gwenynen: A flying bee (Default)
[personal profile] gwenynen
Occasionally readers actually apologise for bringing their books in overdue, with fines on &c. My normal reaction to people apologising for things is to say "no problem" or "don't worry about it". But that seems wrong in this case - after all, it isn't OK to bring books in overdue, that's why we charge fines.
So what should I respond to such readers? I don't really want to be horrid, because at least in apologising they're recognising their misdemeanour...

[Poll #1338353]

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 10:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] midnightmelody.livejournal.com
From my own experience, I will inevitably end up with books which are a day or so overdue at any library. What happens then depends entirely on how library staff usually handle it. If I think I'll get told off in any way, I'll sit on the books for much longer than if I won't be. The library staff aren't to blame for telling me off, because I did something wrong, but they do influence my behaviour hugely.

I guess it depends on what proportion of your readers are genuinely sorry and understand that it affects other readers - because those ones already feel guilty, so it's better to acknowledge that they've done a good thing in bringing them back (albeit late) than to scare them.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 10:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dyddgu.livejournal.com
I get a lot of readers who sit on the books, thinking I/we will tell them off; similarly, dump-and-runs happen for that reason too, I reckon. But I've never heard any one of us here tell someone off for bringing back lates; they get overdue emails once a week, then a stern-ish letter when the fines get astronomical, but that's about it. It's perplexing.
I've only ever given what I might think of as a row twice, and both of those times were for utterly outrageous infractions that actuallly had nothing to do with lates.
*is puzzled*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 10:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] midnightmelody.livejournal.com
That's really interesting! I wonder what's going on in their heads.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 10:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dyddgu.livejournal.com
Possibly the same ostrich thing I do given half a chance, to be fair ;-)
(deleted comment)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 10:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dyddgu.livejournal.com
I'd say it's 50:50 sickness/other reason : just wanting the books for longer and forgetting to renew them. Generally I find when someone's been ill or got another reason for being late, they tell me the whole story :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 11:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caffeine-fairy.livejournal.com
I think it's one of those annoying customer service things where, though you might like to say something else, anything other than "no problem" is going to come across as rather rude and exacerbate the situation. At least they are apologizing.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 11:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dyddgu.livejournal.com
Oh, absolutely, I'd rather that than the ones who yell at me for charging them 10p.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 11:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caffeine-fairy.livejournal.com
I had a blazing row with a woman at Imperial because she'd been banned from the library for keeping a book for three years. She genuinely couldn't understand why she couldn't take out some more books and bring that one back when she brought back the new ones. *boggle*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 11:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dyddgu.livejournal.com
*weeps*
My most blazing rows have been not with the people who owe c.£100+, but the ones who owe 10p. I never understood that.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 12:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caffeine-fairy.livejournal.com
I suspect if you owe that much you probably know you've done something wrong, whereas the 10p ones are still in the indignation stage.

This woman was the only person I ever closed the hatchway on and told her not to come back. She was so rude!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 11:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ex-mizzadam.livejournal.com
over due books was the rest of my statement

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 12:24 pm (UTC)
abi: (Don't.)
From: [personal profile] abi
I'd go with something pleasant like "Thank you! It's quite unusual for people to apologise when they bring their books back late" - innocuous and friendly on the surface, but still reminds the person that they have done wrong - and if that goes down OK, you can fix them with a mock-stern Librarian Glare and add "and don't do it again". :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 12:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dyddgu.livejournal.com
There are a lot of times when people come in expecting a fine and there isn't one. I generally offer to take their cash myself at that point ;-)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-27 10:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] riohnna.livejournal.com
I have no experience with that, but I will agree with gipsy_dreamer . Although, I have an attitude problem when it comes to public service. I would probably be rude, responding with "I am sorry, too, you owe (such and such)"

responses

Date: 2009-01-27 11:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] velvet512.livejournal.com
I have a similar problem when I have answered the phone, found the call is not for me, gone and looked for the intended recipient, and drawn a blank. Manners requires me to say I'm sorry so-and-so is not here to take your call. But I'm not sorry at all. But if I simply say So-and-so is no here, that is probably rude. Oh dear!

PS: when people bring books back late, perhaps the only response is Thank you. And leave it at that!

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