He wasn’t the rudest patron I’d ever encountered, but he was certainly the rudest one that day. After he left, I sighed heavily and leaned against the library counter where my coworker Kathy congratulated me. “I thought you handled that very well,” she said.
“Thanks,” I said, “but someday someone is going to come in acting like that and I’m NOT going to handle it well. I’m going to lose my shit. And when I do, that person is going to demand to see my supervisor. And when that happens, I’m going to tell them I AM the supervisor, and you guys are going to back me up. Deal?”
“Sounds fair,” said Kathy.
“Oh, yeah, sure. You’re the supervisor,” said Karyn, who is technically my supervisor. “I hate dealing with them when they’re like that. I think the rudest patron I’ve ever had was a lady who demanded to see the supervisor, which was me, and after she yelled at me for ten minutes over a book we were charging her for, she came out with ‘My taxes pay your salary,’ and I just said, ‘You know what, ma’am? You’re right,’ and I took the charges off her account.”
“So she got away with it?” I said.
“I just didn’t know what to say to that. I mean, it’s technically true.”
Okay, yes, fair point. But if a rude patron ever tries that on me while I’m pretending to be the supervisor, I’m prepared. Here are my top ten responses to the statement, “My taxes pay your salary.”
10. “You should contact the IRS about a refund: Mentally unstable individuals such as yourself qualify for all sorts of tax breaks.”
9. “Unless you're secretly one of the 1%, your taxes don’t trickle down this far.”
8. “Actually, I'm a full time volunteer. Nice try, though.”
7. “Let's pretend that's the bit of my salary I use to pay MY taxes, and call it even.”
6. “An evil overlord, are you? So will the beheadings be now or later?”
5. “No, ma'am. We used your taxes to fix our leaky toilets last month.”
4. “Maybe you should take this issue up with your accountant, then?”
3. “And pointing out how little you pay me is a crappy way to get better customer service.”
2. “So do mine, and we're neither of us paying me enough to be treated this way.”
1. “If I pay it back to you, will you go away?”