An Ocean Of Passive-Aggressiveness

, , , , | Related | March 28, 2018

(My mom and sister have taken my four-year-old daughter to the library while I’m at work. The library has a station of seashells for the children to look at.)

Sister: “If you put the seashell to your ear, you can hear the ocean!”

Daughter: “Oh, I hear it! Grandma, listen!”

(She holds the seashell to my mom’s ear.)

Daughter: “Can you hear it, Grandma?”

Grandma: “No.”

Daughter: “Well, maybe if you’d stop talking, you would hear it.”

Books Are For All Kids, Big And Small

, , , , , | Hopeless | March 26, 2018

(I work at a library. I am helping an elderly woman find some children’s books: “The Boxcar Children,” “Nancy Drew,” etc.)

Me: “Are these for your grandchildren?”

Patron: “If I told you who I was getting these books for, you wouldn’t believe me.”

Me: “Try me.”

Patron: “My 80-year-old wife grew up with 13 siblings. They were very poor, and didn’t have the advantages I had. My mother always took me to the library, and I read everything I could get my hands on. I read these to my wife every night to recapture some of the childhood she didn’t get to have.”

(I started tearing up. Sometimes I really just love my job, and I love people.)

Unable To Print In Color

, , , , | Right | March 24, 2018

(I am working at the reference desk. A patron walks over from the computer lab. We are unable to see anything in the computer lab from the reference desk.)

Patron: “Who was that black woman who took one of my printed pages? I know she did it on purpose! I want to know who she is!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but we can’t see anything in the computer lab from the reference desk.”

Patron: “Well, can’t you use the computer sign-in to tell me who did it? It’s right here.” *points at clipboard, which is only used for people who need guest passes*

(I point out that I still wouldn’t be able to match a name to a face.)

Patron: “Well, can’t you just separate the blacks from the whites, then?”

From Desk ‘Til Sawn

, , , , , | Working | March 20, 2018

(The library I work at is moving locations, and many items have been left behind by the previous owners of our new site. One of these items is a very nice, spacious desk. One look at it, and my coworkers and I fall in love with it and want to make use of it.)

Coworker #1: “I just saw something similar to this one in [Office Supply Store]. It costs at least $700!”

Coworker #2: “And look what good condition it’s in. There’s not even a scratch on it.”

Me: “I think we should keep it. I’d like to have my breaks back here on it.”

Coworker #2: “Yeah, me, too. It’s really nice. Look at all these drawers we could put our craft supplies in.”

Coworker #1: “We could even set up a computer back here for when we need to do confidential work.”

Me: “Great idea! Let’s tell director we want to keep it.”

(We all go and find the director.)

Coworker #2: “[Director]? Can we keep the desk that’s in the back workroom?”

Director: “Absolutely not! We’re moving our table back there, instead.”

(She gestures to a table we’ve had for the past decade. It was previously in the middle of the library for anyone to sit at. The corners are all damaged from chairs and carts hitting it, and the surface is scratched and marked from children doing crafts on it. Other than that, there is nothing interesting about it because it is a basic, generic, brown table. We all just sort of stare at her.)

Me: “Did you see the desk, though? It has lots of drawer space we can use. And it fits in the room better. This table is really big, and it would take up half of the workroom.”

Director: “We didn’t pay for that desk, so we’re getting rid of it!”

Coworker #1: “But didn’t this table only cost us like $200? That desk is worth at least $700. We’d be gaining $500 worth of furniture if we keep the desk and throw out the table.”

Director: “We are not throwing out the table! We paid for it!”

Me: “But the desk is in better condition. And all of us who are going to work here every day would rather work off the desk than the table.” *all three of us nod*

Coworker #1: “The desk is the more valuable piece of furniture, and it’s newer, too.”

Coworker #2: “And we can use it for storage and stuff. The table doesn’t have any drawers.”

Director: “This conversation is over! We’re throwing that desk away! We didn’t pay for it! I am not wasting my money by throwing away the table I paid for!

Me: “Maybe we can put the table somewhere els—”

Director: “NOT ONE MORE WORD! We didn’t pay for that desk. We paid for this table! WE’RE KEEPING THE TABLE!”

Coworker #2: “If you’re going to just throw out the desk, can I have it?”

Me: “I could use it, too!”

Coworker #1: “I’d make space for it at my house. It really is a nice desk.”

Director: “Get back to work! NOW!”

(We all dispersed. The director had the maintenance staff disassemble the desk with a saw and crowbar so it was completely unusable for anyone. They had to cut off one inch of the table to get it to fit in our workroom. It’s ugly and bulky, and now it has a rough edge from where they sawed it, which I have already cut myself on.)

Her Management Style Is A Bit Rusty

, , , , | Working | March 19, 2018

(We have just opened a new branch library to which I’ve been assigned. Rather than furnish it nicely, our director has been obsessed with reusing old furniture. One of these pieces is a book return box that is so rusty we can barely open it. It also does not yet have a basket inside, so the return box is literally that: a box shell over the concrete parking lot. Anything returned inside drops straight to the pavement.)

Me: “Do you think we should put an ‘Out of Order’ sign on the book drop or something, so people don’t return things there until we get a basket inside it?”

Director: “Why would we want to do that?”

Me: “Well, we can’t really open it to get anything out, so people will think they’re returning stuff on time, but it might take us days before maintenance can pry it open.”

Director: *shrugs* “We’ll just back-date everything a week, then.”

Me: “Plus, items just crash onto the concrete. Movies are going to get broken.”

Director: “I guess that’s less inventory we have to deal with.”

(I just quietly walked away so I wouldn’t say anything that would get me fired. This director doesn’t care about the taxpayer dollars that bought those movies, nor does she care about keeping inventory well stocked, yet she’s petitioning the community for a million-dollar levy. Also, at the time of writing this, one of our patrons told us she returned movies in our dropbox, and she wants them removed from her card so she doesn’t get any fines. And we can’t get the rusty drop box open to do so.)

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