The Museum Does Not Serve Whine

, , , , | Right | October 16, 2020

I am a press information officer for a large city. When you work in the front lines of government service, you deal with who I call the “regular whiners,” who are constantly complaining.

They show up at EVERY Municipal Council meeting and complain to the Council, invariably going over their allotted time. They denounce the Mayor (whoever the incumbent is), the Council (whoever they are), and the whole boiling setup.

I get the spillover calls, and the most frequent caller is this one woman. She gets forwarded to me by the mayor’s office every four weeks to complain about… something, but it is invariably something I can do nothing about.

One of our museums is holding a major evening event, long-planned, long-advertised. Five hours before the event, she calls to complain.

Caller: “This event will mess up traffic in my neighborhood! Please move the whole thing to another date.”

I am stunned by this bizarre request.

Me: “For that, you should complain to the museum’s leadership.”

Caller: “Do you have their phone number?”

Me: “No, I don’t, actually, and given how busy they are, I don’t think they’re answering the phone today. Why don’t you send them an email?”

Caller: “I don’t have a computer.”

Me: “Well, why don’t you just head over to the library two blocks from your home and use theirs?”

Caller: “I’m disabled in the fingers. I prefer to call.”

Me: “So that would prevent you from writing them a note and walking that over?”

At this point, I just want my pals at the museum to laugh their heads off at the situation.

Caller: “I told you, I’m disabled in the fingers!”

Me: “But you could still walk over there and complain.”

Caller: “It’s too far to walk!”

Me: “Well, then I’m out of ideas, Mrs. [Caller]. I don’t know what to say or how to help you.”

Caller: *Angry* “That’s what my Council Member’s aide said when I called them a few minutes ago! Nobody wants to help me!”

“Maybe that’s because you’re an annoying whiner,” I think, “and nobody wants to talk to you.”

Me: “I’m sorry I can’t help you, Mrs. [Caller].”

She hangs up. I wait for fifteen seconds and call the mayor’s office.

Me: “Folks, for the past twenty years, you have been transferring Mrs. [Caller] to me. I can’t help her with her problems. Send her anywhere, send her to the New York Aquarium, to Grant’s Tomb, but please, not to me.”

They understood, got the point, and I never heard from her again.

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