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.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Actual Conversations Heard in Actual Libraries #67

SETTING: My "liberry." I've just logged a computer patron onto a computer. He sits down and sighs.

COMPUTER PATRON: Don’t know why I’m using this thing. Every time I print anything it always cuts off my prints.

ME: (Understanding that he meant the printer only prints what it’s capable of printing from a given screen and invariably winds up cutting off the right half of his prints due to a sidebar on the left side that forces all the text he wanted a couple inches to the right...) Yeah, sometimes that’s a problem when you have a sidebar on the left. But most email services have a Printer-Friendly-Version link at the top that will open your text in a new window that won’t have the sidebar on the left.

PATRON: But I’m not printing from email.

ME: Well, other sites often have one too. It’s usually at the top of the screen and will say Printer-Friendly-Version or Printable Screen.

PATRON: (Not listening to me whatsoever) But it cuts off the right side of my text.

ME: Exactly. So you just need to look for the Printable Screen link. Like I said, it’s usually at the top of the page and then you can then print without any problem.

PATRON: (Still oblivious to the information I am imparting at him) I just hit PRINT, and then it cuts off the right side of my text.

ME: That’s what I’m saying to you. Look for PRINTER-FRIENDLY-VERSION or PRINTABLE SCREEN. It will be in a link. It will usually be at the top of the web page. If you click it, it will open your text in a new window that won’t have a sidebar and won’t cut off your text on the right when you print from it. If you just keep hitting PRINT on the normal screen it will just keep cutting off your text. You have to look for PRINTABLE SCREEN or PRINT-FRIENDLY-VERSION. It’s usually at the top of the page.

PATRON: I don’t know much about computers.

(I nod and walk away.)

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