A Textbook Example Of A Fail, Part 2

| CA, USA | Learning | July 3, 2017

(I am a library tech who works at the circulation and reserves textbooks desk. To check out a two-hour use textbook, students have to give us the book title. This story happens at about midterm time.)

Student: “I need to check out a reserve textbook for human sexuality for psychology class?”

Me: “Yes, we have two titles for that class. Which one do you need?”

Student: “I don’t know the name of the book.”

Me: “Do you know your teacher’s name?”

Student: “No.”

Me: “Do you have your syllabus?”

Student: “No.”

Me: “Well… I’ll just give you the most requested title.”

Student: “Okay, that’s fine.”

(I check out the book to the student and he leaves.)

Me: *to coworker* “How did this guy get through class up to this point?!”

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A Textbook Example Of A Fail

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.”

Worth Dipping Into Your Slush(ie) Fund For

, , , , , | Working | June 30, 2017

(Our library is scheduled to be closed for a day while we do some renovations — moving shelves and furniture and doing some painting to prepare a new area. This renovations day happens to fall on my day off.)

Coworker: “Are you sad that you won’t be here to help us with stuff?”

Me: “Haha… no.”

Coworker: “I bet you have big plans for your day off, huh?”

Me: “Oh, yes. I’m going to buy me a big Slushie and come to the library, and stare through the window and watch you all work while I slowly drink it in front of you.”

Coworker: “…I hate you.”

It’s Time To Borrow A New Excuse

, , , , | Right | June 21, 2017

(Our library policy is that you must either provide your library card or a form of photo ID to check out items or use a computer. A patron comes in, selects a few DVDs, and comes up to the front counter.)

Patron: “And I don’t have my library card or my ID, so just look me up by my last name.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we’re going to need either your library card or your photo ID to check out your items.”

Patron: “You know who I am! I’m in every day! Why can’t you just check me out?”

Me: “I’m sorry; it’s our policy.”

Patron: *points at a new coworker who has only been working a few weeks at this point* “Well, SHE checks me out all the time without my card! Isn’t that right?”

Coworker: *deer-in-headlights look* “Uh…”

Me: “I’m afraid it’s against our policy. Would you like me to hold your DVDs for you, and you can check them out the next time you come in with your card?”

Patron: *angrily throws the DVDs across the counter at me* “Never mind!” *storms out*

(The coworker was apologetic, saying she’d never seen this woman before and had no idea what she’s talking about. Sadly, this isn’t the first time someone has used the “but so-and-so lets me check out without a card” excuse, and it’s unlikely to be the last…)

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.”

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