Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Meaning is Lost in Just 15 Feet

We have only one phone at the Ref desk, and it's pretty busy. We say "no" when people ask to use it. We refer them to the pay phone (Yep--they still exist!) which typically gets the kind of facial reaction you'd expect if we suggested they lick the floor beneath the men's urinal. I always add that if they have absolutely no money whatsoever, they could ask politely at the Circulation desk. The nice people in circ have a nice little cordless phone that they might loan out under certain circumstances. And that's the rigmarole I went through with the woman at the desk. Our interaction didn't start well. She walked up and I gave her my boilerplate "Hi! Can I help you find something?"

"Yeah, I need the phone."

So blah blah blah pay phone blah blah MAYBE circ desk blah blah, etc.

She turned and walked over to the circ desk which is maybe 15 feet away. The nice circ clerk greeted the patron.

The patron jerked her thumb back at me. "He said I could use your phone."

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