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Topic: Hurricanes and such

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Subject: Hurricanes and such
Date Posted: 9/19/2008 7:43 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2006
Posts: 859
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There are millions of people across the country without power.  There are folks in Texas, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and other states.  They can't get electric and I understand the internet services in Texas are all jammed up too.  PBS is naturally the last thing on their mind.   How does PBS handle this?

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 9/19/2008 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,132
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PBS doesn't have any way to know which specific members were affected by hurricanes. Clearly there are some people from Houston who are here and posting. Some have mentioned that they've evacuated, but are still managing their accounts from afar. Some people went on vacation hold. There's just no way that PBS could know that member A from Houston has been flooded and no longer has any books that aren't water damaged while member B from Houston is perfectly fine and has regular mail service.

All the normal system rules apply in this situation. If someone hasn't put her account on hold and gets a request, then she has 5 days to say whether or not she can mail the book. If she doesn't respond, the book is removed from her shelf and the request is passed along to the next person who posted the book.

If a wish list book is offered, the member has 48 hours to accept. If she doesn't, then she's removed from the line and the book is offered to the next person who was waiting for it.

I've always found the PBS Team to be friendly and helpful, so I'm sure if someone wrote in and said "my friend Mary Smith has no power, can you please put her account on hold so she won't miss out on her wish list books?" they'd do that. Even if Mary wrote in and said she'd missed a wish list offer due to the hurricane but was now back and wondering if she could get her spot back in line, they'd probably do that too. It's not really possible to get a missed request back though. Once either the request or the wish list book has been passed along to the next member, that new request is the one that's active, and I don't see any practical way to try to cancel things and go backwards.

The rest of us might have more requests and wish list books time out, or it might take longer for books going into the affected areas to be received. All we can really do is be patient.

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I'm in Louisville Ky, and we had a major windstorm here last Sunday when the remnants of Hurricane Ike passed through our area.  About half of the city is still without power, schools have been closed all week, and a large percentage of businesses have been closed, mostly because they don't have power.  Only about 25% of the gas stations in town were able to sell gasoline for the first few days, if they were even open; some were running on generator power and selling mostly bottled water & ice.  It's still a mess here.  They're finally getting the debris cleared - there were trees and power lines down all over the city, and roads were blocked everywhere.  We have national guardsmen here now, and they're mostly helping the police direct traffic because there are a lot of traffic lights still out.  My power went out for a couple of hours on Sunday, but it's stayed back on since then, and I don't think my internet service was ever interrupted.  We just got lucky.  It seems to be patchy everywhere you go.  One block has power and the next one doesn't.

Date Posted: 9/19/2008 12:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2008
Posts: 988
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I know I have gotten pms from a couple of people who apologized because they didn't get the books I've ordered out because of the hurricane.  It doesn't matter to me.  I think people are more importent than books so, whenever they can get it out is okay with me.

Date Posted: 9/20/2008 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 2,027
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I think people are more importent than books so, whenever they can get it out is okay with me.

I couldn't agree more.

Date Posted: 9/20/2008 11:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2006
Posts: 2,303
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I did see people in areas where storms were expected posting reminders that those affected might want to but their shelves on hold "just in case", so they wouldn't be getting new orders.

Date Posted: 9/22/2008 11:44 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 189
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We were without power from Sunday night to Tuesday night, courtesy of the hurricane.  (Who would have thought it could reach all the way to Pittsburgh?)  I had a book to mail, and just PM'ed the requester and told her that I would do the best I could.  It turned out that since our power came back on on Tuesday (the power company was projecting outages through Friday AAAH!), I got it out with no trouble. 

I really feel for the people who will be much longer without power, and my heart goes out to those who might have had their homes damaged by hurricane-related weather.  I suppose we'll just all have to be patient and understanding.

The speed at which one can mail out books or respond to wishlist/request emails certainly doesn't matter if they're also trying to pump out their basement, pull a tree off their roof, or navigate a dark house with a flashlight!