Thoughts at the library drop slot
A couple of days ago, I happened to walk over to the library in order to return some items. When I got there, as all too often is the case, a parent was allowing two of his children to put their returns back into the (single) drop slot. He noticed me, and offered to take my stuff and return it when they were done. (Parenthetically [as it were], I should note that, in the five years since the new system was put in place, this is only the second time that a parent, in such a situation, has taken any notice of the fact that they were delaying matters. The previous one, about a year ago, asked her children to stand aside and let me through. I digress, but not completely.)
I immediately handed over my pile (which included a recent bestseller, and a recent movie). (We are all creatures of social convention, and social engineering is a powerful force.) But, being a professional paranoid, as soon as I walked away I started berating myself for being so trusting.
I was also thinking that his actions were pedagogically unsound. While he was, at least, assisting me in avoiding delay, he was, just as much as the majority of the parents at that slot, teaching his children that they need have no regard for anyone else.
(And, yes, before I left the library, I checked my account, and determined that he had, in fact, returned my items. Auditing, you know.)