Maybe He Should Google That

| Charlotte, NC, USA | Right | March 31, 2017

(A harried-looking patron gets up from one of the public-use Internet computers, and approaches the reference desk at the public library where I work.)

Patron: “I want to use Internet Explorer, but GOOGLE keeps popping up!”

Me: “Okay! I’ll come take a look!”

(We get to the computer he’s using, and… IE is up and running.)

Patron: *points to the screen dramatically* “SEE? I TRIED TO USE INTERNET EXPLORER, BUT GOOGLE IS THERE NOW!”

Me: “Uh, you are actually using Internet Explorer already, sir. See that icon on the taskbar, how it’s got a different colored box around it?”


Me: “Okay… Internet Explorer? That’s what you’re using to access the Internet. That’s a web browser. Google is a search engine — you can access Google through Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome—”

(The patron starts to draw a breath, but since I already know what he’s going to say, I cut him off.)

Me: “Sir, please type in ‘gmail-dot-com’. And you see, Gmail—”


Me: “Sir, Gmail is owned by Google. But you can see right there that it’s asking for you username and password. That’s where you’ll sign in.”


Me: “You— look, you’re using Internet Explorer. I promise. Okay? I promise.”

(The patron has no trouble signing in…and therefore has nothing else to say to me, though he still seems pretty tightly wound about using Google. The horror! But honestly…what does he think the ‘G’ in ‘Gmail’ stands for?)

Lima Explain Some Geography To You

| USA | Working | March 28, 2017

(Every month the employees at my workplace have a lunch social, and it’s planned by a different group of employees every month, selected randomly from each department so it’s not an entire department in charge every time. This month my group decides on a nacho/taco bar, and we start making assignments for food, decorations, utensils, and the like.)

Coworker #1: “We should have some Hispanic music playing during lunch. Get the fiesta feeling going.”

Me: “Ooh, I love making mix CDs! I can burn one full of Latin songs.”

Coworker #1: “Nah, let’s assign it to [Coworker #2]. He’s Mexican! [Coworker], you probably know a LOT of Mexican songs, don’t you?”

Coworker #2: *baffled look* “But… I’m not Mexican. I’m Peruvian.”

Coworker #1: “Isn’t that basically the same thing?”

Me: *facepalms along with several other workers, including one of the supervisors*

Maybe That Dog Chose To Die…

| UK | Related | March 24, 2017

Patron: “Do you have any books that can help me tell my son that my dog died?”

Me: “Of course.” *shows her the section and leaves her to look*

Patron: *coming back to me* “All those books are for children.”

Me: “Yes. They’re for helping parents explain death to children.”

Patron: “My son is a little too old for them.”

Me: “Oh. How old is he?”

Patron: “42.”

Me: “…”

Patron: “He didn’t really know the dog either. But I don’t want him to cry. I hate it when my children cry. I used to hit them when they did it.”

Me: *speechless*

Patron: “Oh, well. I guess I will just have to risk it. I don’t think I have the upper body strength to hit him anymore, though.” *walks away*

(And the Parent of the Year goes to…)

Double-Sided And Single-Minded

| Croydon, England, UK | Right | March 20, 2017

(The library has several computers which you can book for up to two hours per day; if you want to print something it costs 12 pence per page. Members of the library can book slots for themselves via a terminal, but often if there’s a problem with their card they ask us to do it for them at the main desk.)

Customer: “Excuse me; can you book me onto a computer?”

Me: “Of course, madam! If I can have your card?”

(She gives it to me and I book two hours for her. Two hours later:)

Customer: “Can you help me?”

Me: “What’s the problem?”

Customer: “It’s charging me too much for double-sided.”

Me: “Really? Let’s see how many pages you’re printing.”

(I open up the option where we ‘release’ people’s printing jobs. The lady has a LOT of print-outs queued.)

Me: “Ah… well, to start with, for this one you’re printing five pages, so that would be sixty pence—”

Customer: “But I’m printing double sided. That’s only three pages.”

Me: “…I’m afraid that’s not how it works. You’re paying for the page, not the paper itself.”

Customer: “I shouldn’t have to pay that! That’s why I’m printing double sided!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s how the computer processes the print job. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Customer: “But I shouldn’t have to pay for five pages when I’m only printing three!”

Coworker: “Excuse me, but you ARE printing five. You’re really paying for the ink, not the paper.”

Customer: “Now you’re just confused. You don’t seem to understand what I’m saying.”

(She says this a few more times, but we eventually manage to explain to her how the system works, and she then proceeds to print off each batch of printing with no hitches — up until the end.)

Me: “All right, so, this last lot will be forty eight pence.”

Customer: “Oh. I don’t have that much change left. Oh, I really need that last one! It’s my CV.”

Coworker: “Well, we could always print it off and keep it for you until Monday when you can pay for it.”

Customer: “Oh, but I need it now!”

Coworker: “Then we can put a note on your account with the amount you owe us, and you can pay us when you next come in.”

(The customer suddenly looks very reticent and mumbles. My coworker and I share a glance.)

Customer: “Oh, um, I don’t have my library card on me today.”

Me: “Yes, you do. We used it to book you a computer earlier. Don’t you remember?”

(The customer looked very embarrassed as she handed the card over. Surprise, surprise. When we looked at her account there was already an outstanding printing charge from a few days ago. We said nothing to her but, while she was collecting her printing, we discretely blocked the card so that she won’t be able to use her account until the charges have been paid, and she can be ‘reminded’ of it and have it unblocked by another member of staff.)

The Bad Condition Of The Rules

| USA | Learning | March 20, 2017

My high school job is shelving books in a library. It is a great job, good pay, wonderful coworkers, and flexible hours. They also have a relaxed dress code, which is basically the same as the local school system’s. That’s actually how they described it to newcomers: anything they can wear to school, they can wear to work at the library.

At another branch, the students started regularly wearing torn jeans to work. The main office saw this and thought it looked trashy, so they made a rule: no more jeans. Every other kind of pants were fine, even sweatpants, but no jeans.

So of course, now I can wear a pair of torn khakis with holes in the knees, according to the rules, but a nice, new pair of intact jeans are not allowed. I don’t think banning jeans in itself is a stupid and unreasonable move, but if they had a problem with the condition of them, it makes more sense to ban any pants in bad condition.

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