Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Compulsively nice to library patrons


I don't always mean to be nice to library patrons. It's just that sometimes I can't help it.

Here's an example:

A library patron bypasses three, open, very easy to use self check out machines, walks by my front desk co-worker, who is also sitting around poking the Internet, and comes to me at the front desk of my library. They set three books on the counter and utter not a word.

"How can I help you?" I say in a very friendly, welcoming manner because even though I suspect they are going to be asking me to do something for them that they could easily do themselves, what if they aren't? I don't want to feel I was less than supremely welcoming if they surprise me and say something like "Can you suggest any heartwarming romantic comedies for a lonely widower?"

But the patron only blandly says "I'd like to check out my books."

Ah, so it's the pointless thing that they could've done themselves, as I suspected. Naturally I am tempted to make the patron pay for imposing on my time, perhaps by drawing the process out, or maybe by providing an innocent seeming, but annoying reminder, for the patron's own information, that they can also use our lovely, state of the art, self check out machines.

But before I do this, I have pause. 

Why would anyone bypass easy to use self check out machines to come to an irascible middle-aged man like me who already looks super busy on his computer typing a brilliant short essay about library work? No one in their right mind would do this!


Clearly this person is mentally impaired! 

They understand little about institutions and probably couldn't handle a self check out machine if their life depended on it. Well, obviously I'm not going to be anything but incredibly nice to a seriously mentally impaired person like that!

And so I am.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. The library I patronize now does not have RFID barcodes. Checking out a book requires two steps, either one of which sometimes confounds me. First, scan the barcode on the book. There are a handful of precise motions that result in a good scan on the first try and dozens that don't. Watch the screen to make sure the book shows up on the list and has the right shade of green.
    Then the book must be demagnetized by rubbing it on a metal thingy, which usually works.
    So much easier to take your book(s) to the service desk. Of course if you do that, you must hand over your card to be scanned. But if you do that, and the security hooter hoots, at least you know it wasn't your fault.
    Plus, just about everyone here goes to the service desk. I've never seen anyone but me doing self checkout. Really.
    Many of the small libraries in NH still stamp date due cards.


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