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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Never Before

There’s an old saying that the “customer is always right,” but it doesn’t mean that the customer is always telling the truth. Case in point: 

Recently someone approached the Info desk. He was looking for an automotive repair book, let’s say for a 1995 Ford Taurus. He gave me an approximate title and I looked it up in the library catalogue. 

“This one?” I asked, showing him the book cover on the screen. 

“No, that’s not it – I just returned it last week,” he said. “Try this,” and he offered a variation. 

“Yes, that’s it,” he affirmed when I showed him the next cover. “I just returned it last week.” 

I wrote down the call number. “Do you need me to take you to the shelf or are you able to find it on your own?”

“I’ve never been here before. Could you show me?” 

“Of course.” I did think it was odd that he said he’d never been here before, but had returned the book last week. Naturally someone else could have picked it up for him and all he had done was to leave the book at the returns desk or put it in the drop box. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. 

We headed out to the stacks. 

“Thanks,” he said, “I’ve never been here before.”
We got closer to our destination, he leading the way. 

“It’s down this aisle, I think.” He indicated a row. 

“Actually, it’s this one,” I said, turning down the one just before the one he’d thought. 

“Oh.” He seemed surprised. 

Had he been here before or not? Place your vote!


  1. Hmm. Let me first say, tale well told! Love it.
    My main thought is that I too have said I've never done something or never been somewhere or never heard of something when actually I HAVE. Why do we do this? I think there's several reasons unique to each moment. One is that we can't be bothered explaining. Another is that we want attention. There could be lots of other reasons. We all lie about 10 times a day, I hear. I could be lying right now. ;)
    As for your car guy, I'm going to go with "wanting personal attention" as my answer. Yes, I think he'd been there before, albeit briefly. He's a bad liar, of course, to place the lie so close to the proof.
    Mostly I just like your observation --- and that you didn't query him.
    I also have thoughts on lying. Maybe you will write about the topic more. I believe you can always tell when someone's lying -- there's a shimmer about the face --- but we don't always know where exactly the lie lies.
    - pj

    1. My husband agreed - he would likely do this too if he felt he didn't know his away around a place. What's the point in explaining that you've been there before, but still need help? Just get the help you need :)

      Your comment was fun to read, and you never know - maybe I *will* write more about this topic at a later date.

  2. Why would he lie? I don't know anything about you. Could he be interested in you? Perhaps he has been there before, and has seen you. I don't know if he lied or not, but it makes me a little nervous. Something is not right.


    1. I don't think he was interested in me and I didn't recognize him at all. Chances are, he'll use the information in the book, return it, and we won't see him again until he has another car problem. At which time he'll proclaim, "I've never been here before." :)


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