People don’t like to take “I don’t know” for an answer.

The other day, I overheard a colleague’s half of a phone conversation. “Well, sir, we’re not presenting that event, so we don’t sell tickets for it here. Here’s the number to call.” Helpful and courteous. But it went on. “No, I don’t know if they’re still available… No, I don’t know how much they are….”

Really, people. If you call a number and learn that it’s not the right number to call, try the correct number and THEN ask your questions. If we can’t help you with one question about an event that we have nothing to do with, chances are we won’t be able to help you with your other questions, either.

It’s not out of malice. If we had the answers, we’d give them to you. If we were selling tickets to that event, we’d happily sell them to you. It’s part of what we do. But we’re not the right people to contact, so grilling us really won’t get you anywhere.

I’ve heard colleagues say on the phone, “Well, I can Google that for you…” (see lmgtfy.com) – because patrons won’t accept that we don’t have the info they want. And sometimes we really do Google for them. Once, in a different job from the one I have now, I Googled something for a patron and printed out the info to give to her. She came back a few minutes later, brandishing the paper like it was insult, and said, “This is two years out of date! Is that the best you can do?” Um, yes. Because I don’t work for that organization. I don’t run its website. I don’t know anything about this event, because I have nothing to do with it. In the end, she got so angry that she demanded my name so she could report me to my supervisor. Fortunately, my supervisor was amused by the hysteria.

So, I repeat my entreaty: if someone doesn’t know something, asking more questions won’t suddenly give them the knowledge you’re so desperately seeking. If they tell you where you’re more likely to find that info, please go there.

Thank for your attention to this very simple logical matter.

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