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  • December 11, 2017, 02:04:26 AM

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Author Topic: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)  (Read 1506146 times)

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Clair Seulement

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Twelve years ago I worked at a large chain bookstore that opened at 9 am. A guy called the store around 10 am one day, saying he was looking for a book. "OK Sir! Do you know the title and author?" He says, "I don't know the title or the author, but it was just on the Today Show a little while ago." Well, I thought, I am at work here, I haven't been watching the Today Show. Gently pressed, the caller could come up with nothing else helpful enough to yield any results in what meager catalog search we were able to perform in the store at the time (this was before we had internet or smart phones that would enable us to see who'd been on Good Morning America, and before one could rewind their cable box DVR).

Similar things happened fairly often. I could never understand how, if you found a book so compelling-sounding that you immediately sought it out, you could fail to retain even a single useful detail about the product!

I had to check that I hadn't written the above in a multiple-personality moment!  I used to work in a mall bookstore twenty years ago.  One morning, a woman sailed in and demanded "that book they were talking about on the radio right now".  When pressed, she couldn't give any details as to name of book, author, subject of book, or even on what radio station she'd heard about it!  All she knew was that it was a "big book" and that "it's red".

I gently informed her that I really needed more information to be able to help her, as I didn't recall any big red books off the top of my head.  "Well, you should know about books they're going to talk about on the radio!  How stupid are you?" she sniffed, and flounced out.  Yeah, lady, we sort our books by colour and size and we always know if an author is on a tour pushing his/her book...  ::)

Customers like her are one of the many, many reasons that I do not work retail anymore.

It's great to commiserate, is it not? Why would you remember the cover color and nothing else? It's the type of thing no one would believe me about when it happened (except my co-workers of course).

Usually cover art is distinctive and you can remember it. For example I collect books from several authors. i don't always know if I have a title but I can tell by looking at the cover if it is one I have or not. I can remember the cover art a lot easier then the writing on the cover.

Absolutely, but this person was listening about the book on the radio!

Clair Seulement

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No they are all out of print
http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/chapter-and-verse/2012/0314/Encyclopedia-Britannica-puts-an-end-to-print-publishing

And even back then, we didn't have one in the store anyway! (I guess you could really only get them from travelling salesmen).

I wonder if that guy ever learned to use the internet. Or where the library was...

purplemuse

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Still off topic and on the other hand, and pre-Amazon: I went to a large chain book store that has since gone out of business (Crown?). I knew exactly what children's books I wanted, authors, titles, publishers, and even the cover art. (I was a school librarian.) A service person asked if she could help me and I explained what I was looking for and would be glad to find them myself but I couldn't figure out how the primary books were organized. She said, "By size just so they look good." I said my thanks in stunned disbelief, turned around and had a great time at Barnes and Noble.

So, as a patron,  searching for books through hundreds of books of a size was not going to happen!

I can just imagine a bizarro world conversation in this place:

Customer: I'm looking for "Illustrated Fairy Tales" by The Brothers Grimm.
Employee: Hmm... I'm going to need some more information. Can you tell me the size?
Customer: Excuse me?
Employee: The size; you know, is it 8"x10"? 9"x12"?
Customer: I-- I don't know, I just found the information online.
Employee: How about the color? Sometimes we can find books by the color of their cover...

PastryGoddess

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Still off topic and on the other hand, and pre-Amazon: I went to a large chain book store that has since gone out of business (Crown?). I knew exactly what children's books I wanted, authors, titles, publishers, and even the cover art. (I was a school librarian.) A service person asked if she could help me and I explained what I was looking for and would be glad to find them myself but I couldn't figure out how the primary books were organized. She said, "By size just so they look good." I said my thanks in stunned disbelief, turned around and had a great time at Barnes and Noble.

So, as a patron,  searching for books through hundreds of books of a size was not going to happen!

I can't imagine why on earth they went out of business...

AdakAK

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Usually cover art is distinctive and you can remember it. For example I collect books from several authors. i don't always know if I have a title but I can tell by looking at the cover if it is one I have or not. I can remember the cover art a lot easier then the writing on the cover.

Yes!  I hate it when they change the cover art and I think I've somehow found a book I missed written by a favorite author, only to start reading it and realize it's just new art.   >:( 

On topic was the man screaming at the office staff of our Dr's office.  His child went for a well child visit, and the Dr discovered an ear infection.  His insurance doesn't cover well visits, but does cover sick visits.  He wanted them to change the coding, since she was sick, even though he didn't know it.  Well visits are more time and cost more, so they explained that they'd have to ask the Dr if she was ok with it.  He would not stop yelling at them "But she had an ear infection!"  I was standing as far away as I possibly could but he repeated everything they said at max volume.  :/  Sadly, I would be willing to bet you money if he came in and explained that he had no coverage for a well visit, that our Dr would be willing to do the extra checks during a sick visit.  She's really, really nice and willing to work things so you aren't out $$$ because of how your insurance works.

Sirius

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In my job I keep good records.   They come in very handy; last year, about six months after I'd started working for a new account, I got a call from my boss.  Apparently the former account was looking for one particular dictation, and the records showed that I had transcribed it.  My records showed that I had been unable to transcribe the dictation because it had been inaudible, and that I had notified the client of this.  My boss was thrilled; she said, "Thank goodness you keep good records!" 

Years ago a PA who came into my cubicle years ago and asked for a reprint of a dictation he had done.  He couldn't remember the name of the patient, or the date or type of dictation - he just knew he had done it.  Fortunately he hadn't dictated many, so it wasn't that hard to track down, and I accused him of breaking my crystal ball (a cheap paperweight sitting on my desk that looked like a crystal ball that had been dropped from a great height.)  At least his was easier to track down than the phone message I got that said, "When is my dictation going to be ready?"  That was it - no name, no department, nothing.     

BB-VA

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Still off topic and on the other hand, and pre-Amazon: I went to a large chain book store that has since gone out of business (Crown?). I knew exactly what children's books I wanted, authors, titles, publishers, and even the cover art. (I was a school librarian.) A service person asked if she could help me and I explained what I was looking for and would be glad to find them myself but I couldn't figure out how the primary books were organized. She said, "By size just so they look good." I said my thanks in stunned disbelief, turned around and had a great time at Barnes and Noble.

So, as a patron,  searching for books through hundreds of books of a size was not going to happen!

I can't imagine why on earth they went out of business...

Actually, it was due to a massive family battle.  I don't know if anything is left of the Haft family empire. (Crown Books, Dart Drug, Trak Auto,  Total Wine)

It's a shame, in a way.  Crown Books did have GREAT discounts.   I went to browse, and I had no problems.  However, if I were in Luci45's shoes, I probably would have run screaming from the building.
 
"The Universe puts us in places where we can learn. They are never easy places, but they are right. Wherever we are, it's the right place and the right time. Pain that sometimes comes is part of the process of constantly being born."
- Delenn to Sheridan: "Babylon 5 - Distant Star"

snowflake

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A couple of years ago I talked to someone who HAD to get in touch with a past employee.

Our conversation was several rounds of:

Her: You're making it very difficult to get through to you.  This is a very important matter and I need her contact information NOW.
Me: I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but she passed away from cancer last year.

She would continue to insist that I didn't understand and that I was being obstructionist.  She asked to speak to the manager (which was myself.)  Honestly, woman!  If there was someone else who could deal with you, I'd have passed you off without a second thought!

I don't think she expected me to be Harry Potter because even in Harry Potter they can't bring back the dead. 

Elfmama

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A couple of years ago I talked to someone who HAD to get in touch with a past employee.

Our conversation was several rounds of:

Her: You're making it very difficult to get through to you.  This is a very important matter and I need her contact information NOW.
Me: I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but she passed away from cancer last year.

She would continue to insist that I didn't understand and that I was being obstructionist.  She asked to speak to the manager (which was myself.)  Honestly, woman!  If there was someone else who could deal with you, I'd have passed you off without a second thought!

I don't think she expected me to be Harry Potter because even in Harry Potter they can't bring back the dead.
Did you actually use the word DEAD?  Maybe she didn't understand the euphemism "passed away" and though the woman had just quit?
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Common sense is not a gift, but a curse.  Because then
you have to deal with all the people who don't have it.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

WolfWay

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Not so much an impossible customer request as an impossible boss request.

Big big boss is going on a "Tidy up the office" rampage this week. That means that he just spent five minutes stomping around our office grumping at everyone about how untidy our desks were and he want these desks clean. NOW.

Dear boss, you can have one of two things: Me with all my necessary work notes spread around the desk in front of me so I can reference them as I work, or me with a completely bare desk and completely unable to do any work at all. Which would you prefer?

I live in a Dilbert cartoon.
<3

MrTango

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A couple of years ago I talked to someone who HAD to get in touch with a past employee.

Our conversation was several rounds of:

Her: You're making it very difficult to get through to you.  This is a very important matter and I need her contact information NOW.
Me: I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but she passed away from cancer last year.

She would continue to insist that I didn't understand and that I was being obstructionist.  She asked to speak to the manager (which was myself.)  Honestly, woman!  If there was someone else who could deal with you, I'd have passed you off without a second thought!

I don't think she expected me to be Harry Potter because even in Harry Potter they can't bring back the dead.
Did you actually use the word DEAD?  Maybe she didn't understand the euphemism "passed away" and though the woman had just quit?

At some point, I probably would have lost it and said "Ma'am"...waited for silence and then proceeded very slowly..."She is dead.  She died.  She is no longer alive.  She. Is. Dead."

Probably not polite, but if she hadn't gotten the point up until then...

Dr. F.

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A couple of years ago I talked to someone who HAD to get in touch with a past employee.

Our conversation was several rounds of:

Her: You're making it very difficult to get through to you.  This is a very important matter and I need her contact information NOW.
Me: I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but she passed away from cancer last year.

She would continue to insist that I didn't understand and that I was being obstructionist.  She asked to speak to the manager (which was myself.)  Honestly, woman!  If there was someone else who could deal with you, I'd have passed you off without a second thought!

I don't think she expected me to be Harry Potter because even in Harry Potter they can't bring back the dead.
Did you actually use the word DEAD?  Maybe she didn't understand the euphemism "passed away" and though the woman had just quit?

At some point, I probably would have lost it and said "Ma'am"...waited for silence and then proceeded very slowly..."She is dead.  She died.  She is no longer alive.  She. Is. Dead."

Probably not polite, but if she hadn't gotten the point up until then...

I'd be tempted to respond, "Well, I believe she's still in CrestView cemetary, plot #1234. You could try her there."

T'Mar of Vulcan

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At some point, I probably would have lost it and said "Ma'am"...waited for silence and then proceeded very slowly..."She is dead.  She died.  She is no longer alive.  She. Is. Dead."
I'd be tempted to respond, "Well, I believe she's still in CrestView cemetary, plot #1234. You could try her there."

She wouldn't voom if you put four million volts through her. She's bleeding demised. Bereft of life! She rests in peace!
She is no more. She has ceased to be. She has run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. She is an EX-EMPLOYEE!


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hobish

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All the library talk reminds me of when I had the impossible request. I had heard a great band at my friendís house, and decided to go to Tunes looking for it. The only problem was, when I got there I couldnít for the life of me remember the name; but I knew if I saw it I would recognize it, so I just figured Iíd browse. Poor poor me having to browse in the CD shop. ;)   Buuut, Gish got it in his head to ask for help for me. So there is the poor hippie at the counter asking what I am looking for and all I can tell him is it is a metal band (?) I guess (?) and there is an M in the name. No, I donít think it starts with M, I donít remember what it starts with, I just think there is an M in it somewhere. Luckily, I explained that is why I wasnít asking for help and we kind of laughed. I did find it; it was Fear Before the March of Flames.
It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
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LazyDaisy

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At some point, I probably would have lost it and said "Ma'am"...waited for silence and then proceeded very slowly..."She is dead.  She died.  She is no longer alive.  She. Is. Dead."
I'd be tempted to respond, "Well, I believe she's still in CrestView cemetary, plot #1234. You could try her there."

She wouldn't voom if you put four million volts through her. She's bleeding demised. Bereft of life! She rests in peace!
She is no more. She has ceased to be. She has run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. She is an EX-EMPLOYEE!

No, no she's resting.
"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." ó Douglas Adams