Okay, I didn't know if this was Snowflake Material or Impossible Request Material. I chose snowflake because the patron's behavior just got more and more entitled as the week went on. (And also, he indirectly was the cause of me getting chewed out--and getting everyone else chewed out--for gossip.)
Background: Because of the skyhigh incidence of theft of certain magazines, newspapers and journals, we have to keep them behind the desk and put dummy copies on the shelves. The patrons have to ask for these and leave ID (usually their library cards) until they have finished with the item and returned it to us. Until we instituted this system, even the local paper (which we spend about $200 monthly for a ten paper subscription) was gone before noon the same day we set them out in the reading area.
Now, MOST people have library cards that they leave with us. But then there are those special snowflakes who I can only surmise, get library cards, stuff them in their wallets and purses, then go home and remove the library card and either cut it up for an art project or say "This is much too valuable an item to carry around in my wallet/purse. I shall leave it at home whenever I go to the library." These are the people who have to produce a picture ID so we can give them the number of the library card they don't think they need to check books out or get on the computer.
So at the beginning of this week, two different men and a copy of the same issue of the same magazine. They both gave their driver's licenses to one of my young coworkers. You can see where this is going. Not to excuse the guys, but Monday (and the rest of the week for that matter) saw the heaviest concentration of people with Actual Information Requests ever...in addition to the usual overload of people who want the computers to cook dinner for them and don't understand why this can't happen. So, very busy. Mr. Jones returned HIS copy of the magazine and received his driver's license. When Mr. Smith returned with HIS copy, you guessed it...we learned that my young coworker had inadvertantly given Mr. Smith's ID to Mr. Jones.
Mr. Smith promptly had a meltdown about how stupid we are and how irresponsible and how we didn't give a darn about him or his troubles and on and on...this, despite the fact that one coworker was paging Mr. Jones, coworker two was apologizing profusely for the error and I was on the phone calling everyone we could think of (everyone in the phone book with the last name Jones, the DMV, 4ll and even the condo complex where Mr. Jones lived, trying t track him down.)
Inspite of this, we had to get one of the higher ups to talk to him where he reiterated how no one was owning up to doing this (again, despite the fact that coworker was saying over and over, Mr. Smith, I am so sorry. It was totally my fault) and that none of us were trying to help him. (Inspite of the fact that we were cold calling total strangers and asking if they were related to Aloyuisius Jones.) He wanted our heads on platters. He wanted us fired! We targeted him personally.
The supervisor, being the person she is, symathized with him completely, chastized us for even taking ID cards ("This poor man has lost a $75 license because you are all afraid of losing a two dollar magazine!") and told him we would pay to replace his license if we couldn't get Mr. Jones.
Tuesday, Mr. Smith called and promptly sailed into another tirade about how irresponsible we are, how inept, how mean and uncaring and so on....a coworker sent around an email advising us all of what Mr. Smith had said. At that point I was annoyed that my team's mistake was being recited as us being evil and inept and lazy. So I sent out an email that stated as much and added "I really do not know what more he can expect. We have done X, Y, AND Z, we have all apologized for doing this, even those of us who didn't, we have offered the following solutions, we are going to pay for his license and short of getting Mr. Jones' picture blown up and stapled to every telephone pole, I don't know more he expects. We are already groveling, does he want us all to get fired as well? I understand he is upset, I would be, too, but accusing people of targeting him or deliberately losing the card is unfair and the implication that we don't care and won't take responsibility is patently untrue."
Five minutes later the Sympathizing Supervisor lit into me for "unprofessionally gossiping" about Mr. Smith and I should be a lot more careful to keep my negativity to myself.
She then called Mr. Smith invited him in and gave him the money to buy a new license.
Yesterday Mr. Jones was in. When my young coworker saw him, he wept with joy, related the story and Mr. Jones went wide eyed. He's an elderly, frail and really very sweet guy. He glanced at the license and said "I had no idea! Guess it's a good thing I didn't get into an accident!"
He got his license back and I called Mr. Smith.
Mr Smith was overjoyed, but hesitated when I said "Now, I know you already got your new license, but I thought you would want this one back right away so you could do with it as you see fit." "Well, I haven't had the chance to go and get my new card," he finally said "but I don't think I should have to give the money back. I lost time from work, pain and suffering..." "Oh," I told him "no, we want you to keep the money. We just wanted you to know that Mr. Jones was back and that he didn't even realize he had your card and he's returned it and we have it for you." "Oh, okay! Gee thanks. You people really went the extra mile for me!"
Sure we did. We put up with being called irresponsible (bad names), being accused of purposely stealing your ID, being threatened with being fired and generally being railed at by a supervisor. YOU got your card back, plus almost one hundred dollars that you can now spend on whatever you like.
P.S. I want to know what job it is you have sir, where you get to spend almost all day and every day at the library during the hours we see you there. We know you didn't lose any time from work because you are here every day and most days, it's all day long.