Well, At Least Is Wasn’t Blue

, | Ireland | Learning | July 5, 2017

(While working on the main circulation desk, a group of four friends, who all seemed very nice, walk up the desk. A female student asks if I can tell her the name of a book she had returned to us the previous week. In Ireland, libraries do not keep the records of a patron’s library books for privacy reasons. I explain this to her and ask if she can remember any details of the book such as author, general subject field, anything.)

Student: “I think it was purple…”

Me: *brightly* “Oh, the purple one?”

Student: *excitedly* “Do you know it?!”

Me: *excitedly* “Of course not. We have one hundred and twenty thousand books here!”

(Her friends erupted into laughter as did the student when she thought about what she said!)


Headphones Giving You An Earache

| London, England, UK | Right | July 5, 2017

(Because people always ask for things like envelopes, pens, plastic wallets, etc., we have given up telling people we are not a stationers and have started selling these small items. One such item we have started selling are small in-ear headphones. A lady approaches the counter when we are really busy.)

Customer: “Headphones. I need headphones.”

Me: “We sell headphones for £1.50. Would you like one?”

Customer: “It’s too much. Just give me.”

Me: “No, we sell them. There is the market outside if you would rather get some from there.”

Customer: “I have five pairs of headphones at home; I don’t need anymore. Just give me and I will give you it back.”

Me: “I’m not prepared to do that. They are in-ear headphones and I am not going to be able to resell them once you have finished with them.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “For hygiene reasons.”

Customer: *blank stare*

(As the customer was agitated and snappy, I tried a different approach. I had a look in my draw and saw there was an open packet we use for testing.)

Me: “Would you like these? They have been open and used by someone else.”

Customer: “Ew, no. They have been in someone else’s ears.”

Me: “That’s exactly why I can’t lend you any.”

This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 62

| New Orleans, LA, USA | Right | July 3, 2017

Patron: “We need help. The screen keeps spinning and spinning and nothing is happening.”

(I look at the couple’s computer screen. They have received a could-not-be-more-obvious scam email with a link to “check your free credit rating,” clicked on the link, and entered all their personal information into the website.)

Me: “Ma’am, sir, this is a serious problem. This website is a scam that can steal your money. You need to call your bank and your credit card company right now and tell them what you did.”

(They don’t understand, or don’t want to, and get mad at me. A while later, I pass by the computers to help another patron and see they have gone to yet another sketchy website and entered all their personal information yet again.)

Me: “Do you understand that this is a serious problem? You should never put that information on a random website like that because people will steal it and take money out of your account!”

Patrons: “No, this is a different website. It puts your credit card on alert so no one can steal from it.”

Me: *giving up* “Yay!”


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?!”


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.”

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