A Library Of Unreasonable Requests, Part 2

, , , | Right | November 4, 2020

I’m working at the circulation desk of a library with a coworker. It’s close to closing time when a family of five comes in. This family is known for letting their children play around on the computers until ten minutes before closing when they automatically shut off.

We make announcements every five minutes or so announcing a countdown to closing. The whole family spends the remaining ten minutes picking out five DVDs apiece, and they don’t come up to the desk to rent them until LITERALLY the last minute.

We store the DVD discs in binders — a dozen heavy, five-inch-thick binders behind the desk —  which isn’t a big deal most of the time, but considering what this family does on a near-weekly basis, it can become a chore because we’re trying to shut down the library on top of filling the DVD boxes. To make matters worse, our system has crashed, slowing things down further.

True to form, they come up with their twenty-plus DVD boxes to check out. Everyone else is gone and it’s just the two of us at the desk and the one other girl waiting by the doors to lock them up after everyone leaves. We’re trying really hard to beat the clock. I’m a part-timer and HAVE to be clocked out at seven minutes past closing; looking at my computer it’s literally 8:07 right now.

Me: “Ma’am, with all due respect, it’s close to ten minutes past closing and we need to—”

The patron is typing away on her phone with seemingly no intention of leaving despite the several stacks of full DVD boxes in front of her.

Patron: “Yeah, no, according to my phone, it’s only five minutes past, so you need to calm down… Okay, so, do you have these books?”

She rattles off a list.

Patron: “I’ve been waiting on them.”

Me: “Ma’am, our system crashed and I have no way of knowing where they are.”

I swivel the computer screen around to show her.

Patron: “Okay, well, you’re being really rude and I don’t want to talk to you.”

She shoved her hand in my face while saying this and turned to my coworker, who basically told her the same thing.

After all of that — and mind you, I was borderline panicking looking at the clock because we can get in trouble if we clock out late — she snatched up her DVDs, gathered her family, and proceeded to leave, ranting about how rude I was.

I sprinted to the back and barely met my deadline. I could hear her screaming out the door about me. It was too much to handle at that point, and I had a really bad anxiety attack in the car on my way home that left me crying in frustration for hours after the fact, wondering where I went wrong.

The coworker at the desk with me went to talk to my boss about them the next day, as they’ve been doing this same thing for months and it’s driving us nuts.

A Library Of Unreasonable Requests

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