Thursday, July 27, 2006

Something for Nothing

I'm sure we've all noticed (how could you not) those particular individuals who EXPECT something for nothing. Don't we just adore these individuals?

So a mother calls up to renew her son's overdue material. He has previous fines. I tell her his new total of overdue fines: $16.50. I glance through his record. The "child" is high school age.

She is quiet for a moment and then says, "Is there anyway he can get that taken off?" I pause, waiting for her to enumerate the extenuating, life-or-death circumstance which has kept him from returning our property to us. But she says nothing.

No, shame at all. She thinks I should just remove her fines simply because she asked. I might have at least considered her request if she'd had the decency to fabricate a story. I might waive the fines based on creativity alone. (Which I have done before.) In my head I answer her: "Sure, I'll waive your son's fines, just because you asked, even though every other person has to pay them, and even though the library is LOSING money just to stay open. We don't need your $16, or anyone else's either."

Then, not 10 minutes later, I get a call from a man:

"Can you tell me if so-and-so with red hair is in the library?"

Let's stop here and consider this request for a moment. What this gentleman is asking me to do is to leave my post at the desk and venture into every corner of the library, asking every person with red hair if they are so-and-so, while patrons with ACTUAL reference questions wait at the desk and on the phone for my service.

"Is this an emergency?" Thank goodness for standard policy.

"No. I just wanted to know if he was there."

Yeah . . . NO.

No free handouts from the BITTERLIBRARIAN today.