Urine Real Trouble

| VA, USA | Bad Behavior, Books & Reading, Liars & Scammers

(One of my jobs at the library is to bill people who damage library books. Three children’s books have been urinated on and reek. As we’ve had problems in the past with people claiming that the library fabricates damages for money, I put my gloves on and snap some pictures of the pee-soaked books. The next day, the customer comes in.)

Customer: “Your coworker says I can’t check out any more books until I pay my fines. Why the heck do I have fines?”

Me: “You returned three of our books damaged with urine and are responsible for replacing those items.”

Customer: *angrily* “I did no such thing! They were just fine when I returned them!”

Me: “Here, let me show you what we found in our book drop.”

(Shows customer pictures of damage as customer gets more agitated with each picture.)

Me: “They are damaged and you are responsible for paying for them.”

Customer: “They were just fine when I put them in your book drop!”

Me: “Are you saying that one of my staff peed on your library books?”

Will Have To Chew On That Lie For A While

| ID, USA | Books & Reading, Pets & Animals

(Our policy is that if a patron returns a book damaged, they pay for it. We get a lot of arguments that “it was like that when I checked it out,” but we check items for damage before they’re checked out.)

Coworker: “I’m sorry; it looks like this book was returned with damage. There’ll be a replacement fee.”

Patron: “I didn’t do it! It was like that before I checked it out!”

Coworker: “Ma’am, this book has been dog-chewed. There’s no way we would check a book out in this condition.”

Patron: “But it couldn’t have been me! I don’t even own a dog!”

(The book in question was a puppy-training manual.)

Extension Number Two

| AB, Canada | Bizarre, Books & Reading, Health & Body, Theme Of The Month

(I don’t think this actually was a prank call, but I wish it was. I answer the phone at the library and it’s a regular customer with a history for over sharing with staff…)

Me: “Hi, this is [Library]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “Hi, yes, I need more time with my library books.”

Me: *bringing up her account* “Okay, well, it looks like you’ve already had a couple of extensions…”

Customer: “You don’t understand! I can’t leave the house! I have explosive diarrhea! I can’t leave the toilet! I’m on the cordless!”

(I, noticing that every single book she has checked out are for weird diet fads like the ‘strawberry diet,’ figured her story seemed to check out, and extended her materials before I had to talk to her on the toilet anymore.)

Nutty Nativity

| Auckland, New Zealand | Holidays, Theme Of The Month

(We had just finished putting up Christmas trees and decorations around the library, and I was taking work photos.)

American Tourist: “Oh, my god. What lovely trees. They look magnificent.”

Me: “Thanks.”

American Tourist: “Are you all going to put up a nativity scene as well?”

Me: “No. Unfortunately not.”

American Tourist: “Why not?”

Me: “Council directives.” *glancing around and whispering* “Council has directed us not to put up Christian related symbolism and displays.”

American Tourist: “And why the h*** not?”

Me: “Well, unfortunately, Christianity has a bit of a bad image in the eyes of some of our patrons due to perceived injustices, abuse, persecution, and so forth, from people they assume are acting under the name of God. I myself have had bad experiences with some evangelists, but I do not hold it against the religion personally.”

American Tourist: “That’s sad to hear.”

Me: “Funny thing is, it only applies to Christian displays.”

American Tourist: “What do you mean?”

Me: “If I want to put up a three-meter tall Buddha for Wesak day, I am allowed to turn this library into a Buddhist temple. If we wanted to splash out on a Divali display, we can drag in a giant blue statue of Krishna that can fill the mezzanine area. But a nativity scene, nope. Not allowed.”

American Tourist: “That’s discrimination.”

Me: “I know. Tell me about it. I think it’s unfair and discriminatory, and I’m not Christian. We’ve tried to get Council to back down, but have failed for the last five years. But I suppose if enough customers complain…”

American Tourist: “Ah… right. So where can I find some comment forms?”

Me: *points it to her*

American Tourist: “Right. I’ll get to it in a minute. Can I take photos? The trees are lovely.”

Me: “Usually, no. But what the hey, it’s the holidays, so one or two I suppose.”

American Tourist: “Thanks!”

(Suddenly, a local patron comments loudly between the both of us and points at the Christmas trees.)

Local: “Holy Jesus and Lord. Such displays of idolatry. Such sinful displays here in a public space. Jesus will be spinning in his grave to see such displays.”

(Both of us stand there silent for a minute or two.)

American Tourist: “You know what, dear? I’m not going to put in that complaint. Maybe the Council has a fair point after all.”

Half A Mind To Watch What You Say

| Veron, NJ, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Language & Words

(A father and son check out books and DVDs.)

Me: “That’s it. Books are due in two weeks and the DVDs are due in one. But you can return the books at the same time as the DVDs are due, if you have a mind to. Thank you.”

(A few minutes later, as they go in the children’s room:)

Son: “What did she mean by that, Daddy?”

Father: “Well, I think she’s from down South and it’s just a saying…”

(I’m watching what “down South” expressions I use now…)

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