Solar Dancing Chick – Today’s Reference Question.
Every once in while, working at the information desk, you get a reference question makes you wonder, “Am I being punk’d?” Unfortunately, as a librarian, there are no stupid questions but… geez, this one really takes the cake and makes me want to re-evaluate humanity.
This one particular woman called our branch many times in the past to learn about certain medical conditions, treatments and other health related questions. Today’s call kinda took me by surprise as this same patron asked me about a solar-powered toy. She starts off by trying to phrase what she wanted to know but the more she talk the weirder the question became. “How can a solar-powered toy work?” This was the condensed version or the heart of what she wanted to know. Of course, I had to drill down further to find out more information.
I kept asking her what type of product was it and she replied, “A solar dancing chick. I got it from CVS. How does it work?” She kept insisting there was no solar panel and how could a toy be labeled as a solar toy if there was no panel. I turned to the internet gods and did a quick search for it. When I saw the image, I asked her if the chick was standing on something, “Yes,” she said. “Like white stone or maybe an egg?” She replied, “Yes.” “Do you see a rectangular box down below the feet?” Once again, “Yes.” Well, that’s the solar panel,” I said finally. You would think that I solved the problem but wait, there was more. “But how does it move?” I did a mental facepalm. I knew if I had to go into technical details on how the solar panel converts the sun’s energy she would get lost.
I gave her a very simple answer to the conversion the solar panel made but then she wanted to know what was inside that made it move. So about 10 minutes later, I find out that she wanted to know not about the panel but what was in the chick. Facepalm. I told her there had to be some type of rod frame that moved back and forth like a metronome. If you were to break this toy open, I’m sure you would see the rod frame. And folks, that was it. The line of questioning was over as I solved her issue. But honestly, was this worth the time and the effort?