Friday, May 18, 2012

This week, brought to you by. . .

. . .our patrons.

It's been an unusual week, a week that included a car prowl right in front of staff. The thief was wearing headphones and didn't hear our manager calling out to him as he took a box from the car. The young man's brazen unawareness brought the Darwin Awards to mind.

I've had more account discussions in four days than I've had in a month. One encounter was particularly notable. A patron had brought her books to the checkout desk but couldn't check them out due to substantial unpaid overdue fines. She contested them aggressively and I was called to sort things out. Among her reasons why I should waive the fines:

- Her daughter needs these books for her final senior project and she'll fail if she can't use them.
- The fines occurred four years ago. Isn't there a statute of limitations?
- The fines were for books used by her daughter for school and her daughter just won the Presidential Scholar award. We should honor her by waiving the fines.
- They're moving out-of-state in six months and she'd prefer to use the money for the move.
- They're moving because she got a job as a pastor (her emphasis) in the other state.
- The Gig Harbor library staff are much nicer than I am. They waive overdue fines. (The Gig Harbor library is in a different library system, 30 minutes from our branch.)

It began to feel like a Seinfeld episode.

I suggested that her daughter get a library card and use it for the books she wanted. Alas, the daughter already had a card with (can you guess?) overdue fines and a lost book. After that, the conversation ended surprisingly well, despite her inventive persistence and my friendly-but-firm intractability.

When a role-play comes up in a future training session (and it will, inevitably) I'm going to play the patron and channel this encounter.

Overheard on Twitter:  A woman is trying to do her makeup on the bus but her lipstick has become a seismograph needle.

Until next time.