The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

27 October 2014

Thank yer

It's a good day when I can insert a You've Got Mail quote into the conversation. Norah, how we miss you!

I worked at Far Public Library this past weekend. (I also work at Lake Town Public Library, which is just at the end of my road).  Far PL is a busy place at the weekend, which is what brought the phrase "Thank yer" to mind. I don't know how many patrons I served, but according to my feet, it was very many.  In the course of those very many customer encounters, I noticed that very many thank yous were exchanged on both sides.  Not just one each per conversation, but several from them and from me. I reckon the phrase must come up at least 120 times in the course of one four hour shift.  We're Canadian, you see, so it can't be helped. I think thank you is hardwired into our brains.

A typical conversation with a patron runs something like this:

Patron: Hello, how are you?
Tess: Hello, I'm ok thanks, how are you?

P: Good, thank you.
T: Glad to hear it. (... waiting for the library card) If I could just have your card please...
P: Oh, right, sorry, here you go.
T: Thank  you!
P: You're welcome.

T: Here you are; your books are due November 17.
P: Thank you!
T: You're very welcome.
P: Have a good afternoon.
T: Thank you very much; you too!
P: Thank you.

That's 6 thank yous, one apology, two you're welcomes in 13 lines of dialogue. If there's an exchange of money when fines or printing or used-book-sale purchases are involved, there are at least 3 more thank yous, and on the occasions when patrons ask for something we cannot provide right then, they still say thank you before walking away. 

I've done that last myself more times than I can count. Say I want to buy peanut butter, so I go to the peanut butter shop. I'll ask a store employee if they have any crunchy peanut butter in stock (because why bother with smooth?) and they might say "No, sorry, we don't carry crunchy peanut butter." To which I'll reply, "Oh, sorry, I thought you were a peanut butter shop, and that peanut butter was your specialty." (as I look around and notice displays of notepaper and household cleaning supplies) (this is no joke: in Canada, you can buy groceries and furniture at what used to be an automotive store, cleaning supplies and jewelry at what used to be an apothecary, and bedding and electronics in what used to be a grocery store.)(Sorry!  Back to the story) "Yeah," she says, "we're not" (because she's only, like, 12, and doesn't understand customer service.) "Ok, well, thanks anyway" and I leave the store, feeling that I really should have apologized for having made such a gaffe.

Thank yer, ladies and gentlemen!

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