Your Fine Is Finito

, , , | Right | January 1, 2020

(I work in an academic library and am on the lending desk when this patron comes up to get a book out. I open their record, which has a $100 fine from a lost book; textbooks are disgustingly expensive, friends. Books don’t become “lost” until a month past due date. Patrons are blocked from borrowing at $50.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t issue this to you. There’s a fine on your account.”

Patron: “What? There shouldn’t be!”

Me: “It’s a lost book fine; were you not notified?”

Patron: “I wrote an email about it!”

Me: “Sorry, whoever got that didn’t leave a note. Can you tell me what happened? Were you notified of the due date?”

Patron: “I was in Italy.”

Me: *waiting for the rest of the story*

Patron: *sigh* “I couldn’t return it, could I?”

Me: “Did you contact us near the time? We usually check if someone can drop it off for y—”

Patron: “NO, I had it with me.”

Me: “…or we try to renew it.”

Patron: “I didn’t bother.”

Me: “Okay. Well, anyway, if you return it now, we’ll waive the fee.”

Patron: “I don’t have it.”

Me: “That’s fine. I can put this aside and you can bring it in tomorrow, maybe?”

Patron: *even more irritated sigh* “It’s in Italy.”

Me: “It’s… sorry?”

Patron: “I left it in Italy.”

Me: “On purpose?”

Patron: “The email said it was lost, anyway!”

Me: “If you lost it, and you can’t return it, you won’t be able to use library services until you pay the fine.”

Patron: “Ugh, fine, but I shouldn’t have to!”

(Best part? The book was about personal responsibility.)

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