For some reason I seem to get a lot of people giving me more information than I really need. It’s not just at work, it must be some kind of genetic defect. I attract people who are a little off. This makes working at the library just a little more interesting.
The circulation desk, so you know, is divided in to two halves. One side is for checking things out and the other is for returns. Both have signs indicating which is which but, odd as it may sound, most people who come in to the library don’t like to read things. So I spend a large portion of my day directing people to the right counter.
Some people slip through before I can say anything.
Yesterday a woman and her friend came up to the counter with a return. Before I could say anything about the returns counter she cut me off.
“This book might be a little over due.”
If someone wants to know right away and pay their fines, it’s just as easy to do it at whichever counter they’re at rather than sending them off somewhere else first so I checked it in. It wasn’t “a little over due”. It was a lot over due. In fact, it had gone to lost which only happens when you’ve had the book so long that we assume you’re never coming back.
“If there’s a charge, that’s fine because I’m not paying it.”
I tell her that it was lost. The replacement charge will be removed because she brought the book back but the late charge is $16.
She huffs at me. Never a good sign.
“Well I’m not paying that.”
I’m not exactly sure what she wants me to say.
“I’m going to make an appointment to talk to someone about that and have that charge removed. I’m not paying that fine.” She snaps at me. You know, because it’s my fault. “Who would I need to talk to?”
I give her my supervisor’s name. “I can get her for you now, if you like.”
“No. I’ll make an appointment.”
That isn’t necessary. She’s here, now, no appointment necessary. But I give her my supervisor’s card.
“No one even contacted me to tell me that the book was overdue until yesterday. I’m not paying that fine.”
That. right there, would be a load of nonsense. We send out notices regularly. I know we do. It’s one of my jobs. And even if she didn’t get her notice, we tell you when the book is due back when you take it. I would love to know where people got this idea that if we don’t specifically call you, send you notice after notice and in every other way coddle you along the way to make sure you actually bring your items back on time, that some how it’s our fault you’re incapable of bringing your items back on time. That you’re then exempt from paying fines accumulated past the day we specifically stated the books must be returned by.
How, exactly, do you think that works? Hmm? Grow up.
“Well I’m afraid you’ll need to discuss that with my supervisor.”
She turns around, stalks off and says to her friend “Well I moved a while ago…”
Oh good. You moved, more than likely didn’t inform us you moved, we sent your notices to the old address we have on file and yes, that’s right, it’s our fault.
Some people make my head hurt.