Kung Fu Grip

A middle-aged man came in late in the day today. He wanted Consumer Reports. I dug out the current issue and handed it to him. He looked at it and told me he wanted the binder containing the entire year’s worth. No problem! I pulled the binder and as I handed it to him, asked for some kind of ID to hold while he was looking at it. Grumbling to himself, he reluctantly dug through his wallet and found his license. He showed it to me.

I informed him that I needed to hold the license while he looked at the issues, since they were recently replaced after an elderly woman decided she wanted the original ones for her own and wandered out of the building with them. He was incensed. He then commented that yesterday he wasn’t asked for his ID and tried with both hands to rip the binder from my outstretched hand (I may be a librarian, but I can bench 225lbs. without breaking a sweat). He tugged; thrice, to no avail, he was like a little kid having a tantrum… GIMME! When he realized that he wasn’t getting them without providing an ID he removed a credit card from his billfold and threw it down on the desk before me. Satisfied with this, I released my grip and he sulked away with his head held low.


~ by Woeful on August 2, 2007.

15 Responses to “Kung Fu Grip”

  1. I love your stories. It makes me want to get a video camera and hang out in the library for a while! I can do that to fill up my time until my number comes up for the HP. 😉

  2. Thanks Deb! Sometimes, what I have to deal with is truly unreal. I mean, like this guy… What is that? By what stretch of the imagination is it OK to try to yank something out of someone’s hand. It was actually kind of funny (or I would have been pissed) as he was really giving it his all and I hardly even budged. He took me by surprise. It was an unexpected reaction to an otherwise perfectly sane transaction… Perpetrated by a perfectly “normal” looking guy.

  3. I overheard part of a conversation one day. This woman was giving one of the library employees a hard time about their (free) wifi. She was miffed that the library didn’t hand out wireless cards. She was all righteous about it too, saying that since the library claimed they wanted to make the internet accessible to everyone, then they shouldn’t require people to get special equipment just to hook up to their free wifi. I don’t normally pay much attention to conversations like that, but it really caught my attention. I mean, there are many computers sitting there for patrons to use, all nicely hooked up to the ‘net. Many more computers than anyone might expect considering it is a small branch library! But she was determined that she should get some free equipment on top of all that!

    I don’t even work in a library, and I’ve seen some of what you deal with! 😀

    The picture of some guy trying to yank something out of your hands is pretty funny. Too bizarre! I wonder if the libraries would think I was weird for hanging around the library with a video camera. I’ll tell them I’m filming a documentary for Librarian Woes Productions or something. 😉

  4. Ah, the ID thing. We take ID for a *ton* of stuff at our desk but it’s recently been decreed by the Powers that Be that we can only take library cards due to security concerns that “valuable” ID like licenses will get stolen. I’m sure you know how many people come into the library without their card, so that’s fun. We’re now supposed to take the person’s ID and write their name down on a sticky note if they don’t have a card. And I got a Master’s Degree for this?

  5. Jeez, Woeful. Terrorizing the elderly with a kung fu grip. That is just wrong.

  6. Hello TL! We have many similar procedures… They can also make things hard to find, or confusing for patrons. For example, we keep a few of the newspapers behind the Reference Desk because they always seem to walk. Segregating them confuses the hell out of people. The whole thing is annoying, I feel your pain. I didn’t earn an MLS to be a plumber, sign maker, or social worker either… Yet here I am.

    LOL, He wasn’t exactly “elderly” Max! Aging perhaps… Either way, he ‘s an insolent pain in the ass. I wish I had a big cartoon fly swatter to smack him in the forehead with when he acted out. SMACK!

  7. bullshit you can’t bench 225 lbs.

  8. Oh yeah I can, DynaDave… I can only bang out one set now since I hurt my wrist though, not the three I was doing a few months ago. I generally warm up with two 45lb. plates and ramp it up to four for the last set (the barbell weighs 45 as well).

    When I had my home gym I was always concerned about benching any more than 205. Now that I joined a gym, I have no such inhibitions. I figure if I lose it, one of the guerrillas nearby will save my life! That said, 225 is plenty of weight. I don’t ever intend to push past it.

  9. hahaha–that’s a great story! People are very passionate about their consumer reports. I had one customer who would come in quite regularly, and completely surround herself with the back issues and pore over them…again and again and again. Just can’t get enough!

  10. Thanks for stopping by Tavolini! I’m glad you like my post, keep reading.

  11. Forget the kung fu grip….you can bench 225lbs with no problem? EXCELLENT, Woeful…totally impressed.

    I’ve noticed that people get testy when you ask them for an ID for ANYTHING.

  12. Is 225 good?

  13. A few months back I was pressing 225 no problem. Then I had to rest my wrist because I injured it doing something totally unrelated to lifting. Now, I’m trying to get back to where I was… Warming up with a set at 135lbs. another set at 205, and two sets at 225.

    225 is HEAVY, but I can bang out a set of 8-10 no problem. It would be nice to get my abs back… I write as I drink a UFO… Hehehe!

  14. Requiring ID to look at periodicals precludes a “perfectly sane situation.” I won’t, however, justify the man’s grabbing and yanking the library materials.

    Sometimes I feel sorry for the many nice and generally conscientious librarians (if the shoe fits, wear it) who are charged with executing draconian requirements not of their design. Privacy, security, and dignity have been severely diminished in most public libraries.

  15. Hello JackG’t! Sadly, if we don’t take ID’s for some of the stuff it never comes back and then everyone else is penalized for one person’s thievery through the item’s absence.

    How have privacy, security, and dignity been diminished in public libraries? We go to some fairly extreme measures to protect user privacy, and provide the same quality service to both scholars and the homeless. It’s one of the few places where people are treated the same regardless of their net worth and/or social status. Security, however, can always be better. Sadly, we’re pretty limited by our funding.

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