I Don’t Want To Make A Big Deal, But Here Is A Big Deal

, , , , , | Right | December 3, 2017

(It’s a Sunday, so there are only two librarians working the library circulation desk. As I come up to the desk to check out my books, both librarians are talking to an older woman.)

Woman: “This is not a big deal; I just want to make it clear that I feel I have been cheated!”

Librarian #1: “Ma’am, while you may have overpaid your overdue fines—”

Woman: “I was told they would be credited against my future fines!”

Librarian #1: “I do not know who told you that, but they were mistaken.”

Woman: “My son says you do it for him all the time. And it’s only a quarter, but—”

Librarian #2: “We’ve never done credits.”

Woman: “—It’s not a big deal if your employee POCKETED TAXPAYER FUNDS!”

Librarian #1: “Ma’am, any excess fine payments are donated to the Friends of the Library, and we always ask beforehand if that’s all right.”

Woman: “It’s only a quarter. I get it. It’s no big deal, but I don’t understand—”

Librarian #2: “Ma’am, if you wanted to bring in your receipt—”

Woman: “I DON’T WANT TO MAKE A BIG DEAL OUT OF THIS, BUT—”

Librarian #1: *exasperated* “Ma’am, here is a quarter; I apologize for the misunderstanding.”

Woman: “Well. Fine.” *takes her book and her quarter and marches out*

Me: *as I step up to the desk* “I’m so glad that wasn’t a big deal.”

Librarian #2: *wearily* “You have no idea.”

Oh, Hi-o!

, , , , , | Friendly | November 29, 2017

(I am a student library assistant at a small public library across from the administration building of an osteopathic medical school. One day, a woman who looks to be about the same age as my parents comes into the library. We strike up a conversation.)

Woman: “I haven’t been back here since my husband graduated from [Medical School].”

Me: “Where are you living now?”

Woman: “Columbus, Ohio.”

Me: “Oh, my family has friends there! Maybe you know them!”

Woman: *condescendingly* “I doubt we would know them. Columbus is a big city.”

Me: “Well, the husband is chief of surgery at [Major Osteopathic Medical Center in Columbus]. I just thought—”

Woman: “Oh! We do know him!”

Me: *quiet smile*

Not A Turn-Up For The Books

, , , , | Right | November 20, 2017

(I work the front desk at a university library. The actual library building is fairly large and includes a small food court on the basement floor. One day, two girls walk up to the front desk:)

Customer #1: “Hi, do you all have food here?”

Me: *thinking she’s referring to the food court* “Yes, ma’am, we do.”

Customer #1: “Great! Can I get a meatball sub, to go, please?”

Me: *dumbfounded* “Ma’am… This is a library. If you want food, the food court is downstairs.”

Customer #2: *hitting her friend on the arm* “You idiot! I told you!”

Customer #1: “What?! He said there was food!”

(They started giggling and walked downstairs.)

A Riot Of Color

, , , , | Right | November 16, 2017

(Within our copy store there are about twelve copy machines. Every machine prints in black and white, except one. Our only colour copier is right next to our office. On its cover, and on the wall right above it, there are two large warning labels to advise people about it, since colour copies are six times more expensive than black and white. One thing about our copy cards: first, you buy one for 2€ — 1€ for the card itself, 1€ for the credit, so six black and white copies or one colour one. Then you can add credit on it for a whole year.)

Customer: *holding a perfect copy* “Excuse me?”

Me: “Yes? Can I help you?”

Customer: “I just bought a card. I did just one copy, and now it says my credit isn’t enough.”

Me: *knowing where this is going, and pointing to the colour copier* “Did you use that specific machine?”

Customer: “Yes! But I don’t understand what’s the matter.”

Me: “This one is a colour copier. Copies are 0.92€ a piece when you use it.”

Customer: “Oh, no! I only wanted a black and white copy! I needed the text, without pictures! Well, now, I guess you have to refund me.”

Me: “I’m truly sorry, but we use only a card system. Hence, we don’t keep any money in our office, and anyway, we’re prohibited to do any kind of refunding.”

Customer: “Come on! Why not?”

Me: “This is a self-service. We can help you to do your copies, but if you don’t ask for our help, if the copier works fine — which it did — we can’t do anything at all, even if you mess your copy. I’m sorry!”

Customer: “But I’m asking for your help right now!”

Me: “I mean help before doing any copy.”

Customer: *angry* “But it’s false advertisement! You didn’t warn me about it!”

Me: “Actually, we did.”

Customer: *angrier* “Really? And how was I supposed to know that it was a colour copier?”

Me: “There are labels on it, and on the wall in front of you.”

Customer: *getting more and more angry* “Nobody f****** reads these posters!”

Me: *now bored out of my mind* “Yes, I think you’re right. And that’s the main issue there. We are in a library where nobody even bothers to read.”

(In a way, I guess being a smart-a** didn’t help me to keep that job more than four months.)

Maybe The Library Has Books About What Libraries Are

, , , , | Right | November 15, 2017

(A man in an extremely dirty jacket approaches the counter holding a copy of a reference-only Banksy art book.)

Customer: “Ey, mate, how much for this book? There ‘ent a price on it.”

Me: “Er… This is a library. I’m afraid I can’t sell you any of the books.”

Customer: “Eh? How much for this, then?”

Me: “No, it’s… This isn’t a shop. It’s a library. The books aren’t for sale. I can sign you up for a library card, if you want.”

Customer: *stares blankly*

Me: “I can give you a library card, so that you can borrow books, but not that one; that one has to stay here.”

Customer: “Are you not gonna serve me ’cause of how I’m dressed, eh? I have loads of money: look.” *waves around a couple of £10 notes*

Me: “I can’t sell you the book because this is a library.”

Customer: “What the h***’s that, then?”

(This went on for a couple more minutes. He finally left, clearly still convinced that we were a bookstore and confused about why we refused to serve him.)

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