Today was the first time that I was ever threatened by a patron. We received two back-to-back complaints about two different patrons, one who’s headphones were too loud, the other was asleep on a couch in the back of the building. Since headphone guy was on the way to “Sleepy,” I volunteered to notify the both of them in order to make the the most of my trip.

I told headphone guy that we had a few complaints about the noise level emanating from him, and he immediately apologized and turned down the volume on his laptop… Which, by the look of all the piles of blank CDs around him, like he brought in to fulfill all of his music pirating fantasies.


So, I headed on back to find one of our homeless Irregulars passed out with his legs hanging over the arm of a sofa, and his beer gut fully exposed for all to see, heaving up and down as he breathed in and out… I then attempt to wake him by saying, “Excuse me!” a few times as I’m standing directly over his heaving belly. This had absolutely no effect, so as usual I kicked the leg of the sofa to get his attention (some coworkers prefer to use the “key technique” where they drop their keys on a nearby table). This got his attention. He sat up and apologized. As I’m leaving, I point out the bag of half eaten chips he has in front of him, and tell him that he’s not supposed to have those either, but that it’s no big deal as long as he doesn’t make it a habit.

I got back to the Reference Desk and told my colleague about Sleepy’s gut heaving up and down. Then I told her that he’s one of our more decent homeless guys who never causes any trouble… About a half hour later, he passed by the Desk and under his breath said, “Next time you kick my chair I’m going to kick you.” I shot him a dirty look, and my coworker asked what that was about. I told her (loud enough for him to hear) that that was Sleepy.

No Love.

~ by Woeful on April 28, 2008.

16 Responses to “Threatened”

  1. seems like a harmless retort, in my opinion. he was in a situation in which he felt powerless and was saying something to get that power back. do you really think he will kick you next time?

  2. Hi Stephanie! He’s harmless… I think. If he stabs me while I’m trying to unlock my car door I’ll know I was wrong.

  3. Threats I can deal with and easily forget about. However, I still vividly recall the time I was actually struck by three teenage punks while trying to boot them out of the library for harassing other patrons. My partner, who works at another branch, was stabbed with a pen and had a phone thrown at him by a crazy lady and her kid, and we’ve had a security guard beaten up, among various other incidents. Ah, the joys of working nights in low-income areas.

  4. How come you’re the lucky one who always has to deal with that crap?

  5. Thanks for commenting Bookbuster!

    Hi Tracy: I’m not the only one, but being in “management” it tends to fall on me…

  6. I bet he could kick your ass!

  7. He’s a middle-aged, overweight alcoholic. I don’t think I would have a problem Dave, but I don’t really want to find out either… Like I wrote, I worry more about someone like that stabbing me after some night shift while I’m leaving work.

  8. Ugh. Sometimes it’s so hard to tell if a threat should be taken seriously. I’ve been wrong before.

    Once when a student fell asleep in class, my 8th grade social studies teacher carefully picked up the desk, so as not to wake him, then dropped it from about 3 inches off the floor. That woke him up! (And no, I didn’t feel bad for him, because he called me a whore once…after I corrected his spelling of the word: “hor.” *rolls eyes*)

  9. First threat after seven years? Seems like even your problem patrons are better behaved than some of our “respectable” customers!

    Mind you, a few years’ rights advice work and a few more years’ local government one-stop-shop work put our mob into perspective. Some of the people who traipse into advice bureaux ten minutes before closing on Friday afternoons could write the book on threatening.

  10. Hi PL: I really don’t think he’s dangerous.

    Kevin! I have been pretty lucky, and the Library has been fairly lucky too since we don’t have the problems many people have with guys actually wanking off. Sure, they look but that’s as far as they go.

  11. Well at least he just threatened you with a kick. You never know what those crazy homeless will do. Wait..was that mean? Ha.

  12. Well, Woe, welcome to the club! Maybe someday soon you’ll have an irregular female after your hot librarian self. That’s when it gets really interesting…when the patrons start making sexual advances towards you. Nothing like going home and feeling like you need to bathe in a vat of bleach to wash off all the unclean thoughts that were directed at you throughout your shift!

    I can’t believe you’ve worked there for seven years and that’s the only threat you’ve received! That’s pretty impressive…

  13. That stuff is scary. This post intrigued me because I got hit for the first time by a kid last week. It really threw me for a loop. Sometimes these things are totally unpredictable, regardless of how you handle the situation.

  14. Hi K: I already have a stalker… Let’s not go there.

    Welcome back Bloggrrl! Not a good feeling is it. Kids these days… LOL!

  15. Please keep us posted. Seriously – your life is like a soap drama, maybe better!

  16. You have quite a tale yourself…

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