Category Archives: Checked Out

Thanks For Complicating My Day, CVS

I just stopped at the CVS for iced coffee. The manager asked me if I wanted a print receipt or some other option. I said, “I don’t care.”

She said, “Well you have to choose one.”

Funny. I didn’t think I was required to do anything, other than pay for my purchases. There’s a Walgreens across the street from this particular CVS. I bet they don’t care how I want my receipt, as long as I don’t attempt to leave the store with the ice cold can of liquid  Legally Make Me Happy.

Someone’s Getting Desperate

Beverly Library jacked up the price of a print job to 75 cents a page. It’s still only ten cents a page at Salem and 5 cents at Danvers.

Ouch. I didn’t realize Beverly Free Library was so desperate for money. It’s a shame. Every other library within walking distance would literally have to shut down for this to be a way to bring it in, though.

I thought coming here would save time, since I have to print something out and then drop it off at the Beverly Hospital Volunteer Services office. But that’s pretty much shot now.

Fortunately, it costs me nothing to alert my faithful readers to the insanity that is charing 75 cents for a sheet of paper with printer ink on it. Did they hand make each individual sheet?

I Will Say This About Beverly Free Library

Generally, they’re a lot more observant than most of the librarians in the NOBLE network. They’re quicker to address loud talkers, cellphone users, and other such oddities that were not a problem in libraries a hundred or so years prior.

I wonder if librarians were allowed to assault rowdy patrons. I picture a time when the men and, well, men who ran the library were allowed to carry truncheons, with which to beat the crazy homeless people who would enter the building to use the bathroom and get warm. The upshot is, being a citizen of such a time, I would have been within my rights to carry a cane sword, or some similar means of defense and/or negotiation.

Unfortunately, some of the librarians are only observant twice a day. Kinda like a broken clock.

I had some pistachios. I have every intention of cleaning them up, just as I’ve thrown away the wrappers of every fiber and breakfast bar I’ve eaten at this library for the past year. People drink icy beverages in flimsy containers at these computers, but it was so adamant that the librarian in question remind me that food isn’t allowed in the library. People who have not seen a bar of soap in months handle the books and the newspapers in the mezzanine, and I don’t want to think about the journey some of the library materials have been on outside of the building.

But my pistachios are the problem.

I wonder what she would say if she read this post. 

Aw, is Beverly Library Feeling Left Out?

I guess it’s not fair. Most of my writings thus far have been focused on either Salem or The Peabody Library in Danvers. With all of the attention they’re getting, it must make Beverly feel left out when I don’t acknowledge the ways they have gotten under my skin.

There was one instance not too long ago wherein I was just getting into the library after suffering from a massive case of the runs. Keep in mind that I don’t drive, and to get to this library, I have to cross a bridge from Salem. I was trying to drop a book off, but I  had to run to the restroom. Even after I explained this to the, ahem, professional at the desk, she still felt the need to have me bring the book to the little cubbyhole all the way at the other end of the desk.

But, this was so long ago, why dwell in the past?

Especially when I have something much newer to share that would better serve its purpose as the first blog in a new category of entries called, “Checked Out”.

The Evidence Would Suggest Otherwise

At the Salem Public Library, if you wish to use the Internet you have to put your library card number into the computer and it allots you a certain amount of time. If the computers appear to be taken, you can put your number into reservations computer and it prints out a receipt telling you the time when your session will begin and at which station.

Most libraries, by now, use this system to ensure fair usage and to keep track of who is doing what in the event that something illegal or amoral is taking place. I may have even mentioned this at some point, but I felt that a brief summary was necessary to remind you that this system did not just start yesterday. It’s been in place for quite sometime.

Yesterday, I showed up and all of the computers were taken. However, one couple was sitting at a computer station and I could see their screen clearly enough to know that it was open. You can tell a computer is open because it has the word “available” in big green lettering.

This is something that’s been happening a lot lately, or at least I’ve noticed it enough times to assume that it’s been happening a lot. Someone will be sitting at a computer that they’re not actually using. Either they’re hanging out with a friend who is on the adjacent computer. Maybe they got caught up in their texting. Or, and this one is the more forgivable instance, the user is working on paperwork of sometime, maybe for a class, and they actually did have a reservation but for whatever reason they did not log on at the right time. Or they never logged on at all and they didn’t expect someone else to want to use their computer. Or they were surprised when someone made a reservation and that it was for the computer they were sitting at but not actually using, because they figured it would be available to them at anytime so long as they were occupying the space. You know what, I can’t list and allow for every single scenario that might have occurred for this to happen. Just take my word for it that this happens.

So I see this couple sitting at the computer. I say couple because they were a man and a woman of similar age, but they may not have been an actual couple. Maybe they were students working on the same paper. One might have been a tax agent helping the other with paperwork. Aren’t you so happy that I’m covering all my basis here?

The point is that I could see that the computer they were at was not reserved. If it had been reserved, which would be apparent if they were actually logged on, or if there was a big red announcement that it was reserved, I would have just let it go. But it was the only computer available to anyone at that moment and I wanted to get online. Simple.

Now, I could have politely asked them to move so that I could log on. But people have a funny way of seeming to be reasonable and then turning on you like a rabid dog. So I went with the speaking softly and carrying a big stick approach. I made a reservation and surprise, surprise, the computer they were on switched from “available” to “reservation blah, blah, blah”.

I then informed them of this development. There was the usual confusion that accompanies people who were unaware that they could ever be in someone’s way. Oh, I never knew this computer was reserved, blah, blah, blah.

The librarian in charge of the computers at the time chimed in.

“Well, did you have a reservation?” She asked of the pair.

“Yes we did,” the gentleman said, politely but with certainty, prompting me to produce the receipt.

“Actually, no you didn’t,” I said. “That’s how I was able to make the reservation.”

The librarian couldn’t say anything to this. And in her defense, the confusion wasn’t her fault and she was only trying to keep the peace. Though there was no danger to the peace in this particular instance, as the lovely couple moved on without incident, as I mentioned this has been such a common occurrence of late that you can forgive the librarians if they feel compelled to try to step in just in case.

Library Patrons On Their Phones, Warning: Strong Language.

If any of the presidential nominees for 2016 propose a new law that allows me to bludgeon to death any library patron that engages in any manner of cellphone conversation that does not promptly begin with, “Hang on, let me go outside so we can talk,” I will do everything my power to usher in the beginning of that candidate’s administration.

It’s probably my fault, braving the snowy conditions to use the computer without bringing a set of headphones to drown out the sounds of the mother fucker sitting at the computer behind me. But what bothers me more is that he is not exactly whispering either. So the mobile lump of flesh sitting behind the counter near the computers and clearly having no obvious hearing difficulty, evidenced by the fact that she is calling the evening shift staff of the library to let them know that they will not have to come in, is not doing her job by asking him to cease his conversation or take it to a more appropriate area.

Did I miss the town ordinance that says people can be inconsiderate assholes in the event of a snow emergency? Because if that’s the case, then 7/11 offers a great cup of coffee at an amazingly affordable price and their lids haven’t gotten any sturdier.