Wednesday, June 11, 2014

On Common Courtesy

I have a new minion, whom I love.  She is actually an intern.  I shall call her Min-tern. Min-tern has been working with me for a little over a week now and she is fitting into prison life perfectly.  Today as we were walking out, she to leave, me to drop off mail we were saying goodbye to each other and it went something like this:

Me: "Have a lovely afternoon!"
Min-tern: "Thank you and I hope you do as well!"
Me: "Thank you, I am sure I will!"
Min-tern: "I love that we are so polite!"
Me: "Our mothers raised us right!"

Now, in addition to having the Best Moms, the politeness of this exchange could also be due to the fact that Min-tern and I were both in the Bartending Brotherhood, where one uses courtesy to both build rapport with customers and ensure good tips.  Generally, I try and be courteous to everyone I encounter in prison because that is just good practice for life, but unfortunately, not everyone shares the same view point.

A little later in the afternoon, I was calling the units to notify them of library closures this evening and normally my conversations go like this:

Me: "Hello!  It's me in the library!"
Unit Staff: "Hello Me in the Library!  How are you today?"
Me: "I am lovely, and yourself?"
Unit Staff: "Fine, thank you.  How may I help you today?"
I can then impart my message, ask my question, or take care of any business I need to and everyone is happy.  However, future prison librarians, not everyone has such great phone etiquette unfortunately.  Today my conversation went more like this:

Me: "Hello!  It's me in the library!"
Unit Staff: ".... AND?"
Me: "Uh, um, I was just calling to let you know the library is closed tonight."
Unit Staff: "K." *CLICK*

Now, maybe they were crazy busy in the unit and didn't have time for niceties.  I try and give people the benefit of the doubt because you never know what battles people are fighting, sometimes literally.  It could also be that with the para-military mentality in prison, people don't believe in wasting words.  Just give them the message and let them get on with their mission.  I don't know.  They could also just be jerks haha.  But the takeaway lesson today my future prison librarians, is that even if people don't return it (and frequently they won't) common courtesy goes a long way towards building good rapport with your fellow human beings, especially in prison.  Until next time!

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