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February 17, 2011 / Christian M.

Apology Accepted

So my Facebook friends already know this, but I think I should post it here too. The main character of These Are The Moments That Make Me Go “Huh”? did come back a few days later and apologize. I saw him as he walked toward the desk, and I just raised my eyebrow at him. I was actually in the middle of looking for a book for a customer. He followed me to the shelves:

Him: “I’m sorry for what I said the other day.”
Me: “Ok, thank you.”
Him: “You know what I mean, right? I’m really sorry.”
Me: “Yes, I know. Thank you. I appreciate that.”

Although the original conversation should have never taken place, I appreciate his apology. Part of customer service is sometimes dealing with psycho difficult people. It’s nice when they (every once in a while) realize their behavior is wrong and try to make amends.

A couple of weeks ago, a woman came in the library and asked for a math book for her children. I took her to the shelves and pulled a few books to help her look through them to see if they met her needs. She was very impatient, and obviously wanted me to produce the correct book in five seconds max. So when she told me the ones I pulled did not have enough practice problems, I realized she wanted a math “workbook.” So I told her I would check the computer again, and if we didn’t have any, I would let her know which branch did. I did end up finding a workbook with the correct content….and after a few more objections from her –“I don’t see multiplication” [it was in another chapter], “I need one with answers so I know if they did it right” [I flipped to the back of the book] –she said “I’ll take it.”

As we walked away from the shelves, something magical happened. She said, “I’m sorry, I know I was impatient. I didn’t think you would be able to help me, I thought I would have to ask the other librarian. Thank you.” Despite all the things I wanted to say, I just simply smiled and said “It’s okay. Have a nice day.”

The rare apology makes it all better…..sort of…..

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6 Comments

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  1. Variegated Stacks / Feb 17 2011 4:19 pm

    It’s good to see that you were able to help her regardless. Working in the public requires patience, anticipating needs, and setting limits- all of which can be challenging at times. Sometimes when I deal with difficult people, I tell myself that their rudeness/attitudes have nothing to do with me. If I ignore their attitude or acknowledge their frustration while assisting them sometimes they will apologize for being so impatient.

    • LibGirl09 / Feb 17 2011 5:07 pm

      Sometimes I feel intimidated by “mean” customers. I don’t know why. Like you, one of my co-workers says she reminds herself that the attitude has nothing to do with her. She says you never know what negative situations people may be dealing with in their lives.

      • Variegated Stacks / Feb 18 2011 9:36 am

        Absolutely true. I think often times, when we approach people with positivity, acknowledging them [at their present circumstance] with compassion- changes the whole tone of the exchange. I learned this approach while working in the human services field. Often I saw people in their hardest moments- it’s easy to become complacent, but I chose to be compassionate in the face of adversity. It isn’t easy, but often I was left surprised by the end of the F2F meetings. My experience working with diverse populations was an awesome skill to have that transferred nicely to my current position as a library assistant. The feelings of intimidation are normal when dealing with “mean” customers, but it takes time to develop a ‘diplomatic’ face.

      • LibGirl09 / Feb 18 2011 11:36 am

        Good point — choosing compassion over complacency. I will definitely continue to work on developing my “diplomatic face.” Thanks for sharing!

  2. MrsTDJ / Feb 18 2011 12:37 pm

    Interesting that he came back to apologize. I didn’t expect that. And I agree with VS – simply stated, I kill em with kindness even when they are acting foolish.

    • LibGirl09 / Feb 18 2011 6:21 pm

      I totally wasn’t expecting the apology either, but hey I’ll take it. He has been nothing but polite ever since….very weird. Thanks for reading my blog! 🙂

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