What does “late” mean?

I am pondering something and wondering if I have a different understanding of the word late and I can’t quite believe I need to write this.

Last week I shared this post by Morecambe Bay Slings after 16 slings failed to be returned or extended on Saturday. By Sunday this was cut to 6. On Monday and another session brought another bunch of non-returns. My “overdue” list is currently sitting at 7. So what does late mean?

Late (adverb): after the expected, proper, or usual time.

When you hire a sling you do so for a set period of time (2 weeks or 4 weeks usually).  The return date is given verbally when you hire and by email the minute we press check out on MyTurn. Your sling is late if it isn’t returned on the date given at booking and at the appropriate drop in session, or it is posted the day sling was due back (should be posted to arrive the day due back). 

Slings can be returned “early” 24 hours a day using our drop box. Reminder emails are sent 3 days before your sling is due back. I honesty feel 3 days is sufficient time for you to contact me or post back (special delivery is next day delivery).

Slings aren’t late if you notify me before return date:

  • That you want to extend and have paid extension.
  • That you can’t make X session can you bring to Y instead.
  • You have posted back before day due (and hopefully sent me confirmation that it’s posted).

I am a Mum, I know life sometimes does not work as we planned. If something has come up a quick text/email/Facebook message to let me know is not you can’t make it. But please don’t leave me in the dark. If I text you/ ring/ email please reply. Please don’t reply and say you are going to do something and then not do it. Your 1 sling is one of 320+ slings, it is one of over 150 out on loan at any one time, it is not in isolation. Late returns don’t just cause me extra work they are unfair on other families (especially where the sling is popular or the only one we have in that model).

I will continue to make follow up email/ texts/ Facebook messages / phone calls but there gets a point where I am going to have to do something else. Slings are not worthless pieces of fabric. If I need to I will send final demand letters and begin small claims proceedings for slings not returned. I really don’t want to have to do this but I cannot carry on the way things are: It is not fair on me, on my family and more importantly, it’s not fair on other library users and their children.

Thank you for reading.

Yours an exasperated sling librarian.

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