To Print, or Not to Print. That is the Question?

Printing, one would think, is relatively simple.  I’m talking about on a computer – not a printing press.  But then you start to break it down and the relatively simple task becomes more difficult.  Both for you as the explaining party and for the patron as the recipient of your explanation because s/he would just rather you do it for her/im (wow, wouldn’t it be cool if that caught on?).  So printing is not so simple, maybe.  Let me explain.

So a patron comes in with the typical question:

Patron:          How do I print?

Me:                Are you on a computer?

Patron:          No.

Me:                OK, well, you need to get on a computer first to print in the library.  Do you have a library card?

Patron:           Yes.

Me:                  Do you know your PIN number?

Patron:           I think so.

Me:                  OK.  Well, go ahead and make a reservation for a computer, get on the computer, and I’ll come over to show you how to print.

(minutes pass)

Patron:            It isn’t letting me get on.

Me:                 OK.  Well, let me check your account, can I see your library card and photo ID?

Patron:            My ID is in the car.

Me:                OK, well, go get it and come back and we’ll figure out what’s wrong (why did you leave it in the car?  you’re wallet is here in front of you, why is your ID in the car?  Is that where you store it?  why isn’t it in your wallet?  really?  why?)

(minutes pass)

Patron:            OK, here you go.

Me:                  Great.  (checking)  Your PIN number is 1212.

Patron:           Oh!  Yes.  My ex’s birthday.

Me:                (Why would you want to remember that date?)  OK, well, go get on a computer and I’ll be right over.

(minutes pass)

Patron:        Where do I print.

Me:               OK, well you take your mouse, do you know how to use a mouse?

Patron:          No.

Me:               OK, well, this is a mouse (holding up mouse and shining laser beam on bottom in the eyes of the patron across the computer desk table, because, you know, there is no other way to pick up a mouse), and you move the mouse (moving mouse around on table and pointing to moving cursor on computer screen) to move the cursor . . .

Patron:         What’s a cursor?

Me:                It’s the arrow on the screen (pointing with finger on computer screen and thinking OH PLEASE LET 6 PM COME FASTER!)

Patron:          OK.

Me:                So you move the cursor over the “File” Menu (indicating by pointing at computer screen where cursor now is over “File” menu), and you click the LEFT (with emphasis) mouse button to open the menu . . .

Patron:           Click?

Me:                Yes, click.  You click the button.

Patron:           OK.

Me:               So then you have your file menu, and you scroll down to “Print” . . .

Patron:         Wait, how did you do that?

Me:                (Remember, remember, job security)  You just move the mouse down over the menu, and it moves, see? (Indicating by pointing at screen where cursor is.)  Click on “Print,” select whether you want black and white or color . . .

Patron:         How much is it?

Me:              Black and white is fifteen cents, color is a dollar.

Patron:         A DOLLAR?  That’s a lot.

Me:               Do you just want black and white then (really, you don’t need this paycheck stub to be printed in color, now do you?  so does it matter that it would cost a dollar when you’re not in need of a color print?  and why are you printing your paystub when the WHOLE POINT of online paystubs is so that you save a tree by not printing??????  HUMMMM?????)?

Patron:            Sure, black and white.

Me:                  OK.  Well, then you click to select black and white, click “OK” to send it to our printing system, then click “OK” again to acknowledge that it was received and that you’re willing to pay $0.15 and then click “OK” again to acknowledge that it acknolwedges that you sent the print.

Patron:                Huh?

Me:                      Just keep clicking “OK.”

Patron:                 Where?

Me:                        Here.  You click here on “OK”, like so (clicking and indicating, but now moving faster) so it is sent to print.  Now you just have to go and release it from the print management system when you’re all finished with the computer.

Patron:                 Huh?

Me:                       The print management system.  The computers over there, you release your print job from there.

Patron:                 Huh?

Me:                        Don’t worry, just come to the desk when you’re done printing everything and we’ll release it for you.  Really, it isn’t any trouble.

Patron:                 OK, great.  Now, how do I print the rest of these paystubs?

Me:                     You go back to the main page by clicking the back button on the screen, this arrow over here at the top (indicating by pointing on the screen) and select the next one, and so on until your done printing whatever you want to print (yes, please, kill more trees.  really, we don’t need them to breathe or anything, so by all means, print print print away!).

Patron:               Can you show me?

Me:                      (REMEMBER: JOB SECURITY!)  Sure.  No problem.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

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