Monday, April 23, 2007

Nearly Killed a Neo-Hippy

A female neo-hippy happened in the other day to inquire about our free tax preparation service. (And for the record, this was an I-like-to-wear-patchouli-and-be-kind-to-the-earth-but-am-not-in-your-face-about-it-all-the-time-cute-granola-mom hippy, as opposed to an Everything-in-this-whole-country-is-wrong-and-it's-somehow-your-fault-(AND-George-Bush's)-and-you're-part-of-the-problem-because-you-won't-let-me-check-out-without-my-library-card-Where's-my-disability-check? hippy.) I had to explain to her that our free tax preparation program, despite what H&R Block and the other members of THEY keep telling people, is non-existent. Haven't had one for nigh on a decade and have no plans to aquire one. We've heard too many horror stories from other libraries that offer such programs—stories that include patrons being audited and blaming libraries for it, when, in fact, it was the fault of the tax preparer who volunteered at the library, or the fault of the patron themselves. No, sir. Don't need any of that.

Our neo-hippy patron then asked if I knew where she could get such free help locally. I explained that another area library still foolishly does offer such a service, but only to the elderly. For people her age, I knew of no other such service. And believe me, we've had an ear out for such services, cause we'd like nothing better than to roll that ball into someone else's court. (Course, now that I think of it, I could have told her the name of Amateur Accountant Tax Form Lady Who Plagues Us Every Year, except that might legally constitute giving tax advice and possibly poor advice at that.)

After she was satisfied that we weren't hiding such a program, she asked to use a computer and went off to have some internet time. Within 20 minutes or so, our printer began spitting out paper and continued doing so for a couple of minutes. Mrs. B and I were chatting, so I didn't notice the excessive printing until the neo-hippy came up and began freaking out at the mass of paper still spewing from the guts of the printer.

"Oh!! Ohh!!" she squealed, waving her hands in panic. "It's printing too many! I didn't print that many!"

I reached over and pressed the Cancel Job button. After a page or so more, it stopped printing. Then it started printing her next job, which from the "Page 1 of 60" at the top, was nearly as large as the last. I cancelled that one too. And then the 80 page third job that followed it.

"I didn't tell it to print that many," the hippy lady insisted. "I only wanted it to print the three sections I highlighted."

Ah, yes, the old No, I Only Printed the Highlighted Bits flawed theory of printing from the innanet. I explained to her how wrong she was in assuming you can somehow highlight stuff and hit print and actually get only that highlighted stuff without first going to the print menu and clicking the little box by SELECTED.

"What a waste of paper," the hippy lady said, gathering up the 70 or so pages she had coming to her. "I only wanted the three paragraphs I highlighted."

Obviously my first lesson hadn't taken. So, on my own screen, I called up a website, highlighted some text, went to the print menu and showed her the SELECTED option. "This is what you need to click next time," I said.

"What about this time? What do I do with this?" she said, holding out her quarter ream of paper, sympathy-seeking expression on her face.

"We charge 10 cents a page," I told her.

The lady, to her credit, didn't argue and paid us the $7.

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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.