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, January 09, 2008

The Perfect Storm of Extremely High-Maintainance, Needy, Old White Women (PART 2)

So I explained the whole deal with why we need the driver's license number to the Old White Woman. The OWW, of course, then reiterated having been told never to give hers to anyone at all. And rather than resorting to obstinate insistence as her weapon of choice, she instead played a different card and began blinking up at me pitifully, as though hoping I might reconsider doing my job out of sympathy.

While I understood her concern for identity protection, as far as I could see the choice was very very simple: she could either give us her number and get a card, or she could decline to give her number and we would then decline to issue her a card. I'm so completely sick of people—Old White Women especially—who insist we treat them differently than everyone else because they have a wild hair up their ass about something. Some of my fellow employees give in to such behavior, which has ALWAYS come back to bite them. I, however, would not be doing so.

I explained again to the OWW that we really did need the driver's license number before we could issue her a card. The OWW looked worried, then concerned. She then opened her wallet to its card section and started to write something in the license blank, presumably her number from her license within the wallet. Then she stopped, seemed to think better of it, scratched out what she'd started to write and withdrew the pen.

"I don't have my license with me, today," she said. Said it to my very face, she did. "Could I just call you with it from home?"

I was staggered at how dumb she thought I was. And while, on rare occasions in the past, we've allowed people to phone us with their license when they didn't have it on them, (and who the hell are all these people driving around without their %#$&ing licenses?) this lady would not be receiving that treatment. If she was allowed to leave the building without supplying it, we'd never hear of it again.

"No, ma'am," I told her.

"So I can't check anything out, then?" she said pitifully.

I began then to explain the rules of cause and effect to her, in only the politest of terms, when I was interrupted by the other Old White Woman, who stepped up to her friend's defense.

"Well, TOWN-C doesn't require a driver's license."

"Yes, ma'am, they do," I said.

Her eyes flashed, perhaps that I had dared deny the truthfulness of her claim.

"No, they don't," she said.

"Yes, ma'am. They do," I said, again remaining polite. "They're part of the same library consortium that we are and are required to take exactly the same information that we do."

The OWW thought on this and then admitted that maybe it was replacement cards they didn't require it for, as she'd recently had her card replaced there. And since she had her replaced card on her person at that very moment (Way to go, OWW!) she would simply allow her friend to check out materials on it. That was fine by me.

The above transaction took around five minutes and was actually still in progress when other patrons began to pile up behind the crew. Mrs. B took some of them at the auxiliary circ computer, but more kept coming. Some of them were giving me the stink eye, probably for not just giving in to the Old White Women's demands and speeding things along. They were even less thrilled when Tool T-Shirt finally got his application filled out and passed it over for his own card, not to mention ICP and the third kid, who were also standing there with books.

As I was processing Tool T-Shirt's card, there was a shout from the back of the line.

"Is this the line for the desk?!" a third Old White Woman said very loudly. She was standing next to a fourth, not-quite-so-Old White Woman, perhaps an apprentice. Ah, the third wave had hit and at last the storm of OWWs had reached perfection.

"Yes, ma'am," I said. I gestured to the four deep line of people directly in front of her. "I'm afraid we're a bit busy, so it may be a moment before we can help you. We have to go one person at a time." The OWW didn't huff, but looked like she really wanted to.

Soon, I had Tool T-Shirt's card finished and his book checked out. I was amazed the OWW hadn't given me crap for the fact that we didn't require a driver's license from him, but being as how he didn't have one maybe she did the math herself. I took care of the checkouts for the rest of her crew and they started to depart. And in her defense, before she left the desk the first Old White Woman thanked me for my courtesy.

The third Old White Woman was actually more of the typical loud, demanding and fairly unpleasant variety, but she held it in check for the most part. She too wanted a library card. And while she did have a license on her and was willing to supply it, she was also a recent transplant to the area and still had an out of state license with her former address. As we require proof of local address, I thought she was out of luck. She then supplied a small white name card, printed with her local contact information. Wow, she was truly an Old School OWW. I decided to let that serve and she soon left with a library card and, no doubt, some satisfaction at having won the day.

We learned later that the boys who came in with the first two OWWs were not their grandchildren at all but were actually residents of one of the local homes for troubled youth. Which means the local homes for troubled youth have now taken to employing Old White Women as minders for the troubled youth rather than the hulking linebacker types they've traditionally employed.

And that, my friends, is an astounding example of true genius at work.

2 comments:

librarianwoes said...

I have a headache just thinking about it :-(

Donna said...

We have a OWW who parks outside the liberry and "ask/hollers" at other patrons until she finds one that will come in and get the book she wants.