The Fine-al Straw  

, , , , | Right | December 10, 2019

(The way our library’s computer system works, overdue fines don’t show up on a patron’s account until the overdue items are checked in. Fines on overdue movies are higher than fines on overdue books; movie fines are fifty cents a day, while book fines are ten cents a day. The system also automatically blocks checkouts to patrons with over five dollars in fines. I’m working the front desk when a woman with a young child comes to the counter with books and movies. I scan her card and discover her account is blocked, along with the reason why.)

Me: “Okay, so, it looks like you have eight dollars in fines today. I won’t be able to check these out to you until the fines are paid.”

Patron: “How’s that possible? I only had a dollar-fifty in fines yesterday, and you guys told me I could pay today.”

Me: *checks account* “It looks like [List Of Three Movies] were overdue by a day, [Movie Title] was overdue by three days, and [Two More Movie Titles] were overdue by five days. Everything’s been turned in; you just need to pay the fines.”

Patron: “Well, I can’t afford to pay that much in fines. I guess I won’t take them.”

Me: “Would you like me to hold these items for you until you’re able to pay?”

Patron: “No!” *turns and marches out, saying loudly for our benefit* “I guess I’m never coming back to the library again!”

(I am a little stunned but don’t think much of it; people getting upset over fines is, unfortunately, commonplace. I put her items on a cart to be reshelved and go about my business. It is my bad luck, however, to pick up the phone when she calls the library later that day.)

Me: “[Community] Library, this is [My Name]; how can I help you?”

Patron: “Yeah, I wanted to complain about how I was treated by you earlier! When I came in yesterday I was told I had a dollar-fifty in fines, and when I came in today I suddenly had eight dollars in fines! How can my fines just magically go up that much? I can’t afford eight dollars! This is ridiculous!”

Me: “Well, ma’am, it’s possible that when you were told you had a dollar-fifty in fines, your other overdue movies hadn’t been checked in yet and the rest of the fines hadn’t accrued in the system yet. It’s just how our system works.”

(I am about to offer to transfer her to one of our administrators, who could possibly cut her a deal on her fines, but the patron cuts in before I can do so.)

Patron: “This is unacceptable! I don’t get how I can go from a dollar-fifty to eight dollars in fines in one day! How am I supposed to be able to check out movies for my daughter? This is really dishonest of you!”

Me: “Ma’am—”

Patron: “You guys are disgraceful! Several months ago I checked out a children’s DVD for my daughter, and when I put it in the player it was a rated-R film! My daughter was so upset! You’re a terrible library! I’m never coming back, and I’m going to leave bad reviews everywhere I can — including Facebook — about you guys! Goodbye!” *click*

(I informed the admin about the patron and the call, and they said they would call her back and “deal with it.” A coworker checked Facebook a few minutes later and discovered  that the patron in question had left a scathing rant about the library on the “[Community] Must Know” Facebook page BEFORE the phone call, hashtagging it with #libraryfail and #learntoread and even “liking” her own post to bump it up the timeline. The admin decided against calling her and cutting her a deal on fines at that point, figuring that she had only ranted and threatened us as a ploy to get us to waive her fines. The post itself vanished from Facebook a few hours later — either the patron had second thoughts or the group admin deleted it for violating rules. And as for the “rated-R” movie she accidentally got instead of her children’s movie? It was “Elf” — a PG-rated Christmas movie.)

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Transformers: Workers In Disguise

, , , , , | Right | December 10, 2019

I’m attending a Transformers fan convention that’s taking place in a hotel associated with a very famous theme park. Said park has offered convention attendees some extra perks, such as discounts on park passes, but has also issued one rule — we’re forbidden from wearing our costumes in the theme park itself. This strikes quite a few people as an odd rule, as the company that runs the park doesn’t own the Transformers brand (yet), but as far as I know, all attendees comply.

The morning of the convention, before the dealer room opens, several people don their Transformers costumes and go down to the lobby for a photoshoot. The shoot soon progresses from simple pictures to the cosplayers posing in “battle” poses, to some mild play-fighting… until all pretense of a photoshoot is forgotten. Now there are people in Transformers costumes running around the lobby, mock-fighting, dodging behind furniture, and in general, getting really into character. Soon, a group of GI Joe cosplayers shows up, and the “battle” gets even crazier.

In any other hotel, I’m sure these antics would get everyone involved thrown out. But instead, the play-fight attracts a huge crowd, not just of convention-goers, but of regular families staying at the hotel on vacation, who have no idea what’s going on but want to watch anyhow. People are taking pictures and cheering the participants on and having a good time.

I’m watching the proceedings when I hear someone mutter behind me, “Is this some kind of promotion for a new ride or something?” And that’s when I realize that the non-convention-goers think that the fake battle is being staged by paid cast members of the park, not ordinary people who are just here for a convention and not getting paid a dime for putting on a show for park-goers.

The “battle” soon ends, and some of the cosplayers take the time to sign autograph books for the kids before heading to the convention hall. This site is full of negative stories about people being mistaken for employees… but this was a “mistaken-for-employee” situation that turned out to make just about everyone involved happy.

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It’s Raining Dogs

, , , , , | Right | December 10, 2019

My husband is a subcontractor for a rental management company. He’s been working for the same office group for about fifteen years. 

He has been working on renovating a house for the company. The carpets have been replaced, and my husband has repainted the interior and trim, fixed both toilets, repaired and repainted the exterior, and replaced all light fixtures. He has saved repainting the deck and patio for last. From the living room, there is a sliding glass door that leads into the outside patio, surrounded by screening, and then there is a screen door that leads to a deck, kind of an L shape. My husband has replaced all of the screening around the patio and replaced the screen door, and has now started to paint the railings around the deck. Then, it starts to storm, so he has to stop.

The next day, he goes back to finish what he couldn’t do the day before. I’ve tagged along to help where I can. He starts at the steps of the deck and works his way towards the sliding doors in the patio. As soon as he crosses the threshold into the — covered — patio, we hear thunder. Within minutes, the heavens have opened up and it is pouring. Soon, all of the paint on the still-wet deck has washed away, and I’m watching a taupe-colored river cross into the neighbor’s yard. The deck now looks as it did when we began. He finishes what he can, but the rain never lets up.

Day 3: It doesn’t rain. He gets the deck painted. He goes inside to do a final run-through and make sure everything is as it should be. Then, he looks through the sliding glass door; there are two dogs on the deck… walking over the paint, leaving footprints. One is female, in heat, and bleeding… all over the deck. The other dog is male, and obviously answering the call of nature with the female. My husband goes out to the screened patio with a broom to shoo them away. The male starts barking and growling at him. Then, he places his paint-covered paws up on the new screen door. Neither dog leaves all afternoon.

At this, my husband snaps a few pictures of the deck and the dogs and sends them to the rental management company, along with a description of the last three days. The management company group simply laughs and asks when the job will be done. I’ve never seen him look so dead inside.

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Wishing There Was A Customer Clearance

, , | Right | December 10, 2019

(I am a customer at a large department store. When paying for my purchases, I realise that my total is a lot higher than I expected, but I pay anyway so I don’t hold up the line behind me. I walk up to the customer service counter after I locate the issue.)

Me: “Hello, I got this item off the $1 clearance shelf, but it rang for [price a lot higher than $1]. I guess someone accidentally left it there. I’d like to return it.”

Employee: “Oh, that’s unfortunate. I’ll issue a return and have the item put back to where it belongs.”

(A random customer hears everything we said.)

Customer: *loudly* “They did this on purpose. They put it there so you pay more and hope you don’t notice.”

Me: “I’m sure it was a customer that left it there while shopping.” 

Customer: *now yelling* “NO. They did this. They are stealing your money!”

Employee: “Sir, we would never falsely advertise the price of an item.” 

Customer: *yelling at me* “YES, THEY WOULD! DON’T LISTEN TO HER! SHE IS A LIAR AND THEY ARE ALL CRIMINALS!” 

(I am very startled and don’t even understand why he is yelling. He steps between me and the customer service desk and continues yelling at me.)

Employee: “Sir, I will have to call security if you continue to do this.”

(He did not stop. Security escorted him off the store. I got my refund and a bunch of great coupons from the store to make up for my experience, even though it was in no way their fault that the guy was insane. I still have no idea why he got so mad.)

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Because Customer Service Builds Extra Rooms

, , , | Right | December 10, 2019

(We are sold out, as is pretty much every hotel in town — not unusual in a tourist town at the height of the season. A man comes in without a reservation.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. We are sold out tonight.”

Customer: “But the hotel across the street lost my reservation!”

Me: “I really am sorry but there is nothing I can do. All but one of my rooms has checked in and that person called to say they will be late. I can’t kick someone out. Does it need to be in Bozeman or are you heading east or west?”

Customer: “We are going to Yellowstone in the morning! Why can’t you help me?!”

Me: “Because I’m full up. Mostly with people also going to Yellowstone. Three Forks might have something but they are west of here. Other than that, I’ve had people going to Billings or Butte. Everywhere close is full.”

Customer: *as he stomps out the door* “Well, you need better customer service!”

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