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.

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.)

Email Fail, Part 11

| AL, USA | Right | March 17, 2017

(I work as a librarian in my town. We aren’t really allowed to stay and help patrons on the computers because we aren’t qualified tech support nor do we have the time. Occasionally, I bend the rules a little and assist patrons who really need it. But today I really learned why we don’t help with computers.)

Patron: “I need help printing something from my phone.”

Me: “Is it in an email?” *this is usually what people mean by ‘on their phone.’*

Patron: “I don’t know. It’s just on my phone.”

Me: “Okay, it would need to be sent to an email and I can log you on to one of our computers to print. We can’t do any wireless printing, sorry.”

Patron: “How do I do that?”

(She leans over the counter with phone in hand asking me to do it for her. It takes a couple of tries but finally sends to her email. I log her onto a public computer and have to reset her email password for her because her “phone just knows it and she doesn’t have to log in, ever.” 15 minutes has already gone by.)

Patron: “I ordered flea bath for my cats on [Website] because I was getting a good deal.”

(I try to be polite and sound interested. However, it’s after lunch time and I’m starving.)

Me: “That’s great.”

Patron: “Yeah, but it was written in some foreign language I can’t read so I don’t trust it. I’m sending it back. But the guy was from Texas! I thought it’d at least be written in American.”

Me: *just nods head; I never respond to remarks like this*

Patron: *pointing to the screen* “The page won’t send me the return label. Why?”

Me: “I’m not really sure. It must be the website. It says to try again later. It could be running slow.”

(We try a few more times to open the email. She decides to call the website’s customer support number to get an answer.)

Patron: *on the phone with support* “I really don’t know what you’re saying. I don’t understand all this computer stuff. Talk to this girl that’s helping me.” *she shoves her phone that’s been pressed against her face into mine*

Me: “Hello?”

(I try not to act disgusted by using a stranger’s phone as I tell him exactly what the page says and he understand immediately what happened. The seller created the shipping label wrong so the site couldn’t process it correctly. It would be another week before it’s fixed and she could return her flea bath. The phone call lasted another ten minutes.)

Patron: “Well, okay. If I don’t get the label then, do I just throw my stuff away? I don’t trust it.”

Me: “I guess so. I’m just going by what the support guy said.”

Patron: “Okay. Anyways, I thought the flea bath was written in Mexican or something. I can’t read that so I asked my daughter to come look at because she took Mexican in high school. But she said “Mama, I can’t read that. It ain’t Mexican.” So I’m guessing it’s probably United Kingdom language or something. I can only read American. Thanks for all your help though!”

(She left the computer without getting her label and I rushed to lunch in bewilderment at her story. When I came back from my break, I learned that she left her contact information in case we ever sold our book carts or card catalogues. You know, the two main things we use daily. I won’t be bending the rules again any time soon.)

Related:

Email Fail, Part 10

Email Fail, Part 9

Email Fail, Part 8

Going Into Uncharted Territory

| ID, USA | Working | March 17, 2017

(I’m the employee in this story. I spot a woman who’s having a difficult time getting her son to pick a book, so I go up to help.)

Me: “Can I help you find something?”

Woman: “Oh, he’s just having a hard time finding something to read.”

Me: “I can help.” *to the boy* “What do you like to read?”

Boy: “I don’t really like to read.”

Me: “Okay, then… What kinds of things are you interested in?”

Boy: “Video games. Do you have Minecraft books?”

Woman: “Oh, honey, I’m sure they don’t have video game books…”

Me: *wicked grin* “We actually have a whole section of Minecraft books… Oh dear, it looks like they’re all checked out. They’re pretty popular right now.”

Boy: “Do you have any World of Warcraft books, then?”

Me: “Sorry, we don’t.”

Woman: “[Boy], let’s find you a book that’s not about video games, okay? You need to expand your horizons.”

Boy: “One more, Mom!” *to me* “Do you have any Uncharted books?”

Woman: “I’m sure they don’t…”

Me: *eyes light up* “We have ONE Uncharted book! Let me go grab it for you!”

(I grabbed it and handed it to the boy. He was ecstatic. His mom was less than ecstatic… and I feel just a little bad for going against her wishes. But if it gets a kid who otherwise doesn’t like to read to read something, even if it’s a video game novel, then that’s better than nothing, right?)

Wish You Could Print Out This Conversation

| USA | Right | March 15, 2017

(I’m working the reference desk when a customer comes up.)

Customer: “Is it true I can’t print from my own laptop?”

Me: “No, actually you can print from your own laptop.” *I then spend several minutes explaining the process, as it requires downloading and installing software*

Customer: “Okay, great! Can I check one out then?”

Me: “Oh, you mean one of our laptops? Well, sure, you can print from those as well. Have you ever checked out one of our laptops before?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Me: “Great.”

(He hands me his card but not his I.D.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, I need your I.D. as well. We hold onto it while you have the laptop checked out.”

Customer: “Oh, I didn’t know that. I’ve never checked one out before.”

(At this point I’m afraid I’m losing my mind, but he gives me his I.D. and I check out his laptop. He goes on his way. Half an hour later, he brings the laptop back without stopping at the print release station.)

Customer: “Here you go. I’m all done.”

Me: “Were you able to print what you needed? I can show you how the print release station works.”

Customer: “I didn’t need to print anything.”

Me: *speechless*

(At least he was cheerful and polite throughout the interaction! I just wondered if we were having two different conversations…)

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