Author Topic: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)  (Read 610627 times)

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I'd like to see children more dealing with "challenge" than "frustration".

If they face challenges, they learn that things can be overcome. If they're faced with frustration, they learn that there are some things that, no matter how hard they try, they can't do. While this is, in its way, a good lesson of its own, it's not something I would want my children to learn before they learn, "Step 1 Failure, Step 2 - analyse and repeat with corrections, Step X, success!".

This. Making mistakes is normal.  You have to learn from them and adapt. I found that lessons learned the hard way are rarely forgotten.  Of course, I would never compromise a child's safety or health to "life lessons", but consequences for actions (good or bad) are part of life.
But forcing a child to do something purely for the purpose of frustrating her is cruel.  WHY would any loving parent agree to that? 

I do not know how to do algebra.  I will NEVER know how to do algebra. This is because algebra was pure frustration for me.  I would spend over an hour a day as a young teen crying over  my homework, because I did not understand what the teacher wanted.  I could give her the correct answer; I could show her how I arrived at that answer.  But it was marked wrong because I didn't do it the "right" way. 

Because of this, I didn't bother with college, other than a few classes that interested me.  I knew that I could never pass a college math course. 

And THAT is what frustration does for a child.

Just to clarify, the purpose was not to frustrate. The point was to give her things to do which would be challenging.  And it is very frustrating if you suddenly find something difficult, particularly when you have been used to finding pretty much everything easy.

and it is far better to have that experience when you are 9 or 10, and have loving and supportive family round you, than when you are (say) in your first year at University and realise that everyone else on your course was also the top of their class, and that the bar just got a lot higher. I saw a good deal of that when I went to university, and several people did pretty much crash and burn because they were meeting that challenge, and the frustration of finding stuff *hard* at the same time as coping with living away from home etc.

And of course, when you find something dificult and/or frustrating the feeling of achievement when you finally break through and get it to do what you wanted is correspondingly greater.


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My nephew took up go-kart racing in (I think) late middle school. He was upset that he didn't well at first.

His dad phrased it as "Well, it's your rookie season," with an air of  "of course you're not great just now, no one is at first," and that worked great!
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Could the stories about challenging/frustrating students so they will learn better be moved to a separate thread? They don't seem like impossible patron requests anymore.


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Just saw this, it was a great way to deal with it.


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Just saw this, it was a great way to deal with it.

I would have said, "Your future is... you will be buying a book.  An expensive book.  Hey, want me to help you find that?"


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I was working with a customer who had an unusual issue with her mail program.  We did everything in our power to assist within our guidelines but she could not make it work.  A few others had the same issue in her office.  Her boss came on the phone insisting that it was us, not them, and they were wanting to set up a conference call with the program manufacturer and support (which is not allowed).  Eventually, she decided to call the manufacturer of the program who gave her the runaround.  She apparently called back because she still believed it was us not them even though we offered to test in a different environment to prove all is good here (but she declined that too).  They apparently gave up after spending at least 30 minutes with a supervisor who told them most of the same things me and 2 other people told them to do & what we could/could not do.

Last time I checked we did not make the software and support every aspect of it.....  ::)


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I'm not sure this qualifies as a Harry Potter request, because I could have done it even if it wasn't ideal. I had two phone calls today with an entertainingly scatter-brained woman. (Conversations edited slightly for brevity and anonymity purposes)

Her: My clients are looking for similar offices in the area. Is there a way to look that up if I have their addresses?
Me: I'm happy to look that up for you. What's the first address?
Her: Oh, I don't have that. I'd have to call them and ask.
Me: Ok. If you give me your email address, I can send you the link to a website where you can look that up yourself.
Her. Oh, that would be great! My email address is...

(10 minutes later)

Her: Hi! It's me again! I didn't get your email. Could you fax it to me?

Luckily, she realized that she gave me the wrong email address and mentioned a couple of times that she's computer illiterate. Also, she didn't identify herself the second time around, so it's a good thing we aren't that busy today.


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Today I had a customer who was angry that he hadn't gotten his check two days after we mailed it. It's going first class mail in the US Post Office, that's not exactly going to be instantaneous. Not to mention I've mailed things locally that didn't get to another place in the same city for a week.

That part that made it a Harry Potter request was that he wanted to me to pull the check and have it sent overnight. Not stop the check and reissue it (which we won't do because it went to the right address and it's only been two days), but get the original check back and resend it overnight. :o


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Holy cow! This just happened.

I work in the adult education division at my college and am helping cover some breaks at the front desk today because one person is out and only one is there. A woman came in saying she wanted to register for a hiking class. I go to help her and she starts talking about how the fact that the class is scheduled for May 11, Mother's Day in the U.S. "That can't be!" she laments, going on (and one) about how she has too much to do that day, that it must be a mistake, that I should change it, etc. She wasn't unpleasant, but really. Do you think I can override an entire systems database, the instructor's choice, all the proofreading, the printing, payroll records and so on just to make it so she can take the class!


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Just had this one. 
I work mostly with consumer questions, but occasionally will get other questions from industry folks.  Not normally a big deal.    (Adjusted slightly to keep me out of trouble)
Guy calls and is looking for a source for widgets in his state. Okay.  The tricky part is that he needs these widgets to have been certified to not have a certain issue - let's say never painted purple.   

However, here is the impossible issue.  Any widget made in the US (including his state) is not exposed to purple paint.  Just doesn't happen.  In our industry purple paint actually doesn't even exist.   Now outside of the US there are some purple paint issues, but we haven't had any in our industry for over 30 years.

Yet, the guy has a company that he is working with is demanding a certificate that the widgets he uses have never had purple paint.    I know of many certificates in our widget industry, but because the paint doesn't happen, I can't think of any certificates that exist.   

I had to send him to a widget expert in my office to chat with him about certificates.