People’s U – meta unsolicited input

The other week, I got a phone call from someone who immediately expressed her intention to offer unsolicited input, then proceeded to beat around the bush talking about how libraries are underfunded and such. She described an illuminated map that we used to sell in the gift shop and advised that we start selling them again and require every school building in the state to purchase one and display it prominently for the edification of young minds. However, she continued to tell me, this was not her primary suggestion, which she did not begin to unveil until much more pounding in the vicinity of shrubs. Her unsolicited input was kindly offered, free to the library, with no expectation of monetary compensation. "Do you know of [incredibly famous historical local writer, one of whose characters is the namesake for our city football team]?" she asked me. Heh. I did. "You know his house? It's here in the city" Again, I did. "Well, he's very popular around here and people go crazy for anything about him. I was thinking that a lot of people would like a cookie jar shaped like his house. Don't you think so?" "Umm..." I replied. "Well, they don't have to put _cookies_ in it" she quickly continued, seeming to note my lack of enthusiasm for the idea. "They could put whatever they want in it. They could put it on their desk, actually. No one has enough space on their desk these days. They could put rubber bands and binder clips and other things in it." [no response] She vyed further for my approval. "The thing is, most cookie jars are made of ceramic, which is very fragile. So it's probably not good to make the jars of that. But I think something more sturdy, like bronze, would be good. Plus, his house is brown. I'm not sure if it was always brown or if they painted it that way after he died. But they might have kept painting it the same color to preserve its historical value. Anyway, if the cookie jars are bronze they will look more like his brown house." "Ah." I said. "Well. Um. I will pass this idea on to my superviser." "Well, don't you think it's a good idea?!?" she demanded. "It's, uuurm... very interesting" I offered weakly. "Ah, that um sort of thing... uh, merchandising, isn't my specialty. I'm really just here to look up information. I'll be sure to pass this along." "You could sell tons of them and make lots of money!"she proclaimed. "Wouldn't you want one for your desk?" "Um... my desk is very small and mostly I need to store papers and books on it," I said. "Well, MANY people would want it for their desks, I can tell you that much," she said. I did eventually get off the phone with her, after deflecting numerous further attempts to get me to declare her idea brilliant and taking her contact information so we could let her know when the jars had been manufactured and were ready for sale.

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