Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | February 15, 2011

People Make Me Sad

At work, we’ve got a system wherein people can submit comments, questions and complaints (mostly complaints) about things like library fines, circulation policies, etc.

I have one shift a week where I’m in charge of managing the queue and responding to people and I’ve got to be honest, it’s painful. Like, brutally painful.

People don’t respond with full sentences or even remotely coherent thought. They’ll receive an auto-generated letter from our system telling them that their books are overdue and they’ll flip their shibazzle and respond with something like this:


“No I am keeping books.”

“They are back.”

“Leave me alone. This is harassment.”

“I’m not finished yet.”

Ready to blow your mindhole?! Those were all real responses. Like, from people who attend or work at MIT.

I know, right?!

Go ahead and take a minute and say a prayer for those poor souls, I know I will.

It baffles me how any of these peeps are expecting us to help alleviate their problem; be it a fine, an overdue book, or whatever when they respond with something as worthless as the aforementioned “responses.”

Telling me “they are back” doesn’t give me any clue as to where or when the book was returned. It doesn’t indicate if it was put in a book drop or returned to the circulation desk. You then have to begin sending them additional emails trying to dig more information out of them and generally they’re a little more forthcoming with information when the email comes from a real person, but it’s still like pulling teeth.

The second reason that people make me sad, which I discovered today, is when people blatantly lie in an attempt to get out of their fines.

I mean, I’ve had a few questions before where people claim to have handed a book directly to the “tall guy in the hat” behind the desk or that he said he’d waive their fines. I can generally call bullshit on those pretty quick because, well, I am the “tall guy in the hat.”

Today, however, someone claimed that they couldn’t return a book on a Sunday because of the big snowstorm on Saturday.

I wracked my brain—being that I work on Saturdays—and couldn’t remember any “big snowstorm” during one of my Saturday shifts. So I did what any enterprising secret agent would do and I hit up and its historical data for the dates in question. Turns out that not only was there not a snowstorm, there was no precipitation at all, for like days on either side of the date in question.

As such, I got to throw the bullshit card and call the dude on it, which is always fun.

I just don’t get how someone thinks that you can completely fabricate a snowstorm and assume no one will remember back two weeks or do a little fact checking to see that you’re completely full of shit.

Yeah, people make me sad.



  1. i so badly want to know how he responded when you told him there was no snowstorm. i think it would have been hilarious if you had included the link to in your response.


  2. I had a dream a few nights ago that you updated your blog. Then I checked it the next day and it was still neglected 😦


  3. […] mentioned before that we have a system wherein patrons can complain about fines and generally they do so in a way that makes me question what I’m doing with my […]


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