Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Yes, I'm a Bitch, pt.3

Not twenty minutes after the whole television debacle in my previous post, Cedric decided to create policy and deny a student service. I didn't find out about it until I had to deal with the fallout.

I was working at my desk when I heard some raised voices from the circ desk. I looked but neither Cedric or the other student asst called for me. Library X is loud usually so raised voices isn't unusual. I stayed at my desk. Cedric came back to retrieve a book. Through the bookcase, he told me that he'd refused to check a laptop out of a student because she had a drippy ice cream cone.

"Um okay, but that's not how we do things."

"Yeah, but I thought she'd mess up the laptop."

"Well, I can't undo what you said, but we've never refused to check something out to someone because of food or drink."

"She brought a friend back to check the laptop out for her."

Sounded fine to me as long as the friend knew she was responsible for the laptop while it was checked out to her.

Cedric went back to the front, and I heard more raised voices. I finally got up to see what the hell was going on. A couple of the girl's friends were talking at Cedric. One guy was being especially confrontational. He was goading Cedric, calling him son and then switching to sir. Stupid shit like that. Cedric was arguing with him, upholding his decision instead of apologizing for his mistake.

"Look, have some common sense," Cedric told the group.

I come up to break up the confrontation. "Cedric, that's condescending. You shouldn't say that." Now I have told students to have some common sense, but that was when they were doing Kung-Fu on the vending machines. Eating ice cream and checking out a laptop is not that unbelievable. Food is allowed in Library X. The laptops are in high demand. Waiting to finish your ice cream could be difference between getting a laptop and not getting a laptop.

The male friend of the student is still hassling Cedric, and Cedric is responding in kind. They were barely keeping it civil. I told them both to drop it, to just let it go. As a parting shot, the male student said, "Yeah, it's not because we're black or anything, is it?" I could've rolled my eyes at this. Most of the students in the group are regulars at Library X. They've dealt with me and know that isn't condoned. Cedric was being a prick, not a racist.

"No, it's because your friend was eating a drippy ice cream," Cedric shot back. See? Prick. I told Cedric to just cool it. He went into the back. I helped cover the desk.

Cedric finally came back to the front. I motioned for him to stand back with me. "Tell me what exactly happened."

"This student comes up to check out a laptop, but she has the drippy ice cream cone. I figure she's going to mess up the laptop and told her to finish the ice cream before I'll check it out to her."

"But we don't do that. We don't have a policy about not checking laptops out if you have food."

"I was trying to protect the laptop."

"But it isn't your call to make."

"I think I did right."

"Cedric, I just told you that isn't how we do business. It isn't our policy. You did wrong."


"Cedric, who's your boss?"

I'm ashamed to say that I took delight in the deer caught in headlights expression that crossed his face. "Y-you are."

"Then why aren't you listening to me? Why are you arguing with me?"

"I felt responsible for the safety of the laptop."

"Well, you're not. When the student checks it out, they're responsible for it. It's clearly stated on the laptop."

"Okay, but I'm going to ask the Science Library about it."

"Why? They don't have any bearing on us."

"Just for my peace of mind to see if my instincts are right."

"Cedric, I just told you your instincts were WRONG."

"See, you're always saying no to me just because it's me."


"Cedric, have I not explained myself to you? You weren't supposed to put up the television, and you weren't supposed to deny someone service on a whim."

"Yeah, but you didn't back me up!"

"Because you were wrong. I'm not going to back you up on something you did in error. You should've apologized to the student and let her check out the laptop."

"You've got to be kidding me!"

"Am I laughing? No, I'm serious. When you make a mistake, you've got to fess up to it."

"I don't have to take some eighteen year old kid talking to me like that."

Nice subject change, Cedric. No, let's not deal with your mistake.

"He was being rude, but you weren't being much better."

"Why didn't you come up when I first spoke to you?"

"Because I didn't know I had to."

"I told you when I was getting a book."

"You told me what you did. You didn't ask me to come up to speak to the students."

Cedric seemed to finally accept that he wasn't going to browbeat me into submission about this, but he couldn't let it end there. "I still think I did right."

"That's fine. Just don't ever do it ever again."

And there you have it. I am a bitch boss because I won't let student assistants make up rules when it suits them. I am just so UNFAIR! And I seem to just say no arbitrarily to student assistants.



Anonymous Woeful said...

Cedric got a much needed dose of reality... Sadly, his psychosis persists.

11:19 PM, April 03, 2007  
Blogger Happy Villain said...

I'm guessing Cedric learned nothing from this exchange and I anticipate you will be replacing Cedric shortly. I don't think libraries should view their material as a museum exhibit. The material is meant to be used, meant to have a shelf life, and meant to be replaced when it is either unusable or out-of-date. To guard the material with our jobs is futile. And honestly, I can think of far worse situations when I've handed over items to patrons who I knew had violated material with more heinous substances than ice cream. If we were to discriminate against patrons, I wouldn't put ice-cream-eaters at the top of my list. Makes me wonder what Cedric has gotten away with in the past.

11:29 PM, April 03, 2007  
Anonymous Dances With Books said...

And he is still working because. . .? Like Happy Villain, I see a firing in Cedric's future. To be honest, that insubordination, amazes me he still has a job. Were I the manager, he would have been shown the door, pure and simple.

8:38 AM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger practical katie said...

You need to fire Cedric. He is never going to "get it", no many how many discussions you have with him.

8:57 AM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger Vampire Librarian said...

If this had happened earlier in the semester, it would've been different, but seeing how I only have five weeks left, I don't have enough time to hire someone new and train them. He won't be asked back for summer.

4:32 PM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger Katya said...

Good -- I'm glad to hear that he won't be back. I also see a tough time for him when he gets out in the working world.

5:54 PM, April 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like he'd have a good career in parking enforcement.

6:29 PM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger library mistress said...

I think Cedric had a point! He didn't deny the laptop, but asked to finish the icecream first. I personally think that's understandable.

5:10 AM, April 05, 2007  
Anonymous FemaleNetworkEngineer said...

I actually think Cedric had a good point, but he expressed himself very badly and I can see why you want to let him go.

I am an IT worker and laptops aren't cheap to replace. Having someone with dripping ice cream use it means there is a good chance of the laptop getting at least sticky, but it the liquid could get into the keyboard of the laptop thus into the computer itself and easily break it. I've seen too many computer die because some ding dong accidently gets a liquid on the laptop.

So while I still think Cedric needs to be let go, he did have a point.

3:04 PM, October 20, 2008  
Blogger Vampire Librarian said...

You and library mistress have a point, but Cedric didn't offer to hold the laptop until the student finished the ice cream, and enforcing a no food with laptop policy would be a nightmare. We have very good warranties with our laptops. They do get abused a lot, but they can be fixed.

It was mofos all around. I was even a bit of one. Thanks for your input, FemaleNetworkEngineer.

9:21 AM, October 22, 2008  

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