This week’s Patron of the Week comes from the Land of Beyond Frugality. Please welcome Mrs. I’m-Actually-Going-To-Squabble-Over-A-20-Cent-Fine.
As happens from time to time, when a person is in the process of checking out a book, I notice that he or she has a fine, usually that fine is in the 10s — of cents. Last night was just such a case, so I told the man he had a 20-cent fine and if he’d like to pay it, he could. He asked if I had change for a dollar (at which I wanted to roll my eyes and say, “No, we don’t believe in change. We only accept exact change. Sorry, but dem’s the rules.”) and I told him I did. He paid the fine, but then his wife, who was with him, asked him to find out what the book was. He asked me and I informed them of the title and author, at which point she said she already had paid for the fine on her account the last time she was in the library.
I politely let her know that I only was going by what I saw on the computer screen in front of me, and that if she wanted to talk to the library director the next day she could. She rolled her eyes, but not in the same way I would have rolled my eyes at her husband earlier, and harumphed that “No, it’s not worth it, but this has happened to me before.” When her husband, who already was heading toward the door, said, “Let it go” or something to that effect, she got indignant and said, “But this has happened to me before here!”
Finally somehow he managed to get her to head to the door too and thankfully, they were gone. Afterward, I had a few thoughts, a couple of the G-rated ones which I’ll share with you now:
- If she had paid the fine on her account, why did the book show up on his account? Hmmm? Hmmmm?
- If this had happened to her before, let’s say even twice, then she’d be out a whole 60 cents. The horror, the horror!
- Don’t go away, mad, just go away.
When I told my wife about the woman this morning, my wife said the patron was the type of woman who my wife just would have taken the 20 cents out of her pocket and given it to the woman, just to have her go away. I actually thought about that, but I didn’t have change in my pants pockets last night. I had it in my coat, which was on a hanger in the back room. I didn’t feel like walking back there. It just wasn’t worth it to me. I also figured the library, in this time of budget cuts at the state level, could use the extra 20 cents.