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.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Get out of Blog Free" (L is for Lazy Week: Day 4)

Found out today that I fudged up in my reporting of yesterday's story.

It's become something of a weekly tradition for the staff to share stories about Ms. S on Thursday mornings. This is because we have the highest concentration of staff members at that point and also because Ms. S is never among that concentration. Today's discussion was jumpstarted by the fact that despite both I and Mrs. C having told Ms. S to stop cutting up the spine label sheets because they gum up the typewriter, we found yet another pile of her brutal label leavings. It looked like some kind of gruesome, mishapen paperdoll chain. Mrs. A left it by the typewriter and slapped a note on it reading, "There will be no more spine labels cut this way. It is wasteful and they stick to the typewriter."

My conversation with Mrs. C and Mrs. B progressed a bit more and I asked, "Has MRS. A said anything about why we haven't just gotten rid of MS. S?"

Both shook their heads. We then talked about the prospect somewhat. I wondered if perhaps Mrs. A, knowing how unskilled and newbie greenhornish Ms. S is, was just giving her the necessary time for our on-the-job training to finally kick in. After all, it took former Newbie Greenhorn Ms. M almost a full year to finally stop screwing things up on a near habitual level and become a cherished fellow "Liberry" Ass. Eight months ago we were calling for her head too, but now we love her and think she's doing a respectable job. There is kind of a learning curve to the job and even those of us who've been at it for years still get called up short by some new patron-spawned twist, on occasion. Getting into the rhythm of things can take a long time for skilled people, let alone someone with no discernible customer service skills such as Ms. S. That said, though, all evidence seems to point to Ms. S being a sour mixed drink composed of two parts lazy to one part incompetence, with a generous chaser of stubborn refusal to follow directions no matter how many times they're given.

"Did MRS. A hear the story about MS. S ignoring the patron while she made a greeting card?" I asked. To me, this was the latest prime bit of evidence that Ms. S just doesn't "get" it.

"A greeting card?" Mrs. B asked. "You didn't tell me about her making a greeting card."

I was taken aback. For a moment, I thought I'd slipped into a parallel universe in which Mrs. B hadn't been the person to tell me the greeting card story.

"No. Wait. You told..." I began.

"Ohhh, no. She wasn't making a greeting card," Mrs B said. "She was making a library card."

Thinking about the retelling I'd heard, Mrs. B had not actually said greeting card, but had only said that Ms. S had been making a card. My brain was the one that made the leap to greeting card. A library card at least made more sense. I can kind of see how Ms. S might be so absorbed in making a library card that she would ignore a patron. Not to say that this is at all excusable, it's just that the way her brain seems to work she would feel completely justified in ignoring her customer service responsibilities because she was so engrossed at "doing her job."

So, it looks like I reported the event incorrectly here through my own faulty journalism. I'm tempted to give Ms. S a "Get Out of Blog Free" card to make up for it, though at this point in the entry that's a bit moot.

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