Working where I work is a great place for character study. I wrote about expectations a couple of days ago on a guest blog...but here is a new version based on last night's happenings at work.
When the little hand is on the six, and the big hand is on the twelve, it's time to go home. I've worked a long, busy day for 8 hours, although I'm at work for 9, I've got class work to catch up on, dinner to make, and revisions and writing to take care of before I drop off to bed and start the whole scenario over again.
I don't want to work a minute past the allotted time I'm scheduled to work. I don't get paid for a minute over the allotted time I'm scheduled to work. We're supposed to get a 15 minute break during our work day, and don't. So when it's time to go, it's time to go.
I'm tired, I'm finished with the work day.
But not according to some patrons. Fifteen minutes of six, patrons come waddling in...waddle, they do not rush to get their books or movies. "Where is this?"
We show them. They come up to the counter at ten minutes of the hour with ten books. "We don't have a library card."
We don't issue cards at a quarter of. It's the policy. It takes time to type in all the patron's information. There are only two of us working, trying to check out all the other patrons with cards. AND until they get the card in the mail, they can only check out one book anyway, not ten.
Really pissed off patrons. Sorry. We do not get paid to stay late. Come earlier! Now, these patrons are not working. And the ones that are, come in during their lunch hours or the one day we're open late, or to the main branch which is open late most nights. So there's really no excuse.
Five of the hour, woman saunters in. We constantly tell patrons, we're closing in five minutes. Two minutes. Come on folks, get the lead out! I'm sorry, but if I want something, and I know a place is about to close, I either move it in high gear, appreciative that the place is still open for a few minutes, or I come the next day.
My daughter worked at an office supply store. She said that people would come into the store and browse for as much as two hours after the store closed, and management would allow it. Anything to make a sale. But she was on the clock so got paid for any time over her scheduled work time. We don't. We're not a store. We are a free public service.
So one minute of, and the woman is still dawdling. "Thirty seconds," my coworker called out. Six o'clock, and she's still browsing. She just doesn't get it. She's going to let her kid pick out just the right movie. When? Twenty minutes from now?
I told her the alarm is going off.
"She's just kidding," the woman said to the kid.
"No, I'm not kidding." :) And I wasn't. We close at six. It was six. Even so, we let her check out the book she already had in hand, and boy was she pissed off at me. Guess what? Next time she visits, she'll come a little earlier.
We left the library one night and a guy comes rushing up to the door, who always comes much earlier, and who always gets 5 movies (which by my way of thinking is a video stores responsibility. A library is a place to read. If you want movies, go elsewhere.)...and he's shocked! Shocked! Pointing at his watch, he says he has one minute before we close! We go by the City's clocks. Not patron's watches. He was ticked off. Next day, he apologized and never has come that late again.
Here's the deal. We had so much theft of the movies (look back to note about why we should be a library for reading) that we have to keep the dvd's behind the desk. That means that we have to find and pull each disk for the movie case. It takes time. When someone comes in at one minute of closing and still has to find the movies they want, then get them up to the counter, and we have to search for the disks...see the problem there? We can't close at 6.
So last night when we left the library, here comes a heavy set guy, rushing up to stop us. Now, we figure he's left his keys in the building, or something really drastic.
Nope...he's there to pick up a book. The library is closed, I said. He's bug eyed and acts as though I've told him the moon just moved to another solar system. He insisted that another library branch sent him to ours to pick up his book, now. And they're open until 9. The inference was that we were sneaking out three hours early. :)
We're open til 9 on Thursdays. All the branches have one late night. But of course that didn't appease him because he wanted ours open til 9 that night. So we have a long discussion, my manager telling him that the computers are all shut down, that we were closed again...and we were late leaving.
*sigh* So much for trying to get out on time. We actually had to have the computers shut down automatically at a quarter of for the patrons because we had so much trouble getting the patrons off them. Just one more email. Just one more game.
It's definitely a great study in character. :)
Off to another day of work, and the dreaded six o'clock, we're closed scenario. Sometimes, it can be a peaceful closing. But earlier in the day...that can be another nightmare. :)
"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male."