It’s Been Beautifully Supervised

, , , , | Right | March 16, 2018

(I am the Manager of Branches for the entire public library system which means that I am in charge of all the desk staff and supervisors across the county. Although I am more than 30 years old, I am very petite and people often think I am younger than I am. The other thing is that most of my staff are either teenagers or between 50 and 70. I don’t usually do shifts on the desk but sometimes I am called in to cover lunches. I am working at the circulation desk when a middle-aged woman comes up.)

Patron: “Hi, I borrowed a copy of [Popular Book that just came out] and I seem to have lost it. I wanted to see how much it would cost me to replace it.”

Me: “Our standard fee for a replacement is $45.”

Patron: *suddenly angry* “$45!? It’s only $25 at [Bookstore]! You can’t just charge whatever you feel like for books. You teenagers are all the same! I’ll bet you are pocketing the extra $20 from every book that gets lost, you little b****!”

(I try to explain to her how the charges are set by our publishers, and about the service fees for cataloging books and re-entering them into circulation, but she isn’t interested in listening to me. She keep shouting over me and interrupting me. Eventually, a sort of calm comes over her and she stops yelling and lets me speak, while smirking.)

Patron: *grinning like she is about to play her trump card* “Sweetie, I want to talk to your supervisor.”

(Now, it’s my turn to smirk a little. I could just tell her who I am, but I’m interested to see how my branch supervisor handles problem customers. I go and get the branch supervisor. The patron starts bad-mouthing me to the supervisor, who seems a little confused by the fact that she keeps referring to me as a teenager. But my supervisor is professional and tells her exactly what I told her. This seems to infuriate the patron even more and she demands to speak to my supervisor’s boss.)

Branch Supervisor: “Well, the Manager of Branches is actually in the building right now; I can let you speak to her.”

Patron: “Good! Finally, someone who knows what they’re talking about.”

(The branch supervisor brings me back over.)

Me: “Hi, I’m [My Name], the Manager of Branches. Now, would you like to pay by cash or card?”

(The patron just looked at me, looked at the branch supervisor — who was trying not to laugh — looked back at me, and practically ran out of the library. I put a $45 charge on her card and suspended her account until it was paid. According to my branch supervisor, her husband came in the next day and paid off the charge. He comes in pretty often, but she hasn’t shown her face in a while.)

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