Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Rudeness doesn't pay.

I had two encounters with rudeness in the last couple of days, and they've got me thinking.

Last night I had a patron at the library ask me for additional time on the computer. I knew he'd already had one extension, so I told him, "Usually we don't extend more than half an hour..." Before I could finish what I was saying, he was interrupting with, "Well, we'd better fix that, because I'm working on something very important..." etc. etc. He went on and on about how he was doing some kind of test that was very critical. He wasn't chatting or playing games like "...these kids around here." so I'd better jump right quick and give him his time. In the end, I did. I would have been willing to do it anyway, as we often make exceptions in extenuating circumstances, but he managed to convince myself, my colleagues, and every patron within earshot of his self-importance and general boorishness. I imagine that he's the same kind of person who parks their SUV on the line between two spaces because they're clearly twice as important as anyone else.

That attitude, that doing work or schoolwork on the computers is more important than playing games or checking personal e-mail, is quite common among our patrons. I wonder, if we transfer that to other library services, would they still have the same opinion? Should folks checking out non-fiction books for research get in line before those with the latest John Grisham or Stephen King? Should documentaries check out for two weeks, while feature films only get one? I'm sure some people might feel that way, but they'd agree that everyone should be treated the same. Why not computer users as well?

My second experience happened this afternoon. There was a cell phone left at the library more than a month ago, so I offered to take it to the Cingular dealer and see if they could track down the owner. The employee who helped me looked up the customer's record and called a couple of alternate numbers to track him down. When he got him on the phone and identified himself, "This is J___ with Cingular Wireless..." the customer responded, "Here, let me give you my e-mail. It's spelled K-I-S-S-M-Y..." Hurriedly, J___ told him that he was calling because someone had returned his phone. The customer said he'd be in to pick it up, and hung up. After J___ relayed this to me, he told me that if the guy didn't pick it up in a day, the phone was mine! This would work out very well for me, since my current phone isn't working very well.

Take this as a lesson, my faithful readers. You catch more flies with honey. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. It's true. Be nice.

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