Friday, May 18, 2007

I'll Show You "Yelling"

Not long ago, co-worker B and I were talking about a county customer service class she'd just taken -- I think it's the one with the title "It's Not What You Said, It's How You Said It." Instead of remembering the gist of what she told me she learned, I remember that I shared with her that I had lately noticed myself saying, "I'm sorry, we ask that you use your cell phone outside." I have nothing to be sorry about: it's the rule; it's posted on the door, and in about four places inside the building; and it's good manners. Why start off in such a naby-pamby way?

On the one hand, opening with "I'm sorry," is weak; might it be better to open with more authority and avoid weakness? On the other, I guess "I'm sorry" stands in for "Excuse me for interrupting your conversation." More importantly, I find that saying nearly exactly that, to every single person, every time means that grouchy patrons can't accuse me of being rude, singling them out -- or "yelling."

From the ref desk yesterday, I heard sustained conversation from 2/3 of the way across the building. I went to investigate and found a 60-something year old man chatting away on the phone. I said in a quiet voice, "I'm sorry, we ask...." He glanced at me, said into the phone "I'm in the library. And the other thing about blah, blah, blah," and kept browsing DVDs. Maybe he's hard of hearing? "Sir," I began again, "please use your phone outside." "Hold on," he said into phone, "I'm in the library and she's yelling at me."

"Thank you," I said, walking away.

Yelling?! I'll give you yelling: "Outlook! Time to line up," so that it can be heard at tent 6. "Good morning, Pine Ridge!" loud enough that 2 out of 8 teens lift their heads off the pillow. Then there was a classic shouting fit between me and my freshman year roommate at MHC. . . . Buddy, if I "yell" at you, your friend on the other end of the line will know it, not need to be told.

Capital City weather: rainy

8 comments:

sheree said...

Holy smoly. Never seen you so riled up. I agree that you shouldn't feel compelled to start with "I'm sorry." A simple (and loud), "Excuse Me" should suffice. "Excuse me, sir. Please take your conversation outside." In Cell Phone Voice.

And yeah, I'm dying to ask who your rommate was when we were first years.

Lisa said...

OMG, I foget I have actual MHCers in the ol readership!

Her name was Barrett Eadie. For kids from two fairly different worlds, we did okay as roomies, except this one time when there totally was melodramatic-18-year-old shouting over who knows what!

Doots said...

another yell...
trying to get seven actual echos out of 7-echs!

and i guess its easier to paint the librarian as the mean lady yelling at you than to face up to your own lack of courtesy and stunted social growth.

Lisa said...

Sometimes when I tell the kiddies (or the grown women and men I am training) to try to find the 7X spot, they say, No one can really do it, right? And I tell them of women from our ancient past such as Suds and Doots who could do it. Easily.

;-)

BiblioDiva said...

I like it when people are standing at the Reference Desk next to sign that says "No cell phone use in the library" with a big ol' barred circle over the phone, and still talk on their phone!

'cause you know, that sign doesn't apply to them.

Lisa said...

Bibliodiva! I thought you worked in a fancy-schmancy governmental library! People act like that in the hallowed halls of our government?

Daniel said...

I've found a nasty tendency among the human species to believe that Rules Apply to Everyone But Me. Perhaps this is exacerbated by spending my days with teenagers, but... I don't think so. See mine of today (5/24)...

Also, noted with pleasure in the T-D that Kittamaqund may NOT be on the way out after all.

Lisa said...

Dan, You better give Blogger a kick: I don't see a new post at the Marble Bar.