questions from people asking for local phone numbers, addresses, etc., along with the general library questions. Calls like this one, where an elderly patron can’t find a number in their phone book, are very common.)

Me: “[Library], Information Services. This is [My Name].”

Patron: “Uh, I couldn’t find a local business in the phone book. Do you by chance have it in your Google book?”

(The patron is audible, but is slightly hard to hear because her television is so loud that I can clearly hear everything and identify the game show she is watching.)

Me: “I can definitely see if I can find it online for you. What business are you looking for?”

Patron: “Oh, dear… Uh… It was a local discount store…” *incoherent mumbling while [Game Show] is coming through more clearly than she is* “Oh! It’s [Dollar Store #1]! I want the one on [Boulevard I’m unfamiliar with].”

Me: “Sure thing! Let me check if it’s listed.” *pulls up all the listings for [Dollar Store #1]* “Ma’am, I don’t see one on [Boulevard], and I’m also not too familiar with it. Do any of these locations sound nearby?” *lists the locations*

Patron: *suddenly turns mean* “YOU’RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT! It’s on [Boulevard]! You’re supposed to know it and have it in your Google!” *continues ranting*

Me: *trying to avoid just hanging up on her, I suddenly realize there are two different dollar store chains in the city* “Uh, ma’am? Ma’am? Did you by chance mean [Dollar Store #2]? I just looked it up and there’s one on [Boulevard].”

Patron: *another mood flip* “Oh? Maybe. I forgot there were two of them. I’m sorry… Is it by [Department Store]?” *clearly very embarrassed*

Me: “Yes. That’s coming up on the map. Is this what you needed the phone number for?”

Patron: “Yes, and would you mind speaking up? I can’t hear you over my television. What’s the phone number?”

Me: *can’t really speak up, or else I would be shouting* “The number is…” *starts slowly giving the phone number*

(I end up having to repeat the phone number at least ten times. She keeps making up numbers and thinking that some are doubled up. Eventually:)

Me: “Ma’am? I’m just going to start over and give you the number slowly. That way we know that no one is losing their place. All right?”

Patron: “All right. What is it?”

(I slowly give the number, pausing a second between numbers. Right after the area code and first three digits…)

Patron: “Oh, hold on, honey. Would you mind waiting while I go find a pen and paper? I’m not going to remember this whole thing. That’s why I kept getting mixed up!”

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It’ll Be All Right, All Night

| Boston, MA, USA | Boston, MA, USA | Bizarre, Time

(I am doing a last walk-through at the library, picking up books and reminding patrons that it’s time to leave. I see an older gentleman sitting in an armchair in the corner, reading a newspaper.)

Me: “Sir, the library is closing now.”

Patron: *not looking up from newspaper* “That’s all right.”

(He makes no move to leave.)

Me: “The library is closing NOW.”

Patron: *making a soothing hand-patting motion in the air, but still not looking up* “That’s all right.”

Me: *deciding to try again* “Yes, but the library IS closing now.”

Patron: “Oh, that’s all right.”

Me: *loudly and firmly* “Actually, it’s not all right, because we need to shut off the lights and lock the doors, so we can all go home.”

Patron: “Oh! The library is closing now?”

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Time To Face The Customer

| USA | Bizarre, Crazy Requests

Patron: “Where’s the bathroom?”

Coworker: *points to area behind patron* “Oh, it’s over there on the right.”

Patron: “Thank you.” *leaves*

(Patron comes back a minute later, angry.)

Patron: “I thought you said the bathroom was on the right!?”

Coworker: “It is.”

Patron: “No, it’s not! I was facing you, so that means the bathroom was on my left!”

Coworker: *stunned*

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Forbidden Fruit

| PA, USA | Bizarre, Food & Drink, Popular

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but food isn’t allowed up here. You’ll have to eat it outside.”

Patron: *proceeds to dump a pint container’s-worth of fruit salad in his mouth, all at once*

Me: “…or that”.

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Your Business Model Is Rent Out Of Shape

| SD, USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests, Money, Movies & TV

(I work at a public library at the circulation desk. One day a young man approaches the desk.)

Patron: “How much is it to rent a book?”

Me: “If you have a library card, it is free. If you live outside the county, you pay for the card but borrowing items is always free.”

(The patron then wandered over to the audio books before returning to the desk.)

Patron: “How much to rent books on CD?”

Me: “They are free to borrow, sir.”

(He shakes his head and goes to the DVD section. Again he returns to the desk.)

Patron: “How many DVDs can I take and what does it cost?”

Me: “You may borrow five at a time and there is no cost unless they are returned late.”

(The patron looks confused.)

Patron: “I just don’t get why you do this if there’s no money in it for you. Well, good luck with that!”

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