From the box office chronicles:

Why do patrons always need to think that the person in front of them is the same one they spoke to on the phone earlier? They come up to the window, or they call again, and say, “Hi. I spoke to you earlier!”

Um… no, you didn’t. We just happen to have more than one female working in the box office.

Or, just now, a patron walked up to the window, where a male whose name is not John was sitting.  “Hi. Are you John?” “No…” “Oh, I spoke to John earlier.”

What are we supposed to answer to that?

Only occasionally is it a question of trust. In those cases, I want to say: please trust that we all know what we’re doing. Everyone who works here is capable of helping you.

Other times, it’s a matter of patience. Then we need to explain that the person they spoke to that morning is an undergraduate who won’t be back in the office until next week, and ask if they would kindly explain the problem again.

Mostly, I think, they want continuity. They want to think that the small seed of rapport they built in their earlier conversation will continue. They talked to a stranger, who became a little less strange; they became comfortable; and so they want to continue that little relationship. If they’re here in person, they want to put a face to the name.

But from my side of the window, it seems funny. I think people are more desperate for a human connection than they might admit.

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