Patron of the Week: Mrs. I’m-Actually-Going-To-Squabble-Over-A-20-Cent-Fine

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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.

11 responses to “Patron of the Week: Mrs. I’m-Actually-Going-To-Squabble-Over-A-20-Cent-Fine

  1. In this day and age, you’re probably lucky she just gun you down, Rambler. Twenty cents is nothing to be sneezed at. Not on principal, anyway.

  2. Those are the kind of people that when i am standing in line behind them, I will bite my tongue, hiss loudly and glare.
    I feel bad for her husband. I bet she bitched about that for the rest of the night and will mention it to all her friends. Get a life lady!

  3. Jeez ! You don’t give back change ? What do you have for a cash register … a bus token collector ?

    Unfortunately, some of this kind of penny pinching runs in my family. Do you accept library patrons as donation in return for such entertainment ?

  4. That’s too funny! As if it was going to break anyone’s bank to pay a 20 cent fine! It’s not like she was being asked to buy the book or anything…just pay an agreed amount for it being late. And, since it wasn’t on her her account, what was she getting her knickers in a twist about! Your account of it made me laugh though…that was worth the 20 cents πŸ™‚

  5. Yeah, it’s all about a government conspiracy to get 20 cents out of this couple every time they check out a book.


  6. I’m with your wife, as a manager for a fast food chain on many instances someone would make a large scene over something ridiculous like a 99 cent burger, if after the usual customer service attempts, I’d just pull out money from my pocket and give them the money. It brought a great feeling of joy to me, and some embarrassment to the customer. Of course i reserved this treatment for the worst customers.

  7. Call me crazy, but if you return your books on time, you never owe anything – EVER! πŸ™‚

    • unfinishedrambler

      I know. Really. I mean, you get the book for three weeks and then you can renew it if it’s not on hold. You mean it takes six weeks to read a James Patterson book? Really?