Saturday, March 10, 2007

You Cannot Be Serious

9:20 p.m. / 21:20

You cannot be serious.

This is probably my most-used phrase, or sentence, really, when I'm at work. Normally I refrain from blogging about work, but for some reason I'm in the mood tonight, so I shall briefly (maybe) share two incidents during which I thought to myself "you cannot be serious" today.

Incident One: I was checking in movies at the front desk when a lady walked up and sat a bag on the counter. She said "I'm returned these and I'll need a new sack when I check out". Okay, I could deal with the somewhat early demand for a new bag (I happen to hate the word sack... no reason, just do), but since I was busy with the movies I asked her if it was just books in the bag. She said yes they were all books, and since movies take priority over books for check-in (there are reasons for this, but it would just bore you if I took the time to explain) I asked if she would mind putting them in the drop box. Her response? "Oh, I thought you did that". No, no, no... that's why we have the drop box. Hello! Allow me to state the obvious: The drop box is there for library patrons to put their return items in because a lot of the time we're too busy to just stand around waiting for people to return things. I don't remember ever seeing this lady before, so maybe she usually goes to one of the little bitty branches that have drop boxes, but don't really use them much because they just check everything in right away. I don't know, but I just thought that was a weird thing to say.

Incident Two: This is the one that actually angered me, although I remained calm at the time. There is a woman who is trying to have her daughter's fines waived because her other daughter called to renew the movies that caused the fines, but was only told she had no movies on her card. So, now the family is blaming us, because we didn't guess who's card they were on. Honestly, if it had been me, especially since I'm familiar with this family, I probably would have asked the girl if they might be on her mom or sister's card, and checked them too. But it isn't an obligation. If you call us and say "My name is Jane Smith and I want to renew my movies" and we say, "Well, Jane, you don't have any movies out" and then you say "Oh, okay", that's the end, really. Also, the mother told me that she was informed about the result of the phone call right afterwards. Why didn't she call us herself, since she's an adult and she had to know those movies were on somebody's card? I told her, as politely as possible, that we consider it the patron's responsibility to keep track of what items they have checked out on their cards, but that she is welcome to contact my supervisor on Monday and discuss it with her. I really like helping people, but there is a line somewhere between being helpful and being a pushover. We cannot be pushovers!

Okay, I'm done now; thank you for your patience!


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