RIP Horizon Pt. 3: Computer Time!

As a consequence of Horizon being down, and Polaris coming online, we have no laptops.  We have – no laptops – for you! 

Despite the fact that lack of laptops was advertised throughout the library system for a week prior to the system going down (one would think that putting informational signs and posting them in prominent locations would provide information to those in need, but, it doesn’t), people still come and ask for laptops.  We dutifully tell them that laptops are not available and they can feel free to get on a desktop by making a reservation.  However, as EVERYONE is on a desktop instead of a mix of desktops and laptops, reservations fill up.  So, you may have to wait a bit.  This is where our troubles begin, because, you see, people always want more than what you have to offer them.

Patron:                My reservation isn’t for another 90 minutes, and that patron just got on a computer, and they just arrived.

Me:                      OK, well, that computer is an express computer.  Reservations for that computer are 15 minutes long.  Your reservation is for 60 minutes.  Would you like an express computer reservation?

Patron:                 But that patron just got here, and I have already been waiting a half hour since making my reservation.

Me:                      I understand, but like I said, the computer that patron got on is an express computer.  Your reservation is for a regular computer for a longer period.

Patron:               Well, why can’t I get on an express computer and then extend the time?

Me:                    Because the time period is limited to 15 minutes on express computers (now, I COULD extend the time for this patron.  but I’m not going to in this instance because (1) we are super busy and people are waiting for computers – just like this patron and (2) such extensions are reserved for special cases where a computer screws up and I need to make a patron happy).  

Patron:                But that patron just got here and got on a computer, and I’ve been waiting.

Me:                    Yes, well, do you want to get on a computer for 15 minutes or 60 minutes?

Patron:             60 minutes.

Me:                  OK, well, as I said before, the computer that patron got on is a 15 minute computer.  It is there to be available for people who only need to quickly check their email, things like that.

Patron:              But look, that other patron just left, and now the computer is available.

Me:                   It has a reservation.

Patron:              But it has a blue screen.

Me:                   (OMG!  just because it has a blue screen does not mean that someone else isn’t waiting for it!  It doesn’t mean that when you walk over there and move the mouse button that it is going to say “Available”!  Please!  You have a reservation.  If you don’t want to wait, then leave!  ARRRRRRGGGGG!!!!!!)  Yes, well, a blue screen just indicates that the computer is no longer logged into by a specific patron.  If you move the mouse, it may say “Reserved” or “Available.”  But a blue screen does not automatically mean –

Patron:             Well, if it is available, can I get on it?

Me:                  If it says “available” you can log onto it, but you would have to cancel your current reservation.  Also, you would have a –

Patron:           Well, I’m going to go and check.

(she goes over and checks it, and it says “available.”  Great!)

Patron:           It says available.  I would like to get on it.

Me:                (well, then why didn’t you?  Hurm?  why didn’t you?  now you walked all the way back over here and – yup! – another patron has sat down in your place.  greatoh, they’re getting up because – yup! – it says “reserved” now.)  OK, I can try, but there may be a reservation –

Patron:            But it says “Available.”

Me:                   Yes, (if you would stop interrupting me, I would be happy to explain everything to you.  it wouldn’t help you to understand, I’m sure, but I would be happy to try to explain it to you.  really.  OK, not really, but I like getting a paycheck, so I would explain it to you) but someone else may have a reservation in five minutes.  To make you a reservation now, I have to cancel your future –

Patron:                Why?

Me:                   Because the system does not allow a patron to be on the computer at the same time that the same patron has a future reservation, for fairness, so that one patron cannot prevent other patrons from getting on the computer (I’m beginning to understand that you don’t understand the concept of sharing.  I will do my best to make you feel better about your selfishness, but I doubt I will be able to succeed).  And, as I see now, the computer has a reservation for right now.

Patron:               Well, where is the person?  Why doesn’t their reservation go away if they are not there for it.

Me:                      (Because, at the library, we give you some time to figure out that it’s your time, give some time for the person before you to get up and get out, give you time to sit down – you know, a bit of time?  Ever been late to a diner reservation?  Still get to eat, don’t you?)  If the person does not show up for their reservation, the reservation will be erased after 15 minutes.

Patron:              That is terrible.  At my library back home, it is 5 minutes.

Me:                     (Then go back home!)  Our policy is 15 minutes.  Would you like to keep your reservation?

Patron:                No, I want to get on a computer now.

Me:                     For 15 minutes?  (I bet you do, don’t you?  DON’T YOU!  after all of this, I bet you do.  let’s see. . . .)

Patron:              Sure.

thank goodness for happy hour.

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