The Odds Are Stacked Against You

, , | Right | August 16, 2020

I’m at the library because I’ve gotten automated calls about overdue books that I’ve already returned. The library’s book return is now a small opening with a conveyor belt on it. It can drop scan the books, but as the opening is several inches tall, I just put my books in stacks on the belt. 

Librarian #1: “If you don’t have the books, they could be on the shelves.”

Me: “The books weren’t checked in, but you put them on the shelves?”

Another librarian nearby joins us.

Librarian #2: “Did you put them in the book return one at a time?”

Me: “No. I put them in stacks.”

Librarian #2: “That’s why. They can’t be scanned in a stack.”

Me: “So, why did the books I returned before these books get checked in?”

Librarian #2: “They must have hand-scanned them.”

Me: “I see. Maybe there should be a sign?”

Librarian #2: “We asked our superiors to put some out because of this issue. Otherwise, we have to run after patrons to find their books, like now.”

Me: “Oh, I don’t mind doing the running to help you guys out.”

I never did check to see if there were signs, but I was very aware of what a terrible patron I had been.

Thank you, librarians, for putting up with people. You are doing us a public good.

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