Can I help you? Well the answer is not really.

I popped into my local library on the way back from work. As you would expect it is a council run library in London. It offers quite a few good services, including free internet and a great collection of fairly up to date books.

I went looking for a CSS book to help me with webdesign and instead found Seth Godin’s “All Marketers are Liars”. I was well chuffed :-)

So I went to check that in and it turned out I had an overdue fine, do’h! Fair enough…so I paid my £2.52 of debt. On the way out I started looking at some notices on the board and read one that said something along the lines of…

“Book amnesty, encouraging you to use the library, forgiving all fines if you return your books on 5th/6th/7th March”

I checked the date and….hey!, wait a minute, I just paid a fine here. This ain’t right. So I mentioned to a staff member that I just paid a fine and the board said I shouldn’t. I asked for a refund but they were hesitant on providing one. It was clear that providing a refund messed with the system.

They had no reason to say yes to the customer. Exactly the thing Seth mentioned in his Looking for Yes blog article. They were looking for an easy no (I can help you but it will be difficult for me) rather than a yes (I will help you even if it is difficult because I care for you the customer).

And I wasn’t even asking for anything big, just for them to be consistent with themselves.

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