She Has Steal Appeal

, , , , , | Right | April 20, 2019

(I’m working the information desk with my coworker when this happens. A middle-aged, blonde woman with a strong Eastern European accent comes up, looking very angry.)

Customer: “I need police!”

Me: “Okay, what for?”

Customer: “My purse stolen! I vas sitting at bench outside, I put my purse under, and next thing I know it gone. Person next to me, gone, too!”

Me: “And how long ago was this?”

Customer: “About ten minutes ago.”

Me: “Oh, wow. I’m so sorry that happened to you. Do you need the number for the police?”

Customer: “Yes!”

(I give her the non-emergency number for the local police.)

Me: “Here. You can call that number and file a stolen property report. The police should talk to you soon.”

(She dials the number on her cell phone and starts talking.)

Customer: “Yes, I need police officer!” *pause* “My purse stolen!” *pause* “I was sitting at bus stop, I put my purse under the bench, and when I look up it gone! Person next to me, gone too!” *pause* “Okay.” *pause* “No.” *pause* “Ten minutes ago, why?” *pause* “What?! But why can you not send someone now? I at library, [address], you always have officer here! But, but…” *pause* “Fine! But be here quick!”

(I’m definitely not liking where this conversation is going. For the record, we sometimes have an officer stationed in our library, because we tend to get a higher-than-average number of patrons who do not know how to behave well, but only on weekend evenings.)

Customer: “You idiot! Why you give me that number?!”

Me: “Wha… Ma’am?”

Customer: “I need officer right now! Why you not give me 911?!”

Me: “Well, ma’am… I’m sorry, but you described a crime that happened a while ago. Dialing non-emergency and filing a report is usually the wisest thing to do.”

Customer: “But I need right now! Why officer not here?! You alvays have one!”

Me: “Well… that’s usually only on evenings, ma’am.”

Customer: “So, now, what I do?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, madam, but the best I can tell you is to wait for the officer to come.”

(She stomps off angrily. I assume that will be the end of it. Stupid me. About four minutes later:)

Customer: “This all your fault!”

Me: “Huh?”

Customer: “All my documents gone! My social security, my passport, my medication — gone!”

Me: “Well… I’m sorry, madam, but you are expected to be responsible for your own personal property.”

Customer: “So, why not call 911?!”

Me: *patience stretching just a tad thin* “Ma’am, with all due respect, if you know the number for 911, why not just call them yourself?!”

Customer: “Because you have officer here in library!”

Coworker: “I’ll call 911 for you, ma’am.”

Customer: “Thank you! He know what he doing!”

(Even after that, she still comes back to harass me several times at my desk, telling me how stupid and incompetent I am, how she’s going to make my life miserable if she doesn’t get her purse back, etc. She also proceeds to talk over my coworker whenever he tries to mediate between us. But I’m still willing to let this go, until this happens!)

Customer: “You know vat? I bet it was black guy!”

Me: *keeps my mouth shut, as I don’t want to make an already volatile situation worse* “Mm-hmm.”

Customer: “I’m serious! That’s all black people do: steal! I remember all my pill stolen when I talk to one once!”

Me: “Ma’am, please don’t speculate like that. It’s offensive.”

Customer: “But it truth!”

(Did I mention that my coworker standing next to me, who called 911 for her, is also black? Remind me to commend him for his patience. She goes back to sit down, but — you guessed it — not even two minutes later:)

Customer: “If you just call 911 first time, I no be here, you stupid, incompetent, worthless little—“

Me: *temper finally breaking* “MA’AM, I HAVE DONE THE BEST THAT I CAN UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES! NOW, WILL YOU PLEASE STOP HARASSING ME AT MY OWN DESK AND STOP BLAMING ME FOR THE EFFECTS OF YOUR OWN FOOLISHNESS?!”

Customer: “I NOT HARASSING; I TELLING YOU TO DO YOUR JOB!”

Coworker: “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Okay, let’s calm down. [My Name], the police officer is here; how about I take [Customer] downstairs?

Me: *deep breath* “Yes, please.”

(A few minutes later.)

Coworker: “Okay, the officer’s taking her statement, but he also decided it’d be a good idea to ask her to leave the library.”

Me: “Good. Thank you, [Coworker].” *deep sigh* “I want to feel bad for her, since she did get stolen from, but some people really make it difficult. Especially considering this didn’t even take place on our property.”

(I somehow never got written up for this.)

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