Damaged Beyond My Despair

| IA, USA | Right | September 11, 2015

(A library patron returns a DVD with the case so scraped and bent that it can’t be put through the unlocking machine.)

Librarian: “And there’s a $6.75 fine on your card.”

Patron: “What? Why?”

Librarian: “Your DVD case was damaged and will have to be replaced.”

Patron: “You people didn’t unlock it before we left. I gave it to my son, and he tried his best to get it loose. He only used a butter knife.”

Librarian: “I’m sorry we didn’t unlock it. When that happens, you need to bring it back to us, not try to pry it open.”

Patron: “We didn’t even get to watch it, so I don’t see why we should have to pay for it.”

Librarian: “The case is so badly damaged that it’s no longer usable.”

Patron: “How is that damage? It was only a butter knife!”

Literally Scream For More Ice Cream

| Canada | Right | September 10, 2015

(At the library I volunteer for, we have a “Reading Event” in the summer for the kids. My job is to hand out one ice cream to each child. Throughout the course of the day, one of the younger boys decides to hang around me to keep me “company.” Another kid comes up to me.)

Me: *hands ice cream to kid* “Enjoy and have a great summer!”

Child: *nods his head, then reaches to grab another ice cream from my cooler*

Me: *I tug the cooler away from him* “Sorry, but it’s only one-per-person.”

Child: “That’s not fair!” *the child begins to stomp his feet on the ground and basically throw a fit*

(At this point a woman I can only assume is the boy’s mother rushes over.)

Woman: “What on Earth do you think you’re doing to my son!”

Me: *trying to stay calm* “Nothing, ma’am! I was just telling him he could only have one ice cream!”

Woman: “Nonsense! He’s my baby and he deserves as many as he wants!”

Me: “Miss, please, I can’t give him more than one ice cream; it’s one of the rules!”

Woman: “But—”

(At this point the younger boy hanging around me decides to pipe up:)

Younger Boy: “SHE SAID ‘ONE-PER-PERSON!’ NOW GET LOST!”

(Both the woman, the child, and I all stared at the younger boy in shock. The lady began to look sheepish and dragged her son out of the library. And without saying anything, I handed the unopened ice cream the kid left behind in their haste to leave, to my favorite “little helper.”)

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Don’t Elevate Your Expectations

| USA | Working | August 26, 2015

(I’m working as a front desk clerk and I go into the sorting room to get a book. We have a few new pages who started recently (pages are the ones who shelve the books) and the trainer is talking to one. I overhear the conversation as I’m looking for the book:)

Trainer: “Okay, I think you’re ready to shelve on your own now. Why don’t you take this cart of picture books upstairs to the children’s room? Can you handle that on your own?”

Page: “Yes, I think so.”

Trainer: “Do you have any questions?”

Page: “Just one. Should I take the elevator?”

Trainer: *completely straight faced* “Yes, you should take the elevator.”

(After the page left with the cart, Trainer and I made eye contact and both burst out laughing.)

This Customer Is A Time Bomb

| IL, USA | Right | August 25, 2015

(My patron is a young boy of about seven or eight. He is using the online card catalog and looks stumped.)

Me: “Can I help you find something?”

Patron: “I want a book on how to build a nuclear bomb.”

Me: “Uh… I don’t think we’re going to have anything like that in our collection.”

Patron: “Well, how can I learn to make one, then?”

Me: “I would suggest a PhD in physics.”

Patron: “Oh! Here’s one!” *shows me a catalog record for a book called “How to Build a Nuclear Bomb”*

Me: “Oh, see, actually that book is about the global economics, politics, and resources that would…” *noticing patron’s blank stare* “You know what? Yeah, I can get you that book.”

(A couple of weeks later, the young patron comes in to check out his reserve.)

Patron: “Uh… I don’t think this is what I want. It doesn’t have any nuclear bomb plan in it, or anything.”

Me: “Yes, well, like I said before, we won’t have anything like that here.”

Patron: “Oh, well, I found a can of gas in the garage, and I have some matches. Do you think I could do something with that?”

Me: “Uh… stay in school?”

I Wanna Be Princess Leia!

| USA | Related | July 31, 2015

(I’m re-shelving books in the children’s section when a mother comes by with her son, who’s all of six years old. He’s clearly excited about getting to pick out books he can read. As I’m putting away books, the following exchange takes place:)

Boy: “Ooh, Mama, how about this one?”

Mom: “Uh… it looks a little higher than your reading level, babe. But if you wanna try, go for it.”

(The kid happily hands his mother a book, then stares at the shelves.)

Boy: “Mom, I want a princess book.”

(Internally I cringe, thinking the kid is about to hear, “No, those are for girls.”)

Mom: “Well go find one then.”

(He returns after a minute and holds one up to her.)

Mom: “Let me see it. Cinderella, huh? Yeah. I think you’ll like that one. Okay, go find some more books.”

(He grabs about three more and brings them back to his mom.)

Mom: “Wait, is that Star Wars? Is that MY child, reading Star Wars? Oh yes it is, uh-huh, that is MY child!”

(She sounded so proud. It was the cutest thing!)

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