Sunday, October 26, 2008

Miss Information is annoyed by a patron at the new branch

Yes! Finally! It only took two weeks. Two weeks of mind-numbing civility. Two weeks of well-behaved children. Two weeks of Miss Information liking people, enjoying their company and remembering that this environment is kind of the one most people think of when they think "library".

But, whew. That's over. Miss Information is still working in the world's most mellow library--it's like the James Taylor of libraries--but she had her first baffling customer encounter.

Here's what went down:
Woman came to the desk. Needs a new library card. She used to have a card, but well, you know. Miss Information suggests making the woman a replacement card. It'll cost a couple of bucks. Is that how the woman wanted to proceed? The woman agrees. They get along great during the making of the new card and during the handing over of the $2 replacement fee. Where it all starts to go wrong is when Miss Information hands her the receipt for payment. The woman scans it over, says hey, wait a minute. Miss Information asks what the problem is. The now incensed woman points to the receipt. It says "lost card fee" or something. The woman protests. She most definitely did not "lose" her card. Miss Information is puzzled. But she wanted a new card? The woman says yes. And she agreed to pay $2 for the new card? The woman says yes. So what's the problem? The problem is the wording on the receipt. It basically accuses her of being irresponsible. She most certainly did not "lose" her card. It's at home...somewhere...but it is definitely not lost and now the receipt has impugned her good name and besmirched her reputation.

Oh. Ok. Miss Information mentions that "lost card fee" is just library speak for "replacement charge". She also reassures the woman that the library will always think very highly of her and wishes her a good day.

Sigh. At last Miss Information gets to use the skills she spent all those years learning in the punchy, yelly, Manhunty library.

(For the record, Miss Information is not typing this during library time or on library equipment. She has the cutest little netbook and they are currently on a wireless and coffee date.)


At 6:51 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

That's funny! Sounds like something would happen here...

At 8:01 PM, Blogger Andrea.Sombody said...

As an aspiring librarian, I have to say your blog is absolutely hysterical.

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you to cya on wheres and whens of blogging though surely you must know by now that librarians loathe confrontation and would probably rather clean up a leaky child than cite you for blogging on work time? Some of my coworkers play games on facebook whether on public service desk or not, and though we all know it's then published for the world to see, there are no ramifications!

At 5:23 PM, Blogger Annemarie said...

No one ever "loses" their card, they are all stolen! Or just at home at the moment.

At 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, sounds like my time working at the Lawrence Welk Branch where one of the customers claimed she didn't care about the actual money of overdue fees (if her money had to go somewhere, it might as well do some good for the library -- OK, that part worked for me). Her problem was that she was CONVINCED that someone, somewhere in the library system was disgustedly tallying up the number of times each patron was overdue, the number of books each patron was late in returning, the number of days that each of their items was late, you name it and they're tracking it.... then stamping offending library customers' records as "UNFIT MEMBERS OF SOCIETY" or something ominous like that. Paranoia Lady would therefore go into seizures if informed that she was a day late or an item short, petrified that she would be included in some Official List of Terrible People compiled by that mythical 'someone' at the top of the library staff food chain, and many people would say bad things about her. (Yeah, then what, somebody wearing pop-bottle-bottom glasses and orthopedic shoes pounds on your door in the middle of the night to shake their finger and make tsk-tsk noises at you?)

I was SO tempted to say something like "Wasn't that last done sometime back in the 1950s or 1940s?" However, in the little mind of Paranoia Lady, McCarthy-ism is alive and well and happening right now at the Big Cheese Library downtown, and they're SPECIFICALLY WATCHING HER. Wow.... overestimate your relative importance in the world much?

Come to think of it, that was also the branch where another patron said he refused to carry ID with him.... if he absolutely had to use it, he would only deign to carry PHOTOCOPIES of certain types of ID. According to him, the act of carrying (or even having) any form of ID was part of a vast, Big Brother-style government conspiracy to keep track of everything every person ever does everywhere in Canada.... gosh darn it, they would even know that you picked your nose in an elevator a decade ago if you weren't careful, those conniving government bastards!

Sorry, dude, I really don't think anybody is all that interested in everything that everybody does -- most especially anything YOU do! However, I was decidedly NOT going to be the bearer of that little newsflash.

Maybe it should be renamed as the Paranoia Branch.

Keep on bloggin' Miss....


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