Friday, January 12, 2007

Ad Infinitum

Yesterday morning, a lady patron came in, signed up for a computer, then turned to me and said, "By the way. I was here last night and had to buy a computer disc to save what I was working on, but the girl at the desk wouldn't let me pay her because she said she had closed out the cash box already. So, I owed her 50 cents." The lady then passed over the 50 cents.

Now, I knew that newbie greenhorn Ms. S had been on shift the night before and I knew that she has a penchant for tallying up the cashbox as early in her shift as she possibly can. So I asked, "About what time was that?"

"Oh, right at 7," the lady said, though she could have said anything from 4:30 on and I would have believed it. While I wasn't surprised to hear of Ms. S refusing money for services rendered in order to get out of having to retally the cashbox, we've repeatedly—allow me to further stress, *REPEATEDLY* (and, if I were any kind of real web coder, that word would appear to be aflame, shooting fireworks from its ass and singing Deee-Lite's "Groove is in the Heart")—explained to her that if someone pays her for something after the cash box has been tallied, she is welcome to take their money, deposit it into the cash box, take out a new date due slip and stick it to the counter beside the fines and copier tally slip of the current day, forward the date due stamp ahead one day, stamp the top of the new slip and then write down the amount paid on it so that it will be accounted for the following day. Doing that, however, would have required effort, so it didn't get done.

The patron wasn't finished with her tale, though. As I logged her onto her computer, she explained that the reason she had to purchase a disc in the first place was because she had been cutting and pasting vital information from websites into a Word document for quite some time, but when Ms. S came back to tell her the library was soon to close she also told the lady that she couldn't print any of what she'd been pasting because "I've already shut off the printer for the day." Okay, this was a flat out lie because we never—NEHehehHEHHHVER— shut off the printer. It simply doesn't happen. It stays on all the time and was, in fact, on this morning when we opened. The last time that printer's off switch saw any action was over two years ago when the damned thing refused to print for us one day and I was forced to reason with it using something other than a stick. What Ms. S was really saying was, "I've already tallied up the cash box for the day, which I probably did at 6:02, and I'm too lazy to do any more math tonight so I don't want to accept any of your money for prints made. Instead, I'm just going to say I shut down the printer already, a lie I hope you'll completely swallow before going away."

I smiled as I listened to the story. The lady wasn't even complaining, though. In fact, she thought that she herself was in the wrong for daring to want to print something so close to closing time. She even commented that Ms. S was very nice about it all and had been very patient with her. I decided not to tell her that Ms. S was full of shit. Instead, I ran and tattled to my boss Mrs. A, who, in turn, became delighted to have more evidence—from a patron, no less—to prove that Ms. S STILL isn't doing her damned job right.

Later, when the other alphabet squad arrived, we discussed it.

"I think we're going to HAVE to tell her she's not allowed to count the cashbox until 7 p.m.," Mrs. A said.

"Well, no," I said. "She could count it earlier if she'd just put it on a new tally slip like we've told her to do again and again."

"No, no. That's something YOU can do if you count the cashbox early," Mrs. C said. "MS. S has to do it at 7. It's a special rule for her."


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An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.