Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hey, just stop and smell the flowers, Y'all

I was at the information desk helping a father and his gradeschool daughter look for some specific titles and putting them on hold when ours were checked out or only available at another branch. Suddenly another patron marched up and without any kind of "excuse me" interrupeted, "Why is your Internet so slow?"

I was a little surprised at the interruption, since I was clearly helping another patron at that moment. Also, in spite of my technical expertise, 1) there are a number of things that could make the Internet perform slowly; 2) all those things are out of my immediate control; 3)although I could (and would) ask ITS help about it, it still wouldn't tell right now why.

So I answered, "Because life is unfair?"

The patron's anger increased, and he said, "Just F- you" and stormed out. I didn't even have time to appologize, to point out I was with another patron if he had somehow missed that fact.

A few moments later, Julie S. (from circulation) came up and said that a man on the phone wanted to talk with the bearded man and that was either Peter or me. I asked if the caller was cranky and when she said yes, I said the call was for me and please ask if he could hold since I was helping another patron at this time.

When I was done assisting the patron at the desk, I answered the phone. "B--- R--- Library, reference, how may I help you?" The caller, who had waited about two or three minutes on hold was the man who had been angry and left. He didn't give any question nor task that I might help him with, but instead told me that I was fat, useless piece of *excrement*, *curse* me, and I'd better watch myself because he had his eye on me, and so did some others. He didn't speak about the Internet issue, or really give me any opportunity to help or explain.

I said, "Okay, thanks. Good bye" and hung up the phone.