Come back to my desk to find a note from Sybil:
Reference Library rang. They've got an irate customer who wants to know why she couldn't get onto a web site. They don't know which web site it is but it's something to do with Ireland.
She's coming back in an hour.
That narrows the field down a bit.
An hour later, sure enough, the Reference Library rings again to find out why she can't get on. Eventually they give me the URL. It isn't a valid URL. Which is why she can't get on...
I Google the information I can guess from the "URL" and find a site that sounds like the one they're banging on about. I email the Reference Library the link, asking that they try that and see if it works.
"The lady is very annoyed that it was blocked and wants to know what you're doing about it."
"The URL was invalid. I've sent you a link to the site. Give her that URL and she should get on OK."
Five minutes later I get another 'phone call from the Reference Library.
"The customer is irate because she is still being blocked. She wants to know what we're doing about it."
"Can I just check which URL she's trying?"
This time it's a different one again.
"OK... well when I try that I get a message to say that that page will not load. That will have been misinterpreted by the public clients as a block."
"So what are you going to do about it?"
"Nothing. If that page won't load it's out of our control."
"But we've got it on our staff PC here."
"With that URL?"
"We searched for it on Google and got the site."
"Does it have the same URL?"
"It seems to be working alright."
"What happens if you type the URL you just gave me in the address bar and press 'Go'?"
"We don't need to: it came up when we searched for it on Google."
"What happens if the customer searches for it on Google the same way as you did?"
"If she types in that address she gets a message to say it's blocked. She's very irate."
"Is she typing that address into Google?"
"We searched for the site on Google and got it."
"What happens if you enter the URL you just gave me."
"We found the site on Google."
I swear on all that's holy that this is a precis of the conversation.
If this is how they handle a referral to an in-house 'expert,' what on earth happens when they pass enquiries on to external agencies like The Small Business Unit across the road?
Come to think of it, that would explain much about the local economy.