Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Our future leader


All the drama at my library this week has to do with indulgences. A difficult library patron has taken to asking desk staff to take his food to our back room to microwave it for him. I have not been involved in any of the drama, though last week he did ask me to microwave his food for him.

I said "No."

He wasn't happy, but it has gone far worse for others. Apparently he was hostile to two of my colleagues at the front desk when they told him they could not warm his food for him. The circulation manager was brought in as tensions rose, and, infuriating all my co-workers, the manager resolved the situation by warming the mean person's food for him and delivering it to him at his computer.

Aside from the more common sense idea that we don't cook patrons' food for them in our staff areas, we actually have a much publicized library policy that we don't allow warm food to be eaten in the library anyway. But before it ever got to the point of this person raging against his food not being warmed, another of my colleagues had warmed his food, as a point of least resistance to his aggression. This only led to him being more furious when he was refused in the future, which led to the manager compounding the problem by passing the problem forward.

There are times when a careful, limited indulgence can resolve a situation. But nearly always, when someone is asking for something wholly, or even slightly unreasonable, indulging them doesn't resolve the problem, it merely delays the problem while also doubling its size.

And like with a child, only indulged to avoid the difficult work of addressing the issue, one ends up with the worst possible thing:

A President.

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