Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lighter post: phone options and other tales.

I've heard MORE THAN my fair share of phone options the past 2 years and there are things that just blow my mind (so to speak):

1. Who still uses a rotary phone?

2. "If this is an emergency, hang up and dial '911'." Really? Because I thought I should just call my eye doctor first.

And then today I call the Central Library downtown to see if they ever rent out big books (which they don't-which I found out after I had to explain to them what big books are). Of course there are menu options since it's the main hub of the Erie County library system (and the most magical/overwhelming place ever!), the first of which I was not prepared for:

"Your call may be monitored for quality purposes."

At the LIBRARY???!! First of all, if you have ever been in the central library check-out line you know that they are CLEARLY not concerned with customer service. Most library staffers fall into 4 categories: bitter middle-aged women who hate change, dapper old men who wear bow ties, clueless teenagers, and jolly 90-year-old volunteers (who, unfortunately, most patrons avoid since their grandparent-esque charm doesn't overshadow their speed-or lack thereof). But every workplace has its gems. My sister-in-law, for example would fit into the "gem" category. *Note: I am NOT referring to school librarians.

Who is monitoring these calls? What exactly are they looking for? Is the employee going to recommend a banned book? Maybe the kid in the background ringing the bell as a reward for reading his summer list is ringing too loudly? Did they transfer me to "Mark Twain" instead of "Rare collections"? Or maybe they're listening for me. hmmm. My fines DID go to collections last year. Am I blacklisted?

Maybe I tick them off because perhaps I am overzealous in my clicking of the "request item" button on the website. This requires that the poor workers sift through the children's section, find the book (s) and deliver them to my library of choice. The children's section is a shelving mish-mosh of letters of authors' names. When a parent has finished reading "Cowboy and Octopus" by Jon Scieszka on the carpet with their child they place is in the "s" section. in no particular order. if I want to find it, i look through the "s" section. the ENTIRE "s" section. when I order a book from a different library, THEY look through the entire "s" section and I simply pick it up at the front desk of my library of choice.

if I have options I'm going to take them. without fear of monitoring, without a rotary phone, and, it is hoped, without needing to call 911.

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