Paste it in the head!

Spinster

Friday, July 28, 2006

Serving the public

I love blogs. The more specific, the better. (Let's not consider the implications of the fact that, while I love blogs that deal with specific subject matter, my own blog is decidedly un-specific.) Obviously, I love knitting blogs and celebrity gossip blogs and, of course, my friends' blogs.

Lately, I've come to realize that I also love library blogs. A couple of them are in my links section, but here's one that I discovered recently: Happyville Library. The writing is great--few grammatical and spelling errors, clear sentences, and a sense of timing and humor. The writer, Happy Villain, chronicles her 13 years of experiences serving the public at a library somewhere outside of Chicago, and she does so with wit and insight. Usually, she details her encounters with the public, who are one hell of a bunch.

I cannot fathom the amount of patience it must take to deal with people like this, day in and day out, over and over and over again. I have worked in customer service. I have seen people at their best and at their worst. I have seen myself at my public-serving best and, unfortunately, my worst. (I can't tell you how many fantasies I've had about ripping certain problem customer's heads off and shoving them down their throats.) Clearly, I do not have one-tenth of the patience and self-preservation instinct that Happy Villain has, and I'm thinking about entering a field that is all about serving these people? Am I sure that this is the right career choice?

When confronted with frustrated, angry people whose goal is, it seems, to berate and insult me, I would surely not be able to sit there and calmly reiterate the rules and policies of my workplace. (However, as my workplaces have always erred on the side of the customer, I would imagine that working in a place that actually has some unbreakable policies would help me in serving the public; it's pretty annoying to be told that "we never, EVER give people a cash or credit card refund for their purchase," when in practice, this policy has a P.S.: "we never, EVER give people a cash or credit card refund for their purchase, except when they bitch and moan at us or when the store owner happens to be in the room." Oh, how I love non-existent policies. Rules exist for a reason, people.)

I understand that blog readers have to take what they read with a grain of salt--obviously, one of the purposes of having a blog is to be able to vent, in writing, about all of the irritating bits of the day that cannot be discussed at work. I'm sure that Happy Villain has a lot of wonderful patrons who make her career worthwhile. I'm just putting myself in her shoes, and I don't know if I can honestly say that one evil patron wouldn't ruin my entire day. I'm an introvert by nature; being around other people just wears me out, no matter how positive the interaction, and to repeatedly encounter confrontational, aggressive people makes me want to change my name to Tenzing Tasha, shave my head, and live in a Tibetan cave.

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