this story is called:
Books Come in Boxes
over the summer i had a fairly well-known author visit the library and talk to the kids. we don't get many celebrities around here so it was pretty exciting. part of my plan was to try to round up some funds to buy copies of the author's books so that he could sign them and we could give them away to the kids. fun, right?
so i contact a certain higher-up and i ask if i can get some money. he is pleased with the idea and he gives me a special spending code to use to buy the books. but of course, with all my library stories, there is a minor problem that can be easily fixed with common sense ...
now excuse me for having to slip into some boring industry talk for a second. it is necessary to the plot, i swear: when we purchase books they are sent to Central where they are processed. this means that labels, barcodes, and RFID tags are stuck onto them, they are put into the library catalog, etc. after this takes place, they are then shipped to the library. now, for a prize i do not want to give a kid a book that has a bunch of library stickers and labels on it. i want to give them a shiny new book like they'd get in a bookstore. this shouldn't be a problem, right?
so i ask around and no one at the library knows how to circumvent this process ... but we agree that there must be a way to "flag" the books so that they aren't processed and labeled, and instead are just sent to us. it is then suggested that i call mister higher-up, since it was he, after all, that was able to get me the money for the books in the first place. it goes something like this:
me: i'm trying to figure out how to have the books sent without them getting processed at central
mister higher-up: why are you asking me this?
me: (confused) well, you're at central, and the books come to central. and i'm trying to avoid them getting processed at central. i just want them sent here without getting processed.
mister higher-up: i don't understand why you're asking me. when the books come, don't process them.
me: yeah, but they don't come here to the branch. they come to central. where you are. so i just want to know how i can stop them from getting processed.
mister higher-up: you see, books come in boxes. you buy them from the vendor and they are sent by a truck. a ups truck i think. and when you open the box the books are inside (i swear to god he actually said this to me) ... so you need to speak to whoever unpacks the boxes at your branch. i don't work at your branch, so i don't know why you're asking me.
me: but the problem is that BEFORE they come here, they come to central and then they are processed at central before they arrive here.
mister higher-up: (sighs loudly like it is very difficult for him to be speaking to someone as mentally deficient as myself) i don't understand why no one over there knows how to unload a box. did you speak to your manager? doesn't anyone know how to unload the books from the boxes over there?
me: (giving up, while simultaneously realizing that i am close to getting my branch manager in trouble for "not knowing how to unload a box") thanks. that's very helpful. yes, i'll ask around. thank you.(hang up the phone then scream really loud)
realizing that i will never be able to order the books without them getting processed through central, i decide to buy them on amazon.com. they are more expensive this way, since we typically get a large discount from our book vendor, but i am guaranteed that they will be sent directly to me and will not be labeled with various library stickers and barcodes and things. (i figured out that had i been able to purchase the books from the vendor instead of amazon, i would have saved enough money to buy one additional prize book for the kids, but oh well.)
after i submit my expenses to mister higher-up, i get an email from him saying that in the future i should never ever ever order books from amazon. instead i should order them through our typical vendor and then contact so-and-so at this-and-that central department so that they can be alerted that the books should not be processed.
really? isn't that exactly what i asked in the first place? i bet you're wondering if mister higher-up apologized for talking to me as though i was retarded. the answer is no, he didn't.
what have we learned? books come in boxes.