An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Actual Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #44


SETTING: My "liberry". A male patron enters, walks past the large and obvious display of tax forms atop one of our floor shelves that is located directly in front of the front door. In addition to the stacks of tax booklets and the large gray metal obscure-form display, this patron has also failed to see the two rows of tax forms in the brightly colored plastic magazine-storage-style bins. As in accordance with tradition, he approaches the circ-desk.

PATRON: Hey, do you got any tax forms here?

ME: Yes, sir. They're right behind you.

PATRON: (Turns and notices the aforementioned large and obvious display of tax forms, though not on his first try.) Uh, thanks.

(The patron leafs through a few forms and booklets, picking out what he needs from the Federal side of the shelf.)

PATRON: Uh, you got any state forms?

ME: Yes. They're on the other side of the shelf there, in the plastic bins.

(Patron walks to other side of the floor shelf and then begins looking in random directions.)

PATRON: Where?

ME: In the bins, sir.

PATRON: (Random, random, random)

ME: The bins.

PATRON: (Looks at floor)

ME: No, the plastic bins, sir.

PATRON: (Looks at the J.A. Jances on the mystery shelf directly below the bins)

ME: The yellow, black and white plastic bins, sir.

PATRON: (Looks at ceiling)

ME: The yellow, black and white plastic bins there in front of you, sir. (Y'know, the ones with the little signs on them that read: STATE %$&#ing TAX FORMS.)

PATRON: (Still looking in the wrong direction, practically trying to find them by touch.)

As I'm coming around the desk to go over and place his hand on them myself, he finally spies them. He then looks up and gives me an expression conveying deep offense that the forms are indeed in the yellow, black and white plastic bins exactly where I've been saying they were.


Because the situation above has now played out exactly like that for several of our employees, Mrs. C has consolidated all the state forms into one bright yellow plastic bin, hoping to eliminate confusion by removing the mesmerizing black and white plastic bins. It doesn't help in the slightest.

PATRON: (From the Federal side of the form shelf) Excuse me, do you have any state tax forms?

MRS. C: They're on the other side of that floor shelf in the yellow box.

PATRON: (Goes to other side and begins doing bad Stevie Wonder impersonation.)

MRS. C: In the yellow box.

PATRON: (Switches to bad impersonation of Ron Eldard from TV's "Blind Justice", which was already bad to begin with.)

MRS. C: In the yellow box, there to your right.

PATRON: (Looks left)

MRS. C: In the yellow plastic box.

PATRON: (Got nothin')

MRS. C: Yellow. Yellow box.

PATRON: I don't see any yellow. (They actually said this, I kid you not)

And to think it's barely February.


Suzanne said...

We enact those scenes at home all the time...
Mom, where are my shoes?

Did you put them on the shoes rack.

I dont know.

Then look.

Ok. Not there.

Check the lower shelves.


If I have to look you owe me 25 cents if I find them there.


(I look and find them there.)

Oh, that lower shelf.

There's only one! Pay up!

Thanks mom.

[My hourly rate for this is less than yours I think. Its so frustrating! Good luck!]

Librarian Girl said...

This is the kind of crap that causes librarians to come home stating things like "yellow bins" over and over, Rain Man style. Our library has a problem with the check out line- no one can figure out how to follow the velvet-rope thingy. I have dreams at night about "the line forms this way, please."

two bits said...

all this week I've been having nightmares about one of my least favorite patrons. I'm alone at the service desk with a line and she is standing off to the side asking me yet again how to look up a book. Every time I help her I have to point at every spot to click. "click on the blue writing" "no, the blue" "click where it says book catalog" "book. BOOK!"

..and this woman is a graduate student. Can't do a thing for herself, but she somehow is in graduate school.

AUUUGH. I need better quality sleep.

daisy said...

Aw, Juice, you're making me miss New Orleans Public.

Librarian Girl, I feel your pain. I had to put a big wide arrow made of bright red book tape on the floor of my library, inside said rope thingy, and even then tons of patrons STILL didn't get it. "Line up in the direction of the arrow." "Huh?"

Anonymous said...

You need a laser pointer since your patrons are such imbeciles. By the way have you heard from Mr. Stankey lately? I heard he showered.

Juice said...

Mr. Stanky? Shower? Not a chance.