Rules of Circ #05 (RoC)

Rules of Circulation #05 (RoC)

"Red or Blue Pill"

When a patron signs up for a new card or needs a replacement, I always ask them, "wallet sized or keychain sized card?"

I try not to speak so quickly, but the patron just stares at me quizzically. It is at this point that I pull out each card and hold one in each hand and ask the patron again. I feel like I'm Morpheus asking Neo, whether or not he wants the story to end or stay in Wonderland.

Is it just me, or is this a fairly easy question to answer in under 10 seconds, I could hum the Final Jeopardy theme song and they still couldn't make a choice. But alas, not all patrons are the same, when it comes to this decision you can pretty much categorize them: Straight Forward, Bank Robber, Shoot First-Ask Questions Later, and the Flip-Flopper.

The Straight Forward patron is the easiest to handle, they will give you their answer right then and there, crisis avoided.

I label the second type the Bank Robber, because much like someone at the teller line, they don't care just as long as you hand it over. These are the type that are in a hurry to get in, get their card, and jump on the public computers to update their Facebook status or Tweet to the whole world that they got their first library card.

Shoot First-Ask Questions Later, are also the Pro-Con people. They'll make their decision, but then feel a twinge of buyer's remorse and then verbally justify their doubts away. "Oh, I'll just stick with the keychain card, I always have my keys with me anyways." "I'll stick with the wallet, the keychain one probably falls off easier." To which I assuage their fears, "The keychain one is always convenient," or "The keychain ones do fall off quite easily."

Lastly, there's the Flip-Flopper, they tend to take longer to make their decision. You can actually see the gears turning in their head as they squint at the cards as if they are trying to read a fortune ball which will give them the answer to the biggest dilemma they have encountered. Once they have decided on one, they state their decision with such excitement, only to doubt their decision by the end of me entering their information into the database that they ask if it's too late if they can get the other kind of card. I smile and tell them it's not, and ask them if that's their final answer (sorry for the second game show reference in one post).

So the real question is: do you want to see how deep the rabbit-hole goes at the Circulation desk?

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My local library does not ask whether you want keyring or wallet-sized cards. You get both.
Stephen Michael Kellat, MSLS