News: IT'S THE 2ND ANNUAL GUATEMALA LIBRARY PROJECT BOOK DRIVE!    LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF SCIENCE BOOKS THIS YEAR.    Check it out in the "Extending the Hand of Kindness" folder or here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=139832.msg3372084#msg3372084   

  • August 18, 2017, 04:17:16 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)  (Read 1377247 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

faithlessone

  • Member
  • Posts: 2526
Ugh, my boss is a darling man in most other respects, but he DOES NOT UNDERSTAND our computer system. He seems to think it's capable of an awful lot that it just seriously isn't. He also seems to think that it does certain things automatically, which it can't - it's part of my job (and the other "office girl") to go in and manually change these records so they work.

He's been talking for a little while about implementing a new computer system, which is newer and shinier and has a lot of fancy bells and whistles, but the office manager checked it out, and it would actually make our job even more complicated and time consuming than the current one. Boss keeps saying "Oh, but it has X, Y and Z (fancy, but unnecessary things)", to which we all respond "Yes, but it doesn't have A or B (vitally important administrative boring bits)".

Professional computer systems are the bane of my life.

cwm

  • Member
  • Posts: 2337
Ugh, my boss is a darling man in most other respects, but he DOES NOT UNDERSTAND our computer system. He seems to think it's capable of an awful lot that it just seriously isn't. He also seems to think that it does certain things automatically, which it can't - it's part of my job (and the other "office girl") to go in and manually change these records so they work.

He's been talking for a little while about implementing a new computer system, which is newer and shinier and has a lot of fancy bells and whistles, but the office manager checked it out, and it would actually make our job even more complicated and time consuming than the current one. Boss keeps saying "Oh, but it has X, Y and Z (fancy, but unnecessary things)", to which we all respond "Yes, but it doesn't have A or B (vitally important administrative boring bits)".

Professional computer systems are the bane of my life.

My boss at one point wanted me to run reports on various facets of our files. One of the things he wanted was to see when a file was created and when the first time someone made a phone call on the file was. I explained to him that short of tying the phone systems to the software we use (impossible, neither system is set up to do that) or relying on the employees to update their notes in the file (unreliable, this was why we were running the report, because they apparently can't be trained to add notes to the files to begin with) that there was no way to tell when initial contact with the client had been made. He kept insisting that there had to be a way for that, but also that I was to come up with three other reports to keep track of things.

I did my best, sent them to him, and forgot all about it. Nearly two months later he comes up with these brand new reports (!) that are identical to mine, except with about two more features that make sense and about fifty fields that absolutely do not matter for the point of these reports. And he said he's solved the whole problem of initial contact. See, there's this field in the software that he's pulling information from, it's this one that the employees filled in on their own. And the date can be changed at will, it's not automatically set. So even though the employees can falsify it or add notes in later, this is a FOOLPROOF idea and it will work for these reports.

Yeah, I no longer run those reports. Higher levels of management found that one report to be unusable because it relied on employee input and therefore the rest of them aren't usable either. It's all or nothing.

PeterM

  • Member
  • Posts: 2326
We had some patrons yesterday who kinda toed the special snowflake line, but the remark that really bugged me feels like it fits better here.

They waited until the library was closed to bring their DVDs up to check out, and then got annoyed when my coworker informed them that they had fines from the last time they checked out. They had eight DVDs that were all returned three days late, so at 25 cents a day that adds up to six dollars. One of the family said, and I quote,

"There shouldn't be fines until they're, like, three weeks late."

DVDs check out for one week. But apparently there should be no fines until you've had them for four times that long. After being informed that, just, no, the patron at least had the sense to back down from that position. But then she said there should be a grace period where they don't charge fines.

Now that's neither an impossible request nor a special snowflake attitude, in and of itself. Some libraries do things that way, but mine doesn't. She wanted us to break the rules and give just them a grace period, and that's not an impossible request but definitely a request I was not willing to grant. But the general idea of a grace period is fine. I personally have never liked the idea, though, because as far as I'm concerned you've already got a grace period. We check DVDs out for one week and books out for two or four weeks, depending, and that right there is your grace period. Bring the items back or renew them on time and you won't get any fines. It's not rocket science.

Grace periods also breed more entitlement, at least in my experience. If the library has a three day grace period and only starts charging fines on day four, you will inevitably get hordes of people bringing back their items four days late but arguing they shouldn't have to pay fines because, "It's only a day late!" No. Just no.

2littlemonkeys

  • Member
  • Posts: 2883
I often think the people I support think I have a magic wand or something.  Or am on a first name basis with the FAA and/or the CEOs of major airlines.

Someone wanted to get from My City to Another City by air and they wanted to leave at a certain time on a certain airline.

The airline did go to Another City but not at the times my CW wanted.  I looked up another airline and they did have the preferred departure time to Another City.  Problem was, CW hates alternate airline.

I checked a few other carriers but the rest all had stops and only non-stop is acceptable.

So the choices were:

Leave for Another City on earlier or later than preferred but on favorite airline

Leave for Another City at preferred time but on hated airline.


Her response was, "Well, neither of those work for me."  Full stop.

I'm not exactly sure what she wanted me to do.  She eventually made a decision but only after I reminded her a couple of times that I didn't possess the ability to change airline schedules.

I had a similar conversation with someone else who wanted to stay at a particular hotel property at a certain time.  The problem was, the room rate far exceeded our allowed rate and I told her so.  "Well, I won't stay anywhere else."  I told her that if she could get approval from on high, I'd be more than happy to book the room for her.  And then her boss told her she had to find a cheaper hotel. 

I'm just a secretary.  I don't control the airlines or hotel rates.  Honest!

Hillia

  • Member
  • Posts: 3328
I think a lot of this 'That's unacceptable' or 'That won't work for me' is an example of a good thing - assertiveness training - run amok.  I remember maybe 20 years ago buying a Jack Canfield audiocassette series (Jack Canfield is the original editor of the 'Chicken Soup' series of inspirational books, and also a motivational speaker).  I can remember very distinctly on one of his self-help tapes his advice to calmly say 'That's unacceptable' when you're presented with an outcome that you don't want, and to just stand there repeating it (calmly and politely) until you get what you want. 

On ehell we often go with the broken record response to unreasonable requests ('I'm sorry, that won't be possible') which is kind of the flip side of this, but Jack's point was that everyone in the universe not only had the ability but also the responsibility to provide you with the outcome you wanted in every interaction, and if  you just stood there long enough repeating your mantra, you would eventually get what you want.  I can see this up to a point; certainly there are times when people just blow you off.  No refund for your raw chicken dish in a restaurant?  I'm sorry, that's not acceptable.  But you have to temper that with some common sense; if the manager absolutely refuses and is about to call the police, choose your battles and hit Yelp as soon as you get home.

MissRose

  • Member
  • Posts: 1608
I had a customer call in and ask us "Can you locate all of our email on your servers and send it on to us?" after we had an issue with the servers that held up mail delivery and the servers were fixed.

Nice try...  we have too many mail servers and try to find all of the mail that belonged to her? She had 20+ email accounts too.

Elfmama

  • Member
  • Posts: 4594
  • Derailing threads since 2001!
As background, I'm going to babble about my hobby here, the Society for Creative Anachronism. We are a non-profit group that researches and recreates the Middle Ages and Renaissance, with about 40,000 members worldwide. 

In the Society, I am a herald.  My job is to help people create a persona, a person who could have lived in that era, complete with a name and a coat of arms.   All name components must be documentable to the Society's time period.  Such name and arms are submitted to the Laurel King of Arms, the Society officer who registers them so that no one can use a name or arms that are too similar. 

As part of the paperwork to register a name, people have a number of choices.  One of them is an option to have a name modified to make it authentic for a certain language, culture, and/or time period.  So if you submit "Alice Smith" but ask to have it changed into a form authentic for 14th century France, we can do that. 

OK, end of background.  Where the impossible patron requests come into the story is when people submit a name that is impossible to modify in the form requested.  The patron loves the Russian name "Olga" but wants to have it changed to the 10th century Irish form, as if all names have a counterpart in all other languages in all time periods.  Or wants "Willow of the Fairy Hills" because it's her favorite name from a certain bodice-ripper fantasy romance, but has no documentation whatsoever to prove that it is a name actually used by humans in period.  And again, she wants it made authentic for medieval Irish.  We have concluded that what the patrons really want is for us to wave our Magic Herald Wands and change history, so that Olga and Willow really ARE period Irish names.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 10:18:29 PM by Elfmama »
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Common sense is not a gift, but a curse.  Because then
you have to deal with all the people who don't have it.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

snowdragon

  • Member
  • Posts: 1095
As background, I'm going to babble about my hobby here, the Society for Creative Anachronism. We are a non-profit group that researches and recreates the Middle Ages and Renaissance, with about 40,000 members worldwide. 

In the Society, I am a herald.  My job is to help people create a persona, a person who could have lived in that era, complete with a name and a coat of arms.   All name components must be documentable to the Society's time period.  Such name and arms are submitted to the Laurel King of Arms, the Society officer who registers them so that no one can use a name or arms that are too similar. 

As part of the paperwork to register a name, people have a number of choices.  One of them is an option to have a name modified to make it authentic for a certain language, culture, and/or time period.  So if you submit "Alice Smith" but ask to have it changed into a form authentic for 14th century France, we can do that. 

OK, end of background.  Where the impossible patron requests come into the story is when people submit a name that is impossible to modify in the form requested.  The patron loves the Russian name "Olga" but wants to have it changed to the 10th century Irish form, as if all names have a counterpart in all other languages in all time periods.  Or wants "Willow of the Fairy Hills" because it's her favorite name from a certain bodice-ripper fantasy romance, but has no documentation whatsoever to prove that it is a name actually used by humans in period.  And again, she wants it made authentic for medieval Irish.  We have concluded that what the patrons really want is for us to wave our Magic Herald Wands and change history, so that Olga and Willow really ARE period Irish names.


Could the character be the daughter of an Irish woman and a Viking man? since the name is also Scandinavian it could work 

Nibsey

  • Member
  • Posts: 1400
As background, I'm going to babble about my hobby here, the Society for Creative Anachronism. We are a non-profit group that researches and recreates the Middle Ages and Renaissance, with about 40,000 members worldwide. 

In the Society, I am a herald.  My job is to help people create a persona, a person who could have lived in that era, complete with a name and a coat of arms.   All name components must be documentable to the Society's time period.  Such name and arms are submitted to the Laurel King of Arms, the Society officer who registers them so that no one can use a name or arms that are too similar. 

As part of the paperwork to register a name, people have a number of choices.  One of them is an option to have a name modified to make it authentic for a certain language, culture, and/or time period.  So if you submit "Alice Smith" but ask to have it changed into a form authentic for 14th century France, we can do that. 

OK, end of background.  Where the impossible patron requests come into the story is when people submit a name that is impossible to modify in the form requested.  The patron loves the Russian name "Olga" but wants to have it changed to the 10th century Irish form, as if all names have a counterpart in all other languages in all time periods.  Or wants "Willow of the Fairy Hills" because it's her favorite name from a certain bodice-ripper fantasy romance, but has no documentation whatsoever to prove that it is a name actually used by humans in period.  And again, she wants it made authentic for medieval Irish.  We have concluded that what the patrons really want is for us to wave our Magic Herald Wands and change history, so that Olga and Willow really ARE period Irish names.


Could the character be the daughter of an Irish woman and a Viking man? since the name is also Scandinavian it could work

Would Iona work? It kind of rhymes (ok not really, just with my accent  ::) ) with Olga and they both mean blessed?

The Irish for Willow is saileach but I have never ever seen it used as a name.

Poor you  >:(
« Last Edit: August 06, 2013, 07:42:44 AM by Nibsey »
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”- Douglas Adams
Éire (Ireland)

MommyPenguin

  • Member
  • Posts: 4128
    • My blog!
Reminds me of the Doomsday Book.  The character is planning to go back in time (I think to about 14th century England?) and they painstakingly research a name that would have been very common and usual in that time... Isabel, I believe.  The character's name is Kivrin.  She's spent ages preparing her story, etc.  Except that when she arrives back in time, she's sick and delirious.  When asked her name, she tells them her real name, Kivrin, which is nowhere near appropriate.  Conveniently, they hear it as "Katherine," which was a perfectly acceptable name during that time.  Close shave.  :)
Emily is 9 years old!  1/07
Jenny is 7 years old!  10/08
Charlotte is 5 years old!  8/10
Megan is 3 years old!  10/12
Lydia is 1 year old!  12/14

darling

  • Member
  • Posts: 225
OK, end of background.  Where the impossible patron requests come into the story is when people submit a name that is impossible to modify in the form requested.  The patron loves the Russian name "Olga" but wants to have it changed to the 10th century Irish form, as if all names have a counterpart in all other languages in all time periods.  Or wants "Willow of the Fairy Hills" because it's her favorite name from a certain bodice-ripper fantasy romance, but has no documentation whatsoever to prove that it is a name actually used by humans in period.  And again, she wants it made authentic for medieval Irish.  We have concluded that what the patrons really want is for us to wave our Magic Herald Wands and change history, so that Olga and Willow really ARE period Irish names.

LOL, I work ren faires as part of an educational Royal Court (we are paid, and most have theater backgrounds). When I was figuring out my backstory, I searched through the actual records of family names for the nobility of that era, and picked out the one that I liked for my family name (actually belonged to my favorite historical author at the time), parents names, children's' names, etc. 

Back on topic:

As part of our work in the group, we sometimes get requests from other acts, players or vendors to participate in various "play" scenes. As our days are usually heavily scheduled, we have to narrow down what we do participate in, without offending anyone (because we do like these people, and see them throughout the season, year after year). The rules are:

1. The "scene" must have a beginning, middle, and end. No trailing off, or leaving something open ended (yadda yadda, and we're not sure what will happen after that, but we'll figure it out). It's not funny if it just kind of peters out, and it confuses the paying customers.

2. No more than 5-8 minutes long, because it has to be able to hold the attention of the patrons. ("It'll only be about half an hour, no more!" Um, that's show length, and it falls during our lunch break.)

3. It has to make sense, and be appropriate. No kidnapping the under-age-princess type thing (we have no more princesses, partly because of this).

4. It cannot interfere with our normal shows/duties. Don't interrupt a show unless someone is missing, hurt, or dead. Interrupting MY show with your stalker-behaviour will get security called, not a date with me.

5. If you want us to be part of an actual show, you had better have a script, or an idea of how you want people to react, and what you want us to do, and it's best to talk to us before the gates open (but not while we're getting dressed, unless you are a scotsman, and in a great kilt. I will talk to you ANYTIME, and the answer is YES!).

All of us have good improv skills, but there are times when you just don't want to get into something without some idea of what you are supposed to do, how long it will take, and how it ends.

Our standard e-hell-friendly phrase: "I'm sorry, it won't be possible today. Maybe you can work on a plan this evening/week, and email us, and we'll let you know if we can work it in." (it usually ends there, as they never get back to us).

EHell has definitely helped me keep my cool, and to have a polite backbone at faire.

asb8

  • Member
  • Posts: 534
I had a customer call in and ask us "Can you locate all of our email on your servers and send it on to us?" after we had an issue with the servers that held up mail delivery and the servers were fixed.

Nice try...  we have too many mail servers and try to find all of the mail that belonged to her? She had 20+ email accounts too.

I'm sorry I don't understand.  You had an issue with your servers that cause a client's email to vanish?  Asking that their data be retrieved is not an outrageous request.  20+ account or not, if your company is taking her money to provide a service, then you have to do your utmost to provide the service.

Jocelyn

  • Member
  • Posts: 2013
As background, I'm going to babble about my hobby here, the Society for Creative Anachronism. We are a non-profit group that researches and recreates the Middle Ages and Renaissance, with about 40,000 members worldwide. 

In the Society, I am a herald.  My job is to help people create a persona, a person who could have lived in that era, complete with a name and a coat of arms.   All name components must be documentable to the Society's time period.  Such name and arms are submitted to the Laurel King of Arms, the Society officer who registers them so that no one can use a name or arms that are too similar. 

As part of the paperwork to register a name, people have a number of choices.  One of them is an option to have a name modified to make it authentic for a certain language, culture, and/or time period.  So if you submit "Alice Smith" but ask to have it changed into a form authentic for 14th century France, we can do that. 

OK, end of background.  Where the impossible patron requests come into the story is when people submit a name that is impossible to modify in the form requested.  The patron loves the Russian name "Olga" but wants to have it changed to the 10th century Irish form, as if all names have a counterpart in all other languages in all time periods.  Or wants "Willow of the Fairy Hills" because it's her favorite name from a certain bodice-ripper fantasy romance, but has no documentation whatsoever to prove that it is a name actually used by humans in period.  And again, she wants it made authentic for medieval Irish.  We have concluded that what the patrons really want is for us to wave our Magic Herald Wands and change history, so that Olga and Willow really ARE period Irish names.


Could the character be the daughter of an Irish woman and a Viking man? since the name is also Scandinavian it could work

I'm SCA also.   But unless things are very very different in Elfmama's kingdom, the person registering their name has the obligation to come up with a plausible name and explanation. The herald is supposed to help them find documentation that the name is authentic. Many heralds are very kind and will start earlier in the process, guiding someone with only a vague idea, but that's not a requirement of their job. It would be like hiring an interior decorator for your home, and when she arrives with her samples, telling her you have no idea what color you want to paint your living room, and then moaning that she's no help because she can't show you the perfect color which you will instantly recognize if she just shows it to you... and then not accepting that she cannot get the style of furniture in the fabric you want because you've selected a modern sofa that comes in leather with an aluminum frame, and you want it done in toile. And you want fluffy Cape Cod curtains. 
Way back in time, when the SCA was young, you could get names passed that were not at all authentic. Willow is an example. So a newbie may meet someone who's been SCA since the 1970s, and want to use a similar name, only to be turned down, because the strictness of historical plausibility has increased as knowledge has increased. You can no longer get James of Goetz-Down passed.  ;D

Thipu1

  • Member
  • Posts: 7439
More than 20 years later, this one still makes me laugh.

We had a request at the library.  Someone wanted to write on a friend's cast,  'Sorry about the broken leg.  Get well soon!.  The problem was, he wanted me to tell him how to write the message in Egyptian hieroglyphs --- and he wanted me to do it over the telephone!   :o

missanpan

  • Member
  • Posts: 379
More than 20 years later, this one still makes me laugh.

We had a request at the library.  Someone wanted to write on a friend's cast,  'Sorry about the broken leg.  Get well soon!.  The problem was, he wanted me to tell him how to write the message in Egyptian hieroglyphs --- and he wanted me to do it over the telephone!   :o

I remember you wrote this story! It was HILARIOUS! You should write out your response!