Author Topic: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?  (Read 3350 times)

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Mal

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Dear eHellions,

well, it has finally happened, the thing I always joked I was lucky to never have encountered in my work place:
At my library today, a co-worker of mine encountered a customer who was busy pleasuring himself.

Now, I work at the children and young adult section and I feel very protective about our kids. We have a separate entrance from the rest of the library and we don't have security personnel until the afternoon. There's a chance this guy may take this entrance to pursue his hobby right here and if I'm at the reference desk at the time, it would be my duty to approach him and tell him to leave.

All our boss has instructed us to do is to be "firm", but what might be my obligation about politeness here?
My training suggests I'd have to walk up calmly and in a low voice explain to him that he is banned and that I have to ask him to leave.
My instinctive response, on the other hand, would be to rush up to the guy and yell "OUT!". Which, of course, is out of the question because it's not only unprofessional but, much worse, *I* would be the one to frighten the kids.

I'm not sure there's really any middle ground here but this incident and the encounter that might ensue makes me wonder:
Where's the line where you don't have to be polite to somebody any longer?
« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 01:43:09 PM by Melle »

YummyMummy66

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2014, 01:48:55 PM »
When you mean pleasuring himself, do you mean he is touching himself thru clothing or he has exposed himself?

This is in the kid's section of the library?

I would approach him and let him know in a stern, loud voice, (but not too loud to scare kids), that if he is not out of the library in five seconds, you are calling the cops.  This is if he is clothed.

If he is exposing himself, I would be walking over with phone in hand videoing said encounter while someone else calls 911.  He needs to be punished for his crime.

alkira6

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2014, 01:51:57 PM »
There are certain things where skipping over polite is not only recommended but where it wouldn't even cross my mind to even try to be polite.  This is one of those things.  Loudly alerting the self pleasuring perve that you are calling the police and then doing so would not be amiss.

Oh Joy

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 01:54:35 PM »
The right way to handle the situation aside, here's an important distinction that may help you: 

I'm not polite because the other person deserves it, but because I deserve it.

Best wishes.

LemonZen

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2014, 01:56:24 PM »
How was he not banned from the library then and there? Your boss just telling you to be "firm" is ridiculous. I agree with others, call the cops if this happens again.

camlan

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2014, 02:05:26 PM »
Well, you don't want to scare any children that might be around.

What I'd do is get a co-worker to accompany me, if possible, and take a phone with me, and confront the guy. Tell him firmly, but politely that he needs to leave the premises *now*, or you will be calling the police. At least the first contact doesn't have to be rude. I would also try to be discreet, if at all possible.

I also think someone from the library needs to contact the police and have them come and educate the entire staff on what to do in cases like this. Public libraries can attract all sorts of people and it would not be a bad idea for the entire staff to have some training in how to handle awkward/dangerous situations, especially if the security guards are not there all the time.

Having worked in a public library, there is the chance that this person is mentally ill. Immediately getting up in his face and yelling at him may make the situation far worse than it needs to be.

I have to admit that I'm not at all happy with the instructions to be "firm." What if that doesn't work? How do you protect the children and yourself? When something similar happened at the library where I worked, security was increased temporarily, patrons were notified and alerted to the incident, and all staff went through some training on how to handle our current specific problem patron and how to handle other types of emergencies as well. And we were directly across the street from the police station, so getting help in an emergency was not an issue.
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z_squared82

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2014, 02:08:47 PM »
You have no obligation to be polite in this situation.

The line of where obligatory politeness ends differs from one situation to the next.

tinkytinky

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2014, 02:14:46 PM »
How was he not banned from the library then and there? Your boss just telling you to be "firm" is ridiculous. I agree with others, call the cops if this happens again.

I think she means that the person was banned, but without having security there he may come in the seperate entrance.

OP, you can be discreet by firmly saying "I need you to leave. If you cannot/will not I will call someone to assist you".....if he asks why, that's when you say that he had been previously banned and is unable to stay.

Stay calm no matter what you say, and most people won't even notice anything going on. Unless security/police are called.

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MrTango

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2014, 02:16:26 PM »
To be honest, I wouldn't approach him at all.  Not for fear of my own personal safety, but because I'd rather let him deal with the police and possible criminal charges (as well as a trespass warning, which in my area makes it a crime for him to set foot on the property for up to a year after the warning is issued).

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2014, 02:27:15 PM »
When do you not have to be polite anymore?

When the behaviour is criminal, rather than just egregious.

I'm fairly confrontational so I'd probably walk up to him, put my back to the children in the room and say in a low, but clear voice, 'You will leave now and not come back.  I am calling the police.'

And I would call the police, even if he left.  They need to know about this guy because if he's doing this in a public library, he's doing it elsewhere.
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Twik

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2014, 03:15:45 PM »
I agree - has the boss said "Firmly tell this person to leave, and never come back," "Firmly grasp the telephone and dial 911, to summon the police at once," or "Firmly tell him that this is not appropriate public behaviour, and you're requesting (firmly) that he stop"? Because the first two are appropriate measures. The third is useless. What we commonly think of as "polite" involves "not demanding that people do as we want". This  is not the appropriate choice when someone is breaking the law and/or acting in a way that is a million miles from accepted public behaviour.

If you want your library to survive, let alone thrive, you must not allow this sort of behaviour to continue. Therefore, asking, "Please, don't do this here," is not an effective response. "Hello, police, I wish to report a crime in progress," is. "Get out of here and never darken our doors again!" would also be appropriate, but only if you have the resources to back it up.

Let's say he was stealing your handbag - you are not required by etiquette to ask him "Please, put that down at once." You are allowed to scream "STOP THIEF!"
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nayberry

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2014, 03:22:56 PM »
When do you not have to be polite anymore?

When the behaviour is criminal, rather than just egregious.

I'm fairly confrontational so I'd probably walk up to him, put my back to the children in the room and say in a low, but clear voice, 'You will leave now and not come back.  I am calling the police.'

And I would call the police, even if he left.  They need to know about this guy because if he's doing this in a public library, he's doing it elsewhere.


Pod the bolded


its all well and good being polite, but if someone is breaking the law or doing something as mentioned in the OP, then you go to defend and report mode.   
OP are you allowed to stop him entering the building? 

cicero

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2014, 03:33:41 PM »
When do you not have to be polite anymore?

When the behaviour is criminal, rather than just egregious.

I'm fairly confrontational so I'd probably walk up to him, put my back to the children in the room and say in a low, but clear voice, 'You will leave now and not come back.  I am calling the police.'

And I would call the police, even if he left.  They need to know about this guy because if he's doing this in a public library, he's doing it elsewhere.
exactly.

you do what you have to do to get him out of a place tht is considered safe for children and young people.

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Coralreef

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2014, 04:25:03 PM »
OP, politeness flew out the window the minute Pervy decided to lower his zipper.  Being firm here would be to grad another adult, confront Pervy and throw him out.  Calling the police is a must, that behaviour is illegal in most public places that I know of and as a PP said, he probably is doing it somewhere else.

My first reaction would be to use the fire extinguisher, but I'm a really mean person when I want to be.


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LadyL

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Re: Unacceptable behavior: When do you not have to be polite anymore?
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2014, 04:29:57 PM »
Safety trumps etiquette. I consider the potential s*xual assault of minors a safety issue.