January 7, 2009

my return to the library

I used to take the kids to Crandall Library all the time when they were little. The library had a neat children's play room next to the children's book section and in it was a shelf of big people (mostly parenting) books to peruse while the kids played. Normally, I would find something that interested me from that collection and then on our way out I would usually have just enough time to quickly choose a fiction novel from near the book check. Well back in 2003 I took out some books and didn't make it back to the library before owing about $23 in late fees. At one point I snuck up to the free standing drive thru book drops to return the children's books, but for some (irresponsible) reason kept the two adult books I had. This is the same reason I no longer allow myself a blockbuster video card. I am terrible about returning material. So, 6 years have passed and the Crandall Library has gone through a major renovation. I was assured by a frequent visitor of the library that the slate would be clean and I should go back and check out the new and improved, updated library. Reagan had asked about going there several times during the construction phase and since school vacation was upon us I decided it was time we made the trip. We marched up to the desk and told the lady that we once had cards but probably needed new ones. Oh no, she quickly found us in the system and delivered the bad news. I owed $23 in fees but because books were categorized as lost, I actually owed the value of the books which was $80. I had joked with my friend that I was sure there was a "wanted" poster of me hanging somewhere in the place and that I couldn't possibly go back. At that moment it was no joke. Although I am surely not the worst overdue book offender I was wishing this new state of the art building had a trap door I could fall through. I casually asked how long ago these books had been taken out and did my best impression of shock that I had "forgotten". Of course I would bring them next time as I assured the woman that they must be somewhere at home. Where, is the question. Lucky for me, Reagan has a clean card and could check some books out for me. We both came out with 4 books. Reagan read her first chapter book from start to finish in 4 nights. We have enjoyed our reading time together in the evenings. It has been a nice break from what has become my nightly routine of "reading the computer".

I chose this book.

I had learned of the Movie that preceded it months ago and it caught my eye.
I was pleasantly surprised that it not only spoke of the poor nutritional quality of fast food but went into great detail about marketing and advertising ploys and gimmicks directed at winning over children at very young ages to certain brands of fast food, junk food, and of course soda. Reminded me of when we were running the little league. We were so happy that by signing a 5 year contract with Pepsi, they donated a $5,000 electric scoreboard for the fields. This was big stuff in our small town little league which never had any type scoreboard. I quickly found out that the Pepsi Corporation does that as a PR strategy to win over our littlest members to Pepsi (over coke) as soon as they possibly could. Attracting customers early (from the cradle) is more cost effective than changing a persons preference later on. Hence, the McDonald's line of baby clothes sold at Walmart (of course they are in on it). Another point made in the book is that fast food and fast casual food joints often use school promotions to attract customers. I have been stubborn over the last few years about the Pizza Hut Book It program. My philosophy has always been that I don't need the prize of a personal pan pizza dangled in front of me to make sure that my kid reads at night. We read just to read, not to earn pizza. I was catching on that the corporation only wanted to attract a family that would spend an average of $25 dollars in their restaurant over and above the measly $3 free pizza they were handing out. Turns out that Pizza Hut along with McD's and Wendy's and Burger King could give a rats ass whether my kids read, do well in school or become fat and unhealthy. The last time we ate at McDonald's after a school basketball game, another mother marveled at my "will power" to eat only a salad (before reading the book). Believe me, if you read this book you won't ever want to eat anything but a salad at that place. Who needs will power.

Gotta go, I have 3 more books to read before their February 1st due date!


Allison said...

And to think, you stayed away from that place for so long because of $23. lol They gotcha! I bet reagan was mortified too!

Raymonty said...

Thank you for sharing and I enjoyed reading your article.

Jennifer W said...

I am laughing out loud at the thought of you standing there in front of that clerk. Scofflaw! Don't feel too bad, I just donated a bunch of books to the Saratoga Library that had call numbers on them. I don't know where the heck they came from.

corin said...

Jen: what were the titles of those books??? I knew I lent them to someone!