Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Getting Down to the Wire

April 15th inches closer and it shows at DeskSlave Central. Some very lovely people from the AARP come to many libraries, including ours, to offer FREE tax help to the citizenry. Actually, I think it's supposed to be for low income folks and the elderly, but they don't turn anybody away. It's around this that I have really been seeing the entitlement claws come out. For example, there might be a few appointments left in the second week of April, but I doubt it. That's how it works: something is free, so it gets snapped up. I did not do particularly well in Microeconomics, but I seem to remember that. So the surprise and anger I see when people simply cannot believe that they can't have a free session with a tax preparer because they waited too long is funny and a little disturbing.

The whole AARP thing is not run by the library, we just provide the space and let them stick an appointment book on a table in the library. We aren't taking appointments over the phone, since that's about all we'd do these days. So there is plenty of anger over the phone, since people don't want to go to all the trouble of driving over to the library to sign up for tax preparation services that are worth easily $100. Hint to those of you who would like to game the system: when you call and the semi-kindhearted deskslave answers and tells you that he isn't going to run over to the appointment book and sign you up you can go one of two ways. See if you can tell which one would work with him:
a) "So you mean to tell me that you won't walk ten feet over to the book and tell me what appointments are open? Get me you MANAGER!"
b) "I understand. It's not the policy and you'd nothing else all day, but I'm a senior citizen on a fixed income and can't really afford the bus fare to the library, what with the medication I have to buy for my seizures and my dropsy and the chillblains, but I'd sure appreciate it if you would make an exception, just this one time."
"Wait a second!" I hear you say. "The B in Answer B is short for BS!" And you're right, but BS is easier to take than entitlement.

The cake-taker this past week when it comes to tax help entitlement was from the woman who marched up to the desk all angry. She was angry because she had missed her appointment. It was her fault, though, right? No. It was our fault. Because we failed to give her a reminder call. You know, like we're supposed to.

1 comment:

shushie said...

I understand any time I'm dealing with an angry patron that it is first and foremost completely my fault.