1. I think it just reflects the experience of a librarian or book sales person when they try to get a customer what he wants and it’s invariably wrong.

  2. I don’t think the answer is in modern pop culture; it appears to be a reference to the
    publication history of the book:

    Montgomery’s original typescript and the corrected proofs are lost. The first edition has errors in the text. Critical editions will identify corrections that have been applied to the text by the editor. The choice of corrections depends on the editor, and will vary between editions….

  3. This feels like a personal anecdote about a customer interaction in which the customer is overly picky and prone to complaint

  4. I’m going to guess the wacky early 2000s animated series was based on the unedited editions… Did you know that Anne Shirley invented the hockey goalie mask?

  5. “I don’t think the answer is in modern pop culture;”

    Sure — but we had an existing Category that references “pop” culture, and I didn’t think it was worth while setting up another that just says “culture” or “literature”.

  6. I was so disappointed when this comic and the previous librarian-oriented on ceased. I could identify with so many of their comics, even tho I worked in a high school library, not a public one.

  7. Thanks for the research, but I think the point may come from a simpler, more surface part of that history. The title “Anne of Green Gables” was for a single novel. Then there were sequels and spinoffs. Later, modern publishing wanted to sell series and boxed sets, and that basic title got applied to the series and the boxed sets. And after that, there were multiple television series, and as has been pointed out here already, various derivatives including an animated series.

    (So in a way it is indeed a popculture issue.)

    Martin (the librarian) knows all this, and also understands that the patron is probably expecting a box set or hefty collected volume. And rather UNkindly is setting him up for disappointment and some variety of “Told ya so!” (Though he didn’t actually tell him!)

  8. @ Mitch – The way I see it, his request for an “unabridged, unadapted hardcover edition … of the original text” is fundamentally equivalent to “original first edition“, which seems to preclude any boxed sets (but would also be generally unobtainable in any normal library or bookstore). However, if that’s really what he was expecting, then both Mark H.’s and JP’s answers would apply.

  9. And, just as a refresher: Please take into account the existence of (ahem) entitled customers. For reference see: https://notalwaysright.com/right/

    (I recommend the older entries. But don’t read to many in one go, you might get a headache from your forehead repeatedly hitting the table.)

  10. It’s more general than a library/bookstore joke. When I ran an R&D area, it was important to get the specs desired by top management in writing. They might still decide, after the project, that this isn’t what they really wanted, but it lowers the chance they will say it’s all your fault.

  11. Kilby says ‘The way I see it, his request for an “unabridged, unadapted hardcover edition … of the original text” is fundamentally equivalent to “original first edition“,’

    I thought that was just what Martin had fed him in previous parts of the interaction. But maybe you’re right — it makes him a scholar or knowledgeable collector, and I just didn’t think that’s what he looks like. And why would somebody like that be looking for something special at the public library? But an ordinary consumer type, being a little fussy about not wanting an abridgement, might be led down the path of the rest of those specs.

    From a comic point of view the joke seems to be that Martin is setting the guy up for disappointment, and we don’t see the details of the book that he delivers. So the main visible basis for disappointment is that it’s a single slim volume.

  12. I’m with zbicyclist on this. The book is a macguffin. It is about customers asking for something, getting exactly that they asked for, and then saying, “that isn’t what I wanted” when given it. The customer getting annoyed in the strip is just to a way to not have to have the customer say it first and convey the sales person is, in fact, giving them exactly what they asked for.

    The sales person knows customers, when faced with exactly what they asked for, will figure out what they REALLY want and adjust/amend the request. The sales person knows this is coming and wants to be sure the customer will realize the failure to communicate will be solely on them, not the sales person.

  13. @ Andréa – I’m not sure why you said that Library Comic “ceased”. The comic shown here is #938, and it appears to be new material (dated 26-Sep-2022). The LC-website doesn’t provide any sort of convenient searching facilities, but the drawing style on Martin’s eyes seem to rule out the possibility that it could have been a re-run.

  14. @ Danny Boy – The clip that larK shared wasn’t “Python”, it was from At Last the 1948 Show. The shopkeeper is John Cleese, but the crazy customer is Marty Feldman (although he does look a bit like Eric Idle).

  15. Thanks! I wondered why I couldn’t place the customer as one of the Python regulars.

  16. This sketch was done by Monty Python on their 1980 Contractual Obligations Album — John Cleese reprised his role as the shopkeeper, and Terry Jones was the annoying customer.

  17. I’m with zbicyclist and TedD.

    That said, I didn’t know who Anne Shirley was, and still don’t know what she has to do with hockey, but Montreal’s Jacques Plante had the first goalie mask in the NHL.

  18. @Kilby: Indeed, I cannot read too much of “NotAlwaysRight” in one sitting, some are too depressing and some are even describing snobbish clerks instead of the other way round. But the collection you found is exactly why I once started reading this site. Thanks!

  19. @ Boise Ed

    Anne Shirley, of course, did not actually invent the hockey goalie mask, being a fictional character and also in a setting years before much of what became standard goaltender equipment first appeared.

    In the animated adaptation of Anne of Green Gables from the early 2000s (really more of an adaptation of the characters from that book and some other LM Montgomery novels) there is an episode where Anne is drafted into playing goalie for the Avonlea hockey team for a game against some kids from a rival town. Concerned about getting hit with hockey pucks, she fashions safety equipment from things lying around her turn-of-the-century town, notably tying pillows to her torso and legs for pads and using a theatre mask to protect her face. During the game, she offers the same equipment to the opposing team’s goalie as well. This is one of the more humorous ridiculous stretches the cartoon took with its setting and time period and always comes to my mind when I see Anne of Green Gables referenced.

  20. @Mary Ellen, thanks for commenting! To your librarian’s eye, just what is the interaction problem that you see going on here?

  21. So frequently we get people asking for something specific, so we give them what they asked for, and they get annoyed, saying that’s not what they wanted. The comic is exaggerated, of course, but there are so many occasions where it turns out that what the person is asking for isn’t actually what they wanted.

  22. Okay, thanks! As you can see, we had some back and forth on what this guy had asked for and maybe why. Or to put it another way, how much do we really need to know about the publication history of the “Anne of Green Gables” books to share in enjoying this comic? I was thinking, not so much.

    Today I got a couple Library Comic strips in email, but they were very Halloween oriented and I wonder how to use them.

  23. “Librarian here: this is just a slice of life of my job. It made me laugh.”

    Retired librarian here; and ditto. (Though I didn’t get all that much of this sort of client at my academic library; I’m sure my public librarian brethern faced more such infestations.)

  24. I bet librarians have to watch Oprah every day just so they know “that book from Oprah’s book club.”

  25. “Do you have any good books?” “I want the book I had last semester; the one with the red cover.” Ad nauseam, for 30 years.

  26. Martin Sheen was in a couple of Anne of Green Gables TV shows in mid 2010s. Having never read the books or seen other shows/movies, I do not know how accurate the shows were.

    In an episode of “Murdoch Mysteries” (a Canadian show) one of the police officers who is working on becoming an author is teaching an adult ed writing course. The only student who stays (he is not a good teacher) is a young woman named Lucy Maud Montgomery – who at some time after that point in their storyline will write “Anne of Green Gables”.

    (If you have never seen “Murdoch Mysteries” it is a very funny show about a Toronto detective (his wife – who is an MD, and the other odd characters in the police force/city government) of the tail end of the 1800s into the early 1900s. It is silly sometimes such as when there is a football game in another city and they charge people to come and hear what is going on the game – by telephone – early form of play by play (” You have to make it sound more colorful.”)

  27. Forgot – and all sorts of famous people of the period are used as characters – such as dinner with Helen Keller where there is a murder during a blackout in the meal. One of the police officers is named Henry Higgins – I keep waiting for George Bernard Shaw to come through and take the name to use.

  28. I didn’t become a serious / regular viewer of Murdoch Mysteries, but did enjoy the episodes I watched. In some aspects it reminded me of the earlier series, The Wild Wild West.

  29. I tried watching Murdoch Mysteries, but couldn’t get into it; however, at your recommendation, I’ll try it again. I’m currently watching (on YT) the other MM . . . Midsomer Murders.

  30. Like Midsomer Murders also, but always seem to miss it when it is on lately.

    We are late night people – Murdoch is on at 4 am early Saturday and Sunday mornings (same episode both days) and on local ABC station on Sunday morning at 2 am.

    What we are watching are reruns – on Canadian channel they are up to (I think) the 15th season and we are stuck watching season 12 and 13 over and over as that is what is being shown.

    Robert had thought the show too silly the first time he saw them as things are the show which would not have existed – but they come up with a way for the items to exist. Murdoch uses modern methods often even for now to solve cases. Some of the cases are period take off of other movies/TV shows. Among the people who pass through Toronto and the show are Harry Houdini, I think Al Jolson, etc. He saves Pres. Theodore Roosevelt’s from being shot while the Murdochs are on their honeymoon and in later episode TR comes up to Canada and they go hunting together. True incidents are included such as the major fire in Toronto.

    He is friends with Tesla and other scientists, big thinkers of the period.

    Apparently the actor who plays Murdoch is a (or the) big actor in Canada. One night during in the middle of a week a year or so after I had started “Mysteries” I heard his voice on the TV when Murdoch was not on and looked to see what was on. It was a show called “Sue Thomas FBeye”, about a deaf woman FBI agent – based on a true person (real Thomas appears in first and last episodes). Being able to read lips works well with not needing to have someone wired for sound to record what a criminal is saying as she can read lips. The actress who plays the main character is deaf as is her real life husband who appears in a few of the episodes and he won an Oscar earlier this year.

  31. I’ve never seen any of the “Murdoch” mysteries, but one of the German networks will be showing the third series in November, so maybe I’ll give it a try. The same channel has also been broadcasting “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries“, but for some reason these just don’t seem as appealing (to me) as the BBC’s “Poirot” (which they have also been showing for several years). In all three cases, the soundtrack is “dual”, so it is easy to switch over to the original English version.

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