Monday, April 10, 2017

Customer is King

From the supply department:

To be posted at all our Library's public office supply areas (near the copiers):

Dear Patrons:

We at the library have found it gratifying that after years of serving you, providing information, books, CDs, and DVDs, in an unending and ever updating stream, we have finally discovered what you really love: Paper Clips.

I wish you had mentioned your love of paper clips 20 years ago. Believe it or not we here at the library find it gratifying to provide you with what you need. If only you had dropped us a note in the suggestion box we could have bought fewer Nicholas Sparks books and more tubs of paper clips. We staff members could have kept great fistfulls of paper clips on our persons at all times and, in the midst of tense overdue fine negotiations, whipped out a few paper clips. 

"Would you care for a few complimentary paper clips?" We could ask, and then watch your faces suffuse with joy, all your acrimony towards the library utterly forgotten.

And perhaps therein lies the key. There are no return dates for paper clips. There are no late charges for paper clips. One doesn't have to pay for a lost paper clip, one can just take another paper clip, no questions asked.

So now we know. Finally we have tapped into your secret heart. Expect fewer Lee Child books around here and more paper clips. As of today we will prioritize paper clips.

So take a paper clip. Take as many as you want. You clearly already know how to do so. Take the whole box. We'll just bring out a new one. Use them to hold paper together, fasten them into jewelry, employ them to make crude repairs on your shoes, or start a mini business reselling them on Ebay. It's up to you! We only want to see you happy.

Go easy on our rubber bands though. They don't exactly grow on trees.

With regard and affection,

The Library (Supplies Department)


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I have prepared this response for you, which will also show up as my blog post in a couple of days:

      In the early afternoon at work I drank too much coffee and it caused the library to lurch in a disquieting way every minute or two. I wandered around downstairs trying to gather the strength to shelve a cart of books for so long that one of my colleagues asked if they could give me directions somewhere.

      "No." I said. "I'm just gathering strength to go shelve that cart of books." I pointed vaguely. Then half of the library sort of dipped, and I felt woozy.

      When I finally went upstairs the copy of The Ship of the Line that I put in a featured place on an end cap was still there, untouched, more than a week later. There really is no accounting for taste.

      This morning I saw on my blog that someone left a comment indicating that they were amused by an old post I wrote concerning paperclips. How on earth, I wondered, did they even find it? It's nice they liked it. But I've been doing this for awhile and so a little part of me gets very quiet and thinks "It all ends in tears."

      We come for the comedy and the poetry kills us. Or we come for the poetry and the comedy does.


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.