Thursday, February 28, 2013

Oh, the Irony!

Life is funny, hilarious, really. I borrowed this book from the library about 10-months ago. I know, it seems like a long time to loan something to someone, but the online renewal is just so easy! Sorry, I I got this book because I wanted to make a concerted effort to tighten the ol' budgetary belt; lean things up a bit and make the mighty dollar go a little farther at the good homestead. Had I known it was going to cost me money, I never would have requested it in the first place.

Yes, months went by and I just kept renewing. The book ended up at the bottom of my "box-o-junk" in the car. I'm pretty sure it had been there since the summer. And, no, I never did get to reading the final page of that book. You wouldn't believe all the numbers you had to gather to determine your net-worth (too much trouble). Besides, saving money is like weight-loss, if you spend less, you'll save more; it's that simple. Why do we complicate the basics? I digress, again...I thought it was time to get the book back to its original home and, perhaps, into the hands of another good-intentioned money-miser Samaritan who would be willing to put in the time to gather the data necessary to pave their way to millionairehood. Away went the book down the little Book Return chute. I'm pretty sure I saw dollars with wings just flying away. I was right!

I checked my library account today and found a $20 fine! If Super Hubby is reading this, blood pressure is rising right now. 

Where my can is parked during the summer months.
I immediately called my friendly librarian to get the details of this shocking revelation. Turns out I'm being charged for the book due to water damage. WATER DAMAGE? Yes. Apparently, the book I returned was a bit thicker around the middle I know how that feels than when I picked it up. I'm a person who takes care of my stuff. I also take special care of stuff I borrow. In my defense, I never dunked the book in water. I do recall reading the book all summer-long at the community pool, though. Is it possible for water particles to travel through the air to embed themselves into the fibers of the book's pages, positioning themselves for some covert plump-up operation? This, I do not know. Another thing I do not know: I think I actually received the book in this condition. I can't be 100% sure, but it may be possible? You see, this book was found in the catacombs of the library's closet. My book request revived the poor thing's purpose. My conversation with the librarian went something like this:

Librarian: Well, if you received the book in this condition, all you have to do is say so and we'll drop the fine.

Me: Well, it was so long ago, I can't really say for sure.

Librarian: But, all you need to do is tell me you received the book in this condition and we'll drop the fine. (leading the witness)

Me: Well, I can't do that because I can't remember. Besides, I'm an honest and truthful person. This I know: I did not expose that book to water. This I also know: the library searched their deepest, dark crevices to pull-out this book from who knows where to get it for me. It's distinctly possible it was in this condition when I received it, but I don't know for sure?

Librarian: Well, do you want to say you received it like this or don't you?

During this time I'm looking up the book title on Amazon (I'm a multi-tasker) and I find out the book is only $10!

Me: Can't I just buy you guys the book for $10? That's half the fine and fair considering I'm not exactly sure I'm responsible.

Librarian: So, if that's the case, I'll only fine you $15.

Me: $15 is not $10.

Librarian: $5 processing fee.

Me: FINE! I guess I have to pay better attention when I receive the book in the first place!

Librarian: Have a nice day. Oh, and you can't take out any more books until you pay the fine. Your account is blocked for fines exceeding $10.

Me: Mmph. Panic ensues.
I'm still in love with the library!

So, sometimes you get screwed for being honest. 6 little words and I would have been off the hook; "I received it in that condition," is all it would have taken, you see, to wipe the slate clean. But, is my value system, my path to the Pearly Gates worth a lousy $15? NO! So, I paid the fine and righted it in my mind as a donation to the library (we've got the best one around, with the best people there, too).

In the end, a book that was supposed to teach me how to save more money ended up costing me $15, but I've insured my salvation and kept my conscience clear. And a bonus: I got to keep the water-logged book, so now I may actually get to reading that last the bathtub, nice bubblebath, no worries the book will drop.

The irony of it all has me in stitches. However, I may be the only one under this roof in a giggle. It's OK Super Hubby, I'm not doin' time for the "alleged" crime!           

Have any library injustices you'd like to share?


Anonymous said...

Love, love, love! Sorry you had to pay a fine, but loved how you handled it. I'll have to tell you some of my crazy book fine stories over a cup of coffee - they are rare but like your precious money-saving/costing book episode, ironic as well. Art books that were painted in, poetry books that had more poetry in them than they should have, cook books with tell-tale stains of baking...even a few animal books that Rocket chewed on. ;)

I love your blog. Love, love, love you.


Anonymous said...

Principles trump blood pressure.

Tip o' the hat.


Anonymous said...

It occurred to me late last night as I was laying in bed that my ironic misfortunes were not injustices, as yours was. Sometimes I return books and they aren't checked in properly at the library, and I'll get a notice that a book is overdue that I know I've returned. So I have to find them on the bookshelves, bring them to the librarian and have her check them in. Half the time I'm panicked I won't find the book, that on top of it not being checked in correctly, it will be misshelved (I hope that is a word). :)


I am LOVD said...

Michele, looks like your experience is quite common. My friend, Christa, wrote almost the same story you did, word for word, on my Facebook page. She, too, has to find it on the shelf to "prove" she has returned it. My fear...what if you don't find it on the shelf - Eeek!

Ashley said...

I currently have GoT's A Clash of Kings checked out, and the first thirty pages or so came detached from the book shortly after I checked it out. I didn't cause it. The spine was already wearing out, and the book had been water damage. (The fact that a previous borrower returned it as such is noted inside on the title page.) I don't know if I should try to fix it or fess up that it came that way. I'm afraid they will be awfully suspicious since I have renewed it twice!

I worked at a library my first year in college, and I can't tell you the number of times that folks would try to get out of fines--they clearly had kept the book for themselves and wanted to get out of the $65+ fines they owed! And then there were honest folks like you who were willing to do whatever needed to be done to clear their records and conscience while supporting the library. :)

I am LOVD said...

Ashley, the truth is always the best route. I'd tell them about how you did receive the book in that condition and when the spine came loose, you just wanted to keep it and finish the book before returning. You're an honest person, and the library probably can already see that. So, honesty is the best policy. If they still hold you accountable, then do what I did, consider it a donation to a great place. Of all the items I get at the library, I have saved a pretty penny, that's for sure! Good luck!


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