Wednesday, May 20, 2015
There is no getting around it. No matter how dear the patrons at my library are to me, there are some, who, approaching me at the front desk, cause my spirit to quail.
Oh, here comes one now!
Her card is littered with special messages and notes of warnings and carefully limited permissions. Actually it's not even her card. It's her kid's card. She has burned through her own card and owes far too much on it to checkout items with it. So here she is with her daughter's card and a sprawling array of A/V materials that she freely spills across my desk. Some are for renewing. Some are for returning. Some important ones she may or may not have left at home. Some she's not sure about. Oh, look, here is some garbage that she spilled out onto my desk with her items. Some items are only parts of what she checked out. Nothing has been worked out by her in advance.
We plow through a long list of restrictions, issues, decisions, fines, organizational piles, notes, and clarifications. I would not list all what we did here even if I could remember it all. The fines on her daughter's card had grown to where she cannot check anything out until she pays them down to our acceptable fine threshold. I am willing to renew things she already has out though, most of them at her house or in her car or lost or being given back to her from us because they were returned to us empty.
She argues vehemently for an exception to the "No Checkout" rule. But I am very firm about it and she relents. She heads out to the lobby and starts asking people for money to pay her fines down. We only allow begging for fine resolution at the front desk. We don't allow it amongst the patrons, and so soon a manager is involved.
But this patron works fast and has gathered a complete stranger to come with her to a self check out station in order to pay $9.00 of her fines with a credit card! The manager manages to put the kibosh on this at the last minute, at which point the owing patron pulls out $9.00 of her own money that she had all along. As she is paying down her fine to an allowable limit with my manager I hear her grumble "I was hoping to buy some food for my children with this!"
So I am very hard pressed to come up with any virtues in this person who, apparently contented, left the library with dozens of our CDs and DVDs. I hope against hope that any children she has are a complicated fictional scam. I look forward to the seemingly inevitable time she self destructs out of the ability to use our library altogether.
Nevertheless, I confess to being dazzled at her ability to talk a complete stranger into coming with her to a computer to pay her fines for her. It took her maybe two minutes total to do so. If not for the cat like reflexes of my manager she would have managed it too. Amazing.
Oh, if only she would use her power for good.