The man blew past with a grimace/smile and a head shake. I was stationed directly before the front doors of the library with an iPad and a bowl of fun-sized candy bars. But there was nothing fun-sized about my fun. Nor was it doubled.
We were gathering survey data about customer satisfaction, and I needed to fulfill my quota of ten respondents that hour. So far I had zero. All my training in the telemarketing and vacuum-selling fields was not holding me in good stead.
Another patron opened the doors.
"Hi!" I strained to force pep up my throat. "Would you like to do a survey about the...? Candy!--"
Another came in.
"Sir? Would you like to do a survey--"
More came in. I tried to make eye contact with the person who seemed the softest: a middle-aged lady wearing a hat.
People flooded past.
"Okay, I'll give anyone a piece of candy for a response. Two pieces...!"
"Will someone help a semi-retarded man fill out a survey?"
Finally, ol' Gil landed a sale. An old man sat down. Grunting in a friendly way, he took a hard copy of the survey, not wanting to fiddle with Steve Jobs' Satanic thingy. He took about a minute to fill it out.
After he shuffled off, I peeked at his work. VERY DISSATISFIED was blackened all the way down in every category (Staff, Collections, Facilities, Overall), except for Programs which he mercifully marked "N/A."
"Wow. What a dick."
I betook myself to the staff restroom, which we actually have and which actually exists, and wondered if we should keep the guy's survey. Would it really matter if we did a little light censoring? I looked up. There was an informational sheet held up by a magnet to the metal first aid box facing me. Lately Carol had been putting up these tidbits of info about literacy programs and reference services that the staff should know something about.
Because, really, who needs a break from work? What better way to fill the idle time of your incipient bowel discharge than learning more about GODDAMN EARLY LITERACY.
Energized, I resumed my place at the table. I now knew how to get people interested in a survey.
Someone came in. We made eye contact.
"Hi," I said.
The person lingered at the table. "So... uh, you have candy?"
I shrugged. "Yeah."
"Can I have one?"
"Survey," I mumbled slouchily.
"Survey! Complete the survey, and get a prize...."
Immediately the woman sat down and filled it out. And then others, attracted by my continental ennui, flocked for surveys and Butterfingers.
Ah, yes. The magic of not caring.