Occasionally a complaint is so obscure and ridiculous and unintentionally sheds so much light on the complainant that it is worth repeating in full. I thought I’d seen the back of Ernest Dudley Pratt Alco pops millionaire and all round bad egg but he took the trouble to write a long and thoughtful letter to the head of libraries about a weird note (seemingly from a parallel dimension) inserted in his borrower records. I love the way Mr Pratt ‘decides to become incredibly offended,’ like a second rate Hamlet he has to ratchet up his emotional response– presumably he’s bored between breakfast and dinner. Best of all he researches the obscure terminology of the borrower note– this man has time on his hands! Now my job’s on the line while he clearly doesn’t have one judging by his enthusiastic response!
Complaint to head of libraries Geoff Good times
I am the complainant
Action requested: please expunge from library records and issue formal apology. Look into activities of Conan Librarian and investigate other borrower records
Dear Sir or Madam,
Today 5 October 2016 I went to your library branch in Harlow, to pick up an audio book that I had been told by e mail was waiting for me. This was a replacement for the same item that had had the final CD missing ‘ something I had only discovered at the end of listening to it. The member of staff I dealt with originally told me there would be no charge for this as the disc was missing, which I appreciated. I hadn’t requested this waiver. He told me normally discs were checked carefully on return, but perhaps this hadn’t been taken out for a very long time ‘ I guess implying that I had lost it. But I noticed the item back on the shelf a few days ago, and when I looked in the box I saw that the CD was still missing ‘ so this rather undermines what he said about the checking process. Today, as the machine charged me for taking out the new copy, I went to the desk to explain this ‘ that there was supposed to be no charge. The lady I dealt with pulled up my file and said this was true as there was a note on the system saying this and waived the charge.
As I was standing right next to her I couldn’t help but read another note above this one on my file. This read – ‘Mr Pratt has Windingo Pyschosis and at the full moon turns into a gerbil’ (or something very similar). I must admit that I found this puzzling, I wasn’t sure initially whether to be amused, or offended. What on earth did this mean? And what prompted someone to write it in? Slightly confused I didn’t mention that I had seen it and left.
Unsurprisingly, not knowing what ‘windingo pyschosis’ is, I had to look it up. According to Wikipedia ‘ ‘In Algonquian folklore, the Wendingo or Windingo is a cannibal monster evil spirit native to the northern forests of the Atlantic Coast and great Lakes region of the United States and Canada/ Manitoba. The Wendigo may appear as a monster with some characteristics of a human, or as a spirit who has possessed a human being and make them become monstrous. It is historically associated with cannibalism, murder, insatiable greed?.’ Thinking about this, and seeing the definition, I have decided it is actually incredibly offensive and I am amazed a member of your staff would take it upon themselves to leave this note about me in my Library record. As far as I’m aware I’ve been nothing but polite to members of the library staff. Years ago. having worked in Hatchards bookshop after University, I learnt how difficult working with the public can be sometimes, a few people can be incredibly rude, so in fact I would go out of my way not to be antagonistic or difficult. I cannot think of a single incident that might have prompted this very strange comment and I am baffled and somewhat amazed by it. Yours sincerely,
Eric Dudley Pratt