My next job working with the public was in a library - not quite retail, but I still got plenty of idiots. It seems a much less hellish job on the outside, but really, I think there is something in the water in my old town that inhibits the ability to think. In fact, it was WORSE than Grocery Hell, thanks to all the hellspawn running rampant (countless piggy parents really do believe that a library is a free daycare), my malicious idiot boss who didn't even know how to use a computer (though she thought she was an absolute computer whiz) and went on vacation practically every other week, my OTHER idiot boss who did nothing but enable her coworker idiot, and the politics that went on behind the scenes. Oh, the stories I could tell about all of those items...but in the interest of keeping this to less than a 5-volume encyclopedia, for now I'll just tell my favorite refund bitch story. We'll call this little idiot Lady Whinesalot.
The scene: It's 2 minutes to closing; I'm straightening up items on the shelf because there is little left to do and we should have the place looking nice for when we open up. The first boss I mentioned, we'll call her Absentee Moron, is on her third vacation this year and her coworker is also absent, so it's just me, the other girl on my level (we'll call her Blondie, as she is a self-proclaimed dumb blonde - really, she's pretty awesome, although I will admit she is a little slow), and someone from another branch filling in for Absentee Moron (we'll call her Import) who is working on closing procedures behind the desk. As soon as she shuts off the last computer, enter Lady Whinesalot. She has a receipt in her hand, signed by Absentee Moron, she claims she was offered a refund on her lost item fee.
Well, all she had to show for it was the signed receipt, no note on the receipt saying what it was for, and we'd just shut down the computers and couldn't get to our records to see what the situation was here. Import explained this to her...fair enough, right?
Of course not. Lady Whinesalot flips her shit, whining about how her husband needs gas money, can't get to work, blah blah blah...she could have written a soap opera (then all her financial woes would be over, hey!). Blondie and I should leave by now...but instead, we have to stay in case we need to call the cops. Thank god they're right next door, and it won't take them long to get here (yay for working in a county complex!).
Here's a useful fact about the library where I worked: We don't charge interest on your fines. If you need the money THAT badly, just HOLD OFF on checking out more crap until you can afford to pay us. It's an annoyance to us, but seriously, if it's the difference between buying the gas to get you to work and losing your job, just WAIT, or make payments over time, or SOMETHING. We can deal with it. If you owe between $10 and $50, the only penalty is that you can't check shit out.
But no. Lady Whinesalot needed her movies. That's another funny thing, she never checked out books, not even a crappy romance novel, just movies. Lots and lots of movies. Apparently the reason she was fined in the first place was because one of her movies got trapped in her DVD player and it took forever to get it back from the repairman. At least, that was her story.
It goes back and forth for some time. Import keeps trying to explain, "Look, this is not how refunds work. All you have is a signature on a receipt, and although you seem honest, without a note we have no way to verify that you're owed a refund. You will have to wait until Absentee Moron comes back on Tuesday."
LW: I DON'T HAVE UNTIL TUESDAY! MY HUSBAND WILL LOSE HIS JOB! WE CAN'T BUY GAS! JUST OPEN THE REGISTER AND GIVE ME THE $20 YOU OWE ME, IT'S NOT HARD!
Import: It may not be physically hard, but I am not willing to lose my job over it. If I could just give you the money, I would, but the county won't allow it.
At this point you can tell she's getting fed up, and Blondie and I step in to back her. Yes, the low-ranking shelf slaves had to step in to back the manager. Even if she was just a temp/fill-in, it's still a shock to look back and see that this was necessary, but this bitch would not listen until everyfuckingone in the library was teamed against her.
Me: Look, I'm very sorry, but there's really nothing we can do until Absentee Moron comes back (except maybe punch you in the face, but seeing as we're right next to the cop shop I'd never get away with it). If she had left us a note, maybe there would be something more we could do, but as it is, we can't (because she can't write and wouldn't even if she could because she is a lazy bitch; good luck dealing with her, you two are a perfect match). I would love to help you (die), but I'm afraid that all we can do is wait until she gets back and can straighten this out.
Blondie: I understand that your husband could lose his job, but we could lose our jobs too if we just open the register and hand over the money. I'm sorry.
Me: So please, come back Tuesday, we are closed now. I'm sorry, but there's nothing more we can do.
LW: WELL, FUCK YOU ALL! YOU BET I'LL BE BACK TUESDAY, AND I'LL BE COMPLAINING TO THE COUNTY ABOUT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU!
With this, she ran off sobbing. I'm fairly certain she was high. Import let those above us know what really happened, and I don't think LW ever made that complaint, and even if she did, I think it's safe to assume it was thrown out. At least I never heard anything of it.
By the time we left, it was 7:30. We were supposed to leave at 7:00. Fuck me in the neck with a power drill.
On the way out, Blondie told me of a previous encounter she'd had with this woman while I had the day off. Apparently she wanted to borrow a car. From the library. Yeeeah.
The best part? On Tuesday, when our normal crew was back, we looked up her record.
She had never filled out a proper request for a refund (critical if she EVER wants to get it)...or returned the fucking DVD in the first place.
Oh, and she never came back. As far as I know, ever. It's been four months.
I hope she got her $20 somewhere, because she sure as hell wasn't getting it from us. To this day, I don't know if she was a poorly-disguised NAT or just another druggie idiot - we really did have a surplus of those around that town.
Fairly recently (after I quit to make my move), I was sitting in the library, studying, and overheard this conversation:
Librarian: Oh, I'm sorry, it looks like you owe $35.00. You'll have to pay some of it off if you want to check anything out.
Queen Airhead II: But I thought the books were free!
Librarian: Well, they are, as long as you return them on time.
QAII: You have to return them!?
With this I put my book away and made my way to the door, not wanting to be caught up in the explosion that was sure to ensue - I was expecting something along the lines of this, from my past experiences. Seriously, how can people be this dumb and survive? You'd think they would forget to breathe. Sometimes I really hope they do.
Well, that was a long one...but I've been doing this crap for years now, I couldn't resist giving out at least these few stories! And now, places are hiring, I'm 21, reliable, patient, have good references, and am a good student, which can only mean...new stories will be coming! I simultaneously look forward to and dread this. Wish me luck!