Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Why am I having so much trouble understanding customer's questions lately?

Am I losing my hearing or are they just speaking gibberish?

You'd think it would be simple. "I want a book by (blah blah) and I think it's called (blah blah)." Instead, I get Mr. I Need to Buy the First in a Series that I Can't Remember Anything About.

Me: Have you been helped?

Mr. INBFSICRAA: No. I'm looking for a book by Forsythe.

Me: Do you remember the author's first name?


Me: Do you know what the book is about?

Mr. INBFSICRAA: No. It's a series though.

Me: Do you mean the Forsythe saga?

Mr. INBFSICRAA looks at me like I'm crazy: No. I think her first name is Kate.

(I do a phonetic search for Kate Forsythe and come up with a bunch of science fiction books by an author named Kate Forsyth.)

Me: Do you know which one you are looking for?

Mr. INBFSICRAA: The first one.

(Our stupid database/search engine doesn't have a spot for the series title or number except in the summary that you have to click on the book to get to, so I try the one with the earliest copyright date and when that doesn't help I have to through them one by one. Mr. INBFSICRAA starts to get impatient.)

Me: Do you think you might recognize the title if I read them to you?

Mr. INBFSICRAA is incredibly impatient and so I just turn the screen around even though that's not actually faster because I still have to scroll for him. He does recognize it - only we don't have it at the moment because someone apparently came in and bought up all this author's books recently.

If I were a better person or a better employee, I'd feel much more sympathy for Mr. INBFSICRAA.

Or maybe I would just feel more sympathetic towards him if I actually believed that he didn't remember that it was fantasy/scifi, seeing as how that bit of information was more useful than the fact that it was part of a series and would have saved us both time.

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