Author Topic: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)  (Read 609207 times)

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camlan

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Some years ago, I worked at the Circulation Desk of a State University Library. One of the things I did was supervise the student workers. One day, one of the students came out back and asked me to go out to the desk, because a patron was giving another student a hard time. As I walked out, I could spot the patron immediately. He was the one pounding his fist on the desk. He must have been doing that for more than a few seconds, because as I got to the desk, the security officer showed up (someone had seen the patron and called security).

What was the patron so upset about? He wanted to check out a book. He was clearly someone who thought he was very important and appeared used to getting exactly what he wanted when he wanted it. The fact that the library had rules that prevented him from getting exactly what he wanted seemed to irritate him slightly. The conversation went something like this (remember, the poor student had just told him all of this before I got there):

Him: I pay taxes and I want to check this book out.

Me: State residents are able to use many of the library's services. You can read or copy the book here. Unfortunately, if you are not a student or staff member, there is a $25 per year charge to take books out.
 
Him: That's outrageous! I pay taxes! This is a public library. (Note: that state had a system whereby if you had a library card from one local  public library, you could check out books from any other local public library in the state. The State University library was not part of this system.)

Me: Yes, we are public, but we are not part of that library system. I understand that you need this book. These are your options. You can read the book here. You can copy parts of the book here. You can request this book by Interlibrary Loan from your public library. You can pay the fee and check it out for a month, with up to two more months of renewals.

Him: I shouldn't have to pay to check this book out. I don't have time to read it here!

Me: Well, you can check with your local public library. Some of them do have fees for interlibrary loan, but they are usually small.

Him: What are the fees at MyTown library?

Me: I'm sorry, I don't know that. Every library in the state has its own policies and fee structures.

Him: Well, then, how can I get this book?

[insert another 10 minutes of exactly the same conversation. He can get the book if he pays our fee or his local library's fee, he can read or copy it here. Several library staff have paused in their travels and are glued to the drama at the desk. We finally have a breakthrough about what interlibrary loan can do for him.}

Me: I'll look up the phone number for YourTown library. Maybe you could call them and find out if that option would work for you.

He stomps off to a pay phone in the lobby. He comes back to the desk.

Him: They can do the loan. I've got them working on the paperwork right now and they will fax it over here. So, I'll wait here until it gets here.

Me: Oh, dear. You see, interlibrary loan is a separate department. Let me run upstairs for you and see if they can process this book for you today.

I run upstairs, taking the book with me. No one in ILL is surprised to see me. They have already had a phone call from HisTown library. The whole staff is laughing about this guy, who apparently bludgeoned the staff of the other library into submission over the phone. I hand over the book. ILL staff explains that they *have* to send the book to the local library because it must be checked out in their system. But they are making an exception and are sending it overnight delivery, so that the book will be there tomorrow. I head back downstairs, relieved that the book is now safe (I was afraid at one point that he would grab the book and run out of the library), but a little worried about telling the guy he can't get his hands on the book until tomorrow.

Me: [Explains about ILL, special overnight delivery just for him, extensive cooperation between the two libraries just for him, the book will be waiting for him tomorrow at HisTown library.]

Him: [Amazingly, he seems to accept this.] What time tomorrow can I get the book?

Me: I'm not sure. Perhaps you could call YourTown library and find out what time FedEx usually delivers to them?

Him: This is really not an efficient system.

Me: Oh, dear. We really are trying to get you this book.

Him: [bursts into laughter] Well, you guys really pulled an end run around me, huh?

Me: I'm sorry, I don't know what that means?

Him: You fixed me good. No one ever does that! How would you like to come work for me?

Me: [Thinking, Yeah, right. I barely survived a half hour encounter with you.] Why, that's very kind of you. But I really do like working with books.

The security guard watched him until he left the building.

Seriously, he had several options to access the information in that book. Why he had to throw a temper tantrum at the desk and scare the students who were working there is beyond me. There are rules in life. Sometimes, they don't work the way we want them to. The adult thing to do is to accept that you can't get exactly what you want and to move on. And I'll bet his hand hurt. Those were granite countertops he was pounding on.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn

Yarnspinner

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Ooooh!  Camlan, that was scary just reading, but I loved the outcome!

I do love when people try to get around a (perfectly understandable) system and the system does an "end run" around them.

Honestly, I was excited to open the computer up and see so many responses.  And saddened to see that the government treats its educators no better in SA than it does in the USA.  And that parents are just as blase about their children's education.  T'Mar and Hot Shaker, your stories made me kinda want to cry.

But on the other hand, there are so many news articles telling how the government is failing our kids, our schools are failing our kids....and then I come here (or even go to work) and encounter kids who don't do their h omework and parents like Johnny's and I think "Ya  know, folks, I think the truth is closer to the MIDDLE of the triangle than all heaped up on one side.  Especially when I hear Moms at work complaining that little Jonny was flunked because the teacher was (pick your favorite "ism" here because I have heard everything from race to religion to gender to color of eyes and parents status)  and I know for a fact that Jonny hasn't done a lick of work because he's been bragging about it to his buds.

Back on topic:  Patron Exhibit B:  "I got caught shoplifting and I have to write an essay about why I think shoplifting is bad?  Do you have a book here that tells me what I think?"

I refrained from saying "Thinking would imply you have a brain and that doesn't seem to be the case."

Shoo

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She (now sounding rather furious): "Why don't you want to let my mare become covered by your black stallion?"
Me: "Because he isn't a stallion anymore!"
She: "What do you mean with that?"
Me: "My boy is a gelding."
She: "So what? I want to have a foal from him."

Sycorax
"That was the moment my jaw dropped ..."

Could you explain why your jaw dropped to those of us who aren't familiar with horses?  I'm probably not the only one who doesn't understand your post.

FoxPaws

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I had a customer pitch a fit and demand that we reconfigure the date/time stamp on the fax machine to show the previous day so he wouldn't miss his deadline. We told him no - it had been x date for 24 hours already, it was now y date. (I guess he was going to convince the recipients that the date/time stamp on their machine was wrong?)

A coworker and I spent twenty minutes explaining to a woman that you could not enlarge a square picture (3x3" Polaroid) to fit a rectangular piece of paper (11x17") without a) distorting the image, b) cropping the photo, or c) having white space on either side of the copy. She screamed - literally - that she had a master's degree in psychology and couldn't believe how stupid we all were.
I am so a lady. And if you say I'm not, I'll slug you. - Cindy Brady

FoxPaws

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Could you explain why your jaw dropped to those of us who aren't familiar with horses?  I'm probably not the only one who doesn't understand your post.
Gelding is the horse word for neutered.
I am so a lady. And if you say I'm not, I'll slug you. - Cindy Brady

Silence

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She (now sounding rather furious): "Why don't you want to let my mare become covered by your black stallion?"
Me: "Because he isn't a stallion anymore!"
She: "What do you mean with that?"
Me: "My boy is a gelding."
She: "So what? I want to have a foal from him."

Sycorax
"That was the moment my jaw dropped ..."

Could you explain why your jaw dropped to those of us who aren't familiar with horses?  I'm probably not the only one who doesn't understand your post.

He doesn't have to equipment to sire (father) anymore foals (children).

Drunken Housewife

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"gelding" is a term for a neutered male horse. 

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Drunken Housewife

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I have some Asking for the Impossible stories from my working days. 

First, there's a simple principle of U.S. law, learned in first year torts class, which is uncontrovertible:  if someone is injured by a defective product, they can sue the company they bought it from or the manufacturer.  They don't have to sue the manufacturer if it's easier, for whatever reason, for them to sue the store (then the store would in return bring in the manufacturer).  I was assigned to a case where my firm was representing a supplier of products, who couldn't get his mind around the fact that he'd been sued over a defective product.  He called me on the phone.

client:  I just wanted to point out that I didn't make it.  I just sold it.
me:  politely explains that under the law, the customer can sue the person who sold them the defective product
client:  But no, you're not getting it.  I don't make that product.  I just sell it.
Me:  explains again
client:  But can't you get me out of this?  I don't make that product. 

This went on and on. 

Here's another one.  I used to do some landlord-tenant law, and a landlord, a young woman obviously new to the world of rental properties, called me whom I'd never met after I was recommended to her.  In my city, there are extremely stringent rent control laws and limitations on evictions.

This woman said to me, "I need to get rid of my tenant because I'm getting below market rent."  She did understand the point that under the law, she could raise her rent only a small amount each year (the allowable increase was set each year by a governmental agency), so she thought she could just get rid of that pesky tenant and get a new, higher paying one.

Me:  "Well, is there anything the tenant has done?  (explained that under the Rent Control Act there were only a set list of acceptable causes for eviction and ran down the list for her).

Landlord:  "Well, he hasn't done any those things.  But you don't understand!  I'm not getting the market rate!"

Me:  "I'm sorry*, but we can't evict someone because their rent is too low.  That's pretty much the whole reason for the Rent Control Act, to stop landlords from doing that."

Landlord, becoming increasingly distraught and upset with me:  "But you just don't get it!  I'M NOT GETTING THE MARKET RATE FOR MY UNIT!"




* of course I wasn't sorry, just trying to be polite to her.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2008, 01:09:09 PM by Drunken Housewife »
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VorFemme

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And we file Sycorax's customer under "those wanting you to perform an anatomical impossibility"

Well - obviously Sycorax should have known that there was someone who would want their mare covered by her boy and FROZEN a few samples to be used before allowing him to be gelded (surgically neutered by removal of the testes).  Seriously - the expense of the liquid nitrogen storage and any preparation costs would not be an issue because that sort of thing can be kept in the freezer at the barn, right?

You have to wonder why she couldn't get her head around "those bits are gone"..............
« Last Edit: November 16, 2008, 01:16:55 PM by VorFemme »
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

hjaye

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I like the ones with the people who think by telling you something is not acceptable is going to change things.

I worked for a company a few years ago that hosted web sites, we also offered a basic email service.

One lady called because she was not getting emails.  I found the problem and corrected it.  Now it had taken her over two weeks to call us and tell us that she was not getting emails.  There was no way we would have known without her calling us.  

First off I kind of get a kick out of someone telling me how these emails are business critical and she must have them.  If they are so critical, why does it take you over two weeks before you notify us of a problem.  If you were expecting fifty to one hundred emails a day, and you didn't get any I would think that would raise a red flag.

Anyway, after I fixed the problem, she then demanded I retrieve all the emails she had not received for the last two weeks.  I explained to her I could not do that, because we didn't have them, we never had them.  I don't know where they were, but they were never on our server.  Anyone that had sent an email to her should have received a non delivery report, because we would not have received them and processed them.

She told me that my answer was unacceptable.  I couldn't tell her that I didn't care if she accepted my answer or not, it would have gotten me written up, and possibly fired, but the end result was, whether she accepted my answer or not, the emails did not exist on our servers, and I had no way of retrieving them.  For all I knew they were bouncing around in space possibly circling the moon, and since I did not have an intergalactic email retriever (they were too expensive) I couldn't suck them back from the vortex of space onto our mail server.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2011, 01:55:32 PM by hjaye »

gibsongirl

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And we file Sycorax's customer under "those wanting you to perform an anatomical impossibility"

Well - obviously Sycorax should have known that there was someone who would want their mare covered by her boy and FROZEN a few samples to be used before allowing him to be gelded.  Seriously - the expense of the liquid nitrogen storage and other preparation would not be an issue because that sort of thing can be kept in the freezer at the barn, right?

Right, because the barn freezer has a pocket compartment that taps directly into e-hell, which has frozen over due to the inanity of the request!

EddiesMom

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When DH worked in radio, someone called to ask him what time it was going to stop raining.  ::)

I worked at a small town radio station.  One day, the power went out.  At that time, the station did not have an emergency generator.  All we could do was sit in the dark and answer the phone.  I cannot tell you how many phone calls we got that went like this: 

CALLER:  Your radio station is off the air! 
ME:  Yes, we are.  Unfortunately the power is out to the entire town and we do not have an emergency generator.  Power company says crews are working on the outage, and they hope to have power restored to town shortly. 
CALLER:  Shouldn't you be making an announcement that the power is out? 
ME:  I'd be happy to do so if we had power.
 

EddiesMom

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I show cats.  At one show a man stopped to look at my cat and asked to buy him. 

ME:  He's not for sale. 
HIM:  Well, then I want to buy one of his kittens. 
ME:  I'm sorry sir, he has not and will not be siring kittens. 
HIM:  You just don't want to sell me a cat!  You're discriminating against me!
ME:  Sir, this cat will not be producing kittens because he is neutered. 
HIM:  What? 
ME:  He has been neutered, sir.  That means his te*ticles have been surgically removed. 

At that point the man had he good sense to look a bit embarassed. 

audrey1962

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I briefly worked at an academic law library. I was a bit naive at the time, as I expected to be assisting professors and students with law research, but in reality, most of the patrons were from the general public. Some were single-practice attorneys, others were legal librarians who couldn't afford the resources we had, and others were those who could not afford or who otherwise refused to hire an attorney and thought they could "do it themselves." Those were always the hardest, as they often did not know what types of materials were in a law library or else they expected the librarians to do their research for them.

The saddest was one woman who called saying that their should be a certain law to protect nursing home residents from X. I explained that there was no such law, she thanked me and hung up. Then she called again next week, and the week after, and the week after that. Soon I realized that she called every week about the same thing and had been doing it for months.

Sycorax

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Hello, VorFemme,

Well - obviously Sycorax should have known that there was someone who would want their mare covered by her boy and FROZEN a few samples to be used before allowing him to be gelded (surgically neutered by removal of the testes).  Seriously - the expense of the liquid nitrogen storage and any preparation costs would not be an issue because that sort of thing can be kept in the freezer at the barn, right?
Well, actually we do have a freezer where frozen probes are stored (between you and me: I've even stored a few probes from the stallion the lady wanted. However, after his dead his owner ordered me to give them only to mares who are up to a certain, clearly defined standard. The lady's mare certainly didn't belong in this class), so that wouldn't have been the problem.
However, even if I would have a probe from my boy, the lady wouldn't want to have a foal from him because no German breeding club would give her papers for it. They demand that all stallions used for breedings get their approval and do certain tests. Horses without papers are only worth half of horses with papers.

Quote
You have to wonder why she couldn't get her head around "those bits are gone"..............
Probably for the same reason she couldn't get that it isn't only the colour of the stallion which makes for the colour of the foal, but the colour of the mother too.

Sycorax
"I sometimes wonder why people who don't have the slightest glue about genetic try to breed horses ..."