The other day, a semi-regular patron approached my desk holding a crumpled up piece of paper and asking if we had a recycle bin.
"Nope, sorry." I almost told her that even if we did, everything would still go into the same dumpster out back, but I was feeling uncharacteristically benevolent.
The patron tsk'ed at me. "Well, I'm a real tree person. I hate wasting paper. I'll take this over to the children's department." (They have a recycling bin, see. They're nice. They care about the environment.)
About eight seconds earlier, I had decided I'd already grown tired of this conversation. It was after 5 o'clock, I was alone at the desk, and it was the final hour of a very long day. I went back to my audiobook order. "Uh huh. You do that."
A while later, this patron printed out some PDF files from her email. Unfortunately, she had no idea what she was doing and never bothered to ask me for help. As a result, the printer on my desk began to churn out paper.
"Uh...ma'am? Are these yours?" I showed her the stack of print outs - only one page in ten was usable and the printer was still going at it, no end in sight.
She gaped at the pile for a moment. "No, those aren't mine. I mean, I...I didn't mean to print all that."
"Right. Well...so much for saving the trees, huh?" I sighed dramatically, making a big show of taking each ruined sheet and slowly putting it in the trash before she could reach for them. I shook my head sadly. "Seems so wasteful, but oh well...what can you do? Computers, you know." I might have shrugged but I was full to bursting with an internal smirk.
Horrible, I know...but she deserved it - as usual, she left without giving me a dime.