Read All About It, Then Steal It



The cost of our daily newspaper. We get two copies of our local paper arrive into the library each day. We staple them, stamp them with words such as , Property of… , not to lend etc, and put them out on tables in the library ready for the start of each day.

A week or so back, we started noticing one was going missing each day, and when I noticed it had gone missing 10 minutes after we opened, I decided perhaps we should do something. Now, you may think, hey it’s only $1.70, but it is also 50% of available papers, and although we can also offer the paper on-line (along with so many world papers on a site called Press Display), people do still enjoy perusing an actual paper, so when we lose one, it is an inconvenience for many of our customers. Besides, it’s theft.

So, we had a think and decided to put a tag in the papers so that when the ‘thief’ left the library, and alarms sounded,we could ‘stop and shame’.

We had a suspect, there is a gentleman who spends every day, all day with us, and seems to sleep in his van at night.  We suspected him as he arrived and left suddenly the day the paper went missing at 9.10am, which was not like him. He also had been asked several times not to do the sudoku, crosswords and in other ways deface the papers, so we thought perhaps he was getting his own back.

But a couple of days after we had put the tags in, another regular customer left the library, no bags, nothing in his hands, but with the alarm sounding. He was stopped and asked if he had anything such as a paper, magazine, book, but he flatly lied and said no. Of course, we couldn’t physically search him, so our plan seemed to fail.

We then decided the only way was to put the papers behind the front desk each day, and people would have to ask for them and leave some kind of ID.

Unsurprisingly, the gentleman in question has not returned, so maybe he was shamed, or he has just gone to another library.

$1.70, is it worth all that effort? But then you could also ask, “$1.70, why not just buy your own if you are so desperate to have it?”

We recently had a burglary in our own home, when we were asleep, and that also made me question people’s sense of entitlement, as well as making me freaked and nervous for a bit.

I guess we all justify things to ourselves at times, make ourselves feel better about a slight or white lie, but I can’t imagine myself how you justify theft… call me Pollyanna.


About jaxjaxster

Who am I? I'm a writer, a singer and a mum. I work in a library and I am a lover of the following; music, anything purple, books, movies chocolate and of course my wonderful and passionate man! People fascinate me and I'm on an ever eventful journey - please join me
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