November 16, 2005 at 12:18 pm
I scammed the public library into buying a book for me. I feel so clever!
About a month ago I saw a review about a book called “Hungry Planet” on the CalorieLab website. In it are pictures of 30 families in 24 countries with all the food they plan on eating that week. It sounded pretty cool, but it’s also $26.40 plus shipping at Amazon and not old enough to be found at any of the used dealers. Me, I’m still paying off my gall bladder surgery from two years ago, so I don’t feel like spending about $30.00 total on a book I’ll read once.
My local library has a great online system. For the past year or so I’ve been going online and placing the books that I want on hold. Then I just walk up to the front desk and they’re waiting for me because I made the little librarians scuttle around the stacks collecting the books like my own personal worker bees. I’m the queen of the hive! Bzzz, bzzz!
I looked for “Hungry Planet” in the library database, but it wasn’t there. However I did see a “Recommend to Order” link on the page. So I click on it, fill out the title, author, ISBN etc. and send the form, thinking it will probably get sent to some junk e-mail account where it will never be read or worse yet just bounce. I’d tried recommending one or two books before and nothing ever came of it.
Imagine my surprise the next day when I come home and there is a message on my answering machine from the library. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten an actual phone call from the library. Usually they just send me form letters on 1980’s computer paper saying my books are ready for pick up. Guess what? (I bet you can guess.) They ordered the book and placed it on hold for me.
Not only am I patting myself on the back for saving $30.00, I’m still in shock that some of my tax money is actually being put directly toward my use. It’s like I got a mini-refund.
I don’t know why this book got approved for purchase and not the other books I had submitted, which I honestly can’t remember the titles of. I can only guess this book has some sort of inherent educational value that made it appealing. Or maybe we are just subject to the whimsy of some mysterious master book buyer for the library. My friend Aparecida says her local libaray has an inordinate amount of obscure indie CDs that never get checked out because the head of purchasing just buys what he wants to listen to.
Either way, I feel like I won the lottery or maybe just a scratch off game. I haven’t felt this good since some bitch hit my car in the parking lot and I got $700 from her insurance company, even though the trade-in value of my car is less than $700. I kept the dent, spent the money and every time I see my smashed-in rear passenger door I smile.