Trying To Ruin My Day!
by Roz Warren
If you work
with the public, youre stressed.
Unreasonable customers. Demanding bosses. Reduced
staffing. I love my job, but the workload is
tough and getting tougher. What can we do to keep
our spirits up?
Appreciation! Its simple. Assign a point
value to each annoying thing that happens during
a typical work day. When something takes place
that stresses you out, you dont scream,
quit, or deck the offending customer. You earn
valuable points! The first person to reach 100
points gets to slap the next member of the public
who gives her attitude, as her co-workers cheer.
doesnt. Thats only in the version of
the game for folks whove just won the
lottery. But what about this -- if you win, you
can put your feet up in the staff lounge, pull
out your cell and waste twenty minutes gabbing.
can draw up its own Aggravation List. In the
suburban library where I work, for instance,
wed get points each time a patron goes
ballistic about paying a twenty cent fine, or
screams at us to check her movies out faster
because its a hot day and the ice cream in
the trunk of her Lexis is melting.
annoying the incident, the more points. A mom
chats blithely on her cell as her toddler heads
into the elevator alone, causing you to drop
everything to go on a Rescue Mission? Five points!
A man with no library card and no ID gets up in
your grille because you refuse to let him check
out a dozen DVDs? Ten points! And when a
patron sneaks an overdue book back onto the shelf,
then pretends to find it and insists
that he returned it last week, dont call
him a lying snake! Smile, waive his fine, and
award yourself bonus points.
youll be pushing each other out of the way
to help your most difficult customers. The guy
who sneers at everything you say? Youll be
thrilled to see him. The woman who never says
please or thank you?
Youll treasure each encounter. The
teenager who calls you a witch because you ask
her to remove her ear buds so you dont have
to compete with Taylor Swift when youre
trying to talk to her? Youll want to give
her a big hug.
The only risk
youll run that youll be tempted to
provoke your nicer customers into behaving like
jerks, just to up your score.
returning this book late, but Im happy to
pay the fine because I love the library, a
patron might say to me.
sure you dont want to scream about it?
Ill plead. I have 95 points. All I
need is 5 more. Go ahead -- vent!
Appreciation will get you through those moments
when you encounter something so unquestionably
rude or bizarre that its hard to believe
its actually happening. A woman approached
the circulation desk at the library where I work
last week and said, My car has a flat tire.
you like to use our phone to call Triple A?
someone HERE change my tire? she asked.
say. This is a public library, not a garage.
Or comment that when I spent a large chunk
of my paycheck on the Eileen Fisher dress I was
wearing, auto mechanic wasnt
exactly the look I was going for.
I just smiled
and handed her the phone. If Id been
playing Customer Appreciation, that little
encounter would have been a twenty-pointer -- at
fun, you say. But youre afraid youd
never be able to amass 100 points by the end of a
Are you sure
you work with the public?
first appeared on www.womensvoicesforchange.org.