What the World Needs Now…

Library Custodian: “Do you have a library staff card?”

Me: “No, I just wanted to get a little a water from the-”


Me: “Well…. ok, then…. but…”

Library Custodian: “YOU CAN’T BE HERE!”

Me: “…ok.”

Seriously. I have worked as a telemarketing phoner for a charitable organisation. For more than a year, several nights a week, calling up random individuals, asking them for financial aid. I have been yelled at, called names, cursed at, damned (Ah! La maledizione!), and, as a representitive of the organisation in question, I have been accused of stealing poor innocent people’s money and spending them ruthlessly on expensive lunches. But you know what? During all this I remained polite. I never raised my voice at people. And why? Well, because it makes people uncomfortable. Because it’s rude. And because there is really no reason to – it won’t help anything.

So here’s my question: why does one so often get snapped at, even for the smallest things, by people working within customer service? Will their faces crack if they smile? What is so wrong with politeness? And isn’t politeness and polite smiles, like, part of your job when you’re in customer service? And if you feel like you can’t deliever this, politeness and good-natured directions instead of snapping and yelling, then don’t you think maybe you have the wrong job?

And yes, I’m talking to you, Library Custodian Who Was So Offended By the Sight of Me Getting a Glass of Water in a Plastic Cup That You Felt You Needed to Yell at Me Instead of Just Kindly and Quietly Setting me Straight and Telling Me Where I Might Go to Get Myself Some Water.



This approximately matches the death-stare I received from Library Custodian of Wrath. You’d think I’d, like, had nymph-sex with her husband and then gotten pregnant with his child, but I really only wanted to get myself a plastic cup and some tap water.



March 13, 2007. In the library, Rants.


  1. confidentialattachees replied:

    But Mimi…library custodians are paid to be rude. Didn’t you know? I know – I used to be one and they really trained me to be rude. That’s why they are so good at it.

  2. silke replied:

    …and I thought this was a German phenomenon! We even have a one-word-description for this: SERVICEWÜSTE

  3. confidentialattachees replied:

    Servicewüste! That’s awesome! I am so going to start using that.

    Man, you guys have the greatest expressions. Another favourite of mine is “Treppenwitz” – brilliant expression! Because if one can’t think of the proper snarky come-back till it’s too late, at least one should have the satisfaction of being able to define the situation retrospectively with an awesome expression like “Treppenwitz”.


  4. silke replied:

    ooops! I have to admit that I’ve never heard this expression before, but yes, you are right: It’s awesome!
    Who doesn’t know this situation: a very to-the-point reply comes to your mind – but hours to late!
    Great! I learned a new German (!) word today.
    silke 🙂

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