The Machines Are Already More Intelligent Than Us

, | Paris, France | Extra Stupid, Money, Technology

(I work at a library’s copy store, a fairly large room within the main branch of the library. At the entrance of our store there are three huge copy-card dispensers – about the size of a cupboard – with a different slot for each way to pay: coins, banknotes, and credit cards. On every wall of our store, several A3-sized posters inform customers that they have buy cards to do their copies.)

Customer: “Excuse me, but I paid and I didn’t get my card.”

Colleague: “Did you pay with credit card, bill, or coins?”

Customer: “Bill.”

(My colleague goes to the card dispenser with the customer.)

Colleague: “I’m truly sorry, sir, but it seems I can’t find your bill.”

Customer: “Oh, that’s because I didn’t put it there.”

(Then he pointed at the coin slot. And indeed, there was a tiny piece of paper sticking out of it: the corner of his banknote, folded in four…)

Rubber-Stamped As Racist

| VA, USA | Books & Reading

(I work in a public library at the reference/circulation desk. The patron has just taken a rubber band out of one of our rubber band return bins, and seeing that it’s full of rubber bands and trash, I go over to empty it. Both the patron and I are white.)

Patron: *whipping her head around seeing me empty the bin* “What? Was there something wrong with them?”

Me: “No, ma’am. It’s the rubber band return. It needs to be emptied periodically so we can try to get our rubber bands back.”

(We have a major issue with patrons taking office supplies and library materials so we try to keep an eye on this.)

Patron: *rips the rubber band off her wrist and throws it on the desk in front of me* “Guess you may as well have this one, too!”

Me: “Oh, thanks!”

(A little while later she comes up, and I let her know she has a fine, after which time she leaves the library, then comes back several minutes later and dumps a handful of pennies on the counter to pay her fine.)

Patron: *to my coworker while glaring at me* “I don’t know what some people’s problem is! I take one rubber band from the thing and he HAS to empty it right then! Some people take all the rubber bands they want and nobody says anything to them! Guess it just matters what color your skin is, HUH?”

Me: *to the patron I’m helping at the desk* “Did I really just get accused of being racist against white people by another white person?”

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?”