Saturday, October 29, 2005

Library vs. Blockbuster

This year the board raised the fines our library charges for overdue videos and DVDs. This, understandably, caused quite a reaction among our patronage. However, one gentleman’s comment stands out above the rest.

He phones the library and I answer. He wants to renew his movies, all 2 days overdue. I brace myself for impact.

Upon renewing them I inform him that the fine was $1.00 for each movie. He has 22 checked out. Fortunately, the computer does the math for me: a total of $22.00.

Silence.

“How is that possible?” he asks.

I inform him that we recently raised our fines, and re-explain the above: $1.00 per movie equals $22.00.

Silence.

“Well . . . you know Blockbuster just got rid of their overdue charges.”

Several responses charge into my head at this moment, each one wrestling the others to be heard:

1. Well, why are you checking out our movies? It's 3:00 PM and I’m sure Blockbuster is open.

2. Oh, well, if Blockbuster’s not charging fines then we shouldn’t either. Let me just take those off for you.

3. I’m sorry, you’ve called the library. We are a non-profit organization, and do not attempt to compete in the capitalist market.

But the best one of all won out:

“That’s fine that Blockbuster doesn’t charge fines, but they do charge for rental, and ours are . . . free.”

Silence.

I can tell I’m talking to a clone of Einstein.

“Well, yeah.” Click.

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