While doing some "spring cleaning" of old files on my computer, I came across the following anecdote I had jotted down when I was first contemplating starting a blog.
At the reference desk, I had a patron call on the telephone and ask to speak to her husband. As we have no loudspeaker/public address system, this involved my having to locate him personally. It wasn't busy at the time and very few people had come in that morning, so I was willing to give it a try.
When I asked her to describe him, she responded, "He's average." Well, yes, that narrows it down, hmm.... Then she added, "He's bald." Obviously, I wasn't thinking straight because I put her on hold and set out to look for the man with just the meager information that he was an average bald man.
Halfway through my search, I returned to the phone and asked if there was any more information she could give me. "He might be wearing a baseball cap," she added helpfully. So now I was on the lookout for an average man who is bald but may be wearing a baseball cap so I wouldn't be able to tell he was bald.
At this point I asked for his name. Long story short, the husband wasn't in the library at that time but he came in shortly afterwards and I told him to contact his wife. Please!
Isn't it crazy the things patrons expect librarians to be able to do?