Hello, Friday! It’s cold and dreary here, but NOT snowing, like it is further north, so I’ll take it.
This week’s confession began as a simple “oops”, but turned into a much greater musing.
First, the confession:
This week, The Toddler broke a DVD borrowed from our public library
And when I say broke, I don’t mean merely scratched. In a moment of lax parenting, she managed to snap half of the DVD in two. Bummer.
So when we went to the library today, I returned the books, and then brought the DVD up to the counter and explained what happened and that I’d like to pay for it. The librarian looked up the worth ($10), and informed me that there was an additional $3 processing fee, so the total would be $13. I told her that was fine, and that I had a few overdue charges on my account, and would just pay everything off at once. As she began processing my charges, she expressed gratitude and surprise that I had ‘fessed up. She was, in fact, so thankful for my honesty, that she waived the processing fee (a kind act for which I am grateful!)
As I was standing there, a man approached the counter next to me. He opened the DVD case he was holding, a 2-disc deluxe edition of Disney’s Cinderella, and explained that he had checked the DVD out for his daughter a few days ago, but that when he tried to play it, the DVD wouldn’t work. It is, he said, visibly cracked and no longer playable. The librarian seemed a little skeptical of his story, and claimed that they usually checked the media items as they were returned, but ultimately took the DVD and said that they would look up the previous borrower. I’m guessing that the library will never receive the money to replace that item because whether the disc was damaged by this man or the previous borrower, it appears that it’s one man’s word against the other, and since the library has no proof against either party, they’re out of luck.
So public librarians, tell me. How often does this happen that damaged items are “secretly” returned? Because it seems so common sense to me: you break it, you buy it! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like having to go in and apologize for ruining an item, but there was no scolding, no yelling, no public flogging. To the contrary, the whole exchange between myself and the librarian was pleasant. And really, when public libraries are offering the resources to me for FREE and I damage that resource, aren’t I doubly obligated to pay?
So thank you to my public library system for graciously accepting my apologies. And shame on those who try to skimp out of $5, or $10, or whatever the replacement fee might be. Remember that while these services are free to you as a borrower, they are not free.