or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Reference Question of the Week – 4/29/12

   May 5th, 2012 Brian Herzog

mopI always feel bad when I can't find an answer for a patron, but can still be amused by the situation. One afternoon, an older woman walked up to the desk and asked for help finding reviews of floor mops.

It took me a second to register this - and immediately I was skeptical that we'd be able to find anything at all.

We started with Consumer Reports magazine and their online database. We found reviews of steam mops, but not the old-style floor mop that she was looking for.

Next we tried Amazon and other online review places for "wet floor mops" and other descriptors, and there were lots of the Swiffer-type mops, but again, not what she was looking for. The only thing that came close was the (appropriately-named) Libman Wonder Mop.

She was disappointed, but wasn't surprised, and I really liked the way she expressed this:

Well, I guess it makes sense that something as fancy as the internet doesn't care about mundane things like an old-fashioned floor mop.

In the end, she just decided to go to the hardware store and ask them which they liked - and as long as it was light enough for her to use, it would be good enough.

I was impressed that she was willing to put this much effort into just a minor purchase - but if you mop a lot, I don't suppose it's all that minor after all. Not finding anything for her really made me want to go to the store with her to keep helping, but I hope the hardware store people find something for her.

Tags: , , , , , , ,