I work at a local library and I love my job. I’m surrounded by books all day, I work with the most amazing people and smile like an idiot whenever someone rents or returns ‘Eragon’. Most of the costumers are nice and polite and I love helping them out. Since the library is located near an retirement home a big percent of our costumers are old people and I’m convince that they are dived into two group.
One group (and thankfully bigger) is made out of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I love helping them out since they are so grateful when I run around and fetch books for them that it is like I just saved their lives. They seem to always be smiling, apologize greatly for late returns, and are always me favorite costumers. They are very polite and you just wish that you could adopt then as your grandparents.
I hate the other group. Those people almost always have a frown on their faces and seem to loath the younger librarians (I’m in my 20s). They act like everything is an inconvenience and seem to get offended when you smile politely. They bicker when they have to pay 1 or 2 dollar fine (while I’ve had other old costumers pay 50$ fine while apologizing) and complain that you’re stealing their money. They of course do not act like this around the librarians that are over 40. I can run around for hours fetching books and they just reply with a loud grunt and comment on younger people being so lazy these days.
Thankfully it’s rare to deal with bad costumers but coincidently two of the worst costumers I’ve met have been older people. Other age groups can be awful to deal with as well (especially parent that are under the misconception that the library is a playground and the librarians have been waiting excitedly all day to clean up their mess) so it’s just a coincident that both these people happen to be old).
It’s a policy to ask the costumer if they want a printed note with information about what they rented and when the books are due. I great an older woman that chooses to ignore me and scan her books.
Me: “Would you like a note ma’am?”
The costumer looks at me as if I just said the most vile thing imaginable.
Costumer: You do not ask me that young lady!
She start to speak slowly as if she’s speaking to a toddler, rips the note from my hand, and places it inside the book with slow movements.
Costumer: You’re supposed to print the note out silently and place it inside the book like this! You see what I’m doing? You’re not supposed to ask!
Me: I’m sorry m’am, but I can’t know beforehand if the costumers wants the note or not. So I’m required to ask.
The costumer acts clearly offended and looks at me like I’m the most stupid person she’s ever met. I’m puzzled as I’ve never encounter such harsh reaction to what is a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer for other people.
Costumer: Who in the world does not want the note? I can’t see how anybody would not want it!
Me: Well m’am, people tend to be different. I apologize if this has been an inconvenience for you.
Grabbing her books she turns to leave with a frown on her face.
Me: Thank you for visiting and have a nice day
Costumer: You young people are all so rude!
One of the services we provide are computers that you can pay to get access to (the wifi on the other hand is free and open). It’s not part of our job to help the costumers with these computers apart from login in. For some of the older costumers the technology is almost alien. I regularly help them out anyway since everyone is generally nice and haven’t confronted a problem before one curtain gentleman arrives. He pays for access to the computer and starts clicking his fingers to get my attention.
Costumer: “You! Help me!”
I walk over to him and ask what I can do for him. He has manage to figure out how to login on his own so that is not the problem.
Costumer:” I need a ticket to Crete and I don’t understand how to order a ticket. Do it for me!”
As it is a slow day and I’m generally polite I try my best to help him out.
Costumer: “Order a ticket! It’s (names a town)!”
I try my best but since the town he wants to travel to doesn’t have an airport I get nowhere. I have a problem with spelling (You’re always free to point them out to me though J ) and go to google to check if I spelled it correctly. Though he does not comment the costumer lets out a clearly irritated grunt that I choose to ignore.
Costumer: “What is taking so damn long? Just type it in!”
Me: “Sir, the town doesn’t have an airport,”
Costumer: “of course it has! How else am I going to fly to Crete? I’ve been there before you know!”
Me: “Sir, the town doesn’t have an airport. I can only find two airports in Crete so you can pick one and travel to (name the town) by car or other means,”
Costumer: “are you deaf? I want to travel to (he starts to talk loudly and very slowly and spells the town’s name letter by letter). Order the ticket! Now!”
Me: “You only have two options of airports sir, you have to pick one,”
Costumer: “ Why? I’m not traveling there!”
I see the second in command nearby and ask her to help me out. She’s a sharp woman that has a talent of dealing with stubborn costumers without getting a complain. I quickly fill her in about the situation.
Costumer: “I want a ticket to Crete!”
Second in command: “Can’t you go to a travel agency? this is hardly our job”
Costumer: “They are too expensive! I pay for your salary with my taxes! So order my ticket now!”
The second in command looks at him sharply. She tells him that she’s going to fetch a coworker that has a reputation of being good with computers. He arrives and it takes him a good 20 or 30 minutes to help the costumer out with the ticket. Once in a while I hear a loud complain from the costumer but the coworker handles everything with his usual patient and politeness. Afterward the costumer rushes out without as much as a thank you.
Coworker who is clearly shocked: This was really stressful! I kept worrying about sending him to a different country by mistake with no means of returning back!
Second in command adds dryly: I hope you did.