How to get rid of Edinburgh Uni library desk hoggers once and for all

Establish a public stocks already

Look, we’ve all done long sessions at the library. They’re nothing new, special, or anything to write home about. Just because you’ve got an essay in tomorrow doesn’t make you fucking special, or more important than everybody else at uni, despite what your mother tells you.

So why is it, that when library desks are at such a premium, so many utter fuckwits feel entitled to hog a library desk for hours at end, when they’re not even sitting there? Short answer: they are cunts.

There’s no need for a long answer.

Regardless of reasons why people hog desks: holding them for friends; cigarette breaks that are more like cigarette-packet breaks; extended lunches catching up on exactly what Georgia did in the bathroom with Tom at that last party; or Starbucks trips that could compete with the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy for running time, one thing is clear: something needs to be done.

Solution 1 – Passive Aggressive Notes:

Here’s how it works. You leave your things unattended at a desk or computer somewhere. You do not return for over an hour, because you’re too busy queueing at Caravan, gossiping at Caravan, queueing at Caravan, and then eating at Caravan. Your things, left unattended for too long, are joined by a big red fucking note that says: Warning 1 – 30 minutes gone. Later, they are joined by another big red fucking note that says: Warning 2 – an hour gone – DESK AVAILABLE in great big letters. If this is you, you want a third warning, don’t you?

Get fucked.

After an hour, anyone who wants that seat can dump your stuff on the floor like it belongs to the human garbage you are. You have to return to the scene of the crime, shamefacedly pick your shite off the floor, and go and find another desk.

Solution 2 – Ban the Fuckers:

You went out, got high in the Meadows, played a game of chess, who cares. You left your things for too long. On returning to your desk, a lovely library warden will amble up to you, and like a sensible bouncer dealing with a fucking embarrassment of a sober human being, he will ask you to leave. You will complain, like a petulant child caught acting like a child. No, he doesn’t give a shit about your deadline. No, he doesn’t care what your daddy will say about it. No, he doesn’t care about how much you pay to go to uni here.

You won’t be allowed back in for another 24 glorious hours, twenty four hours where all the regulars at the desks surrounding you sit smiling, resplendent in the fact that they don’t have to ask themselves the question: “Should I move that cunt’s things? He’s not been back for ages, and that nervous-looking guy has got a sweat on because he’s done so many laps looking for a seat.” And if you hogged more than one desk, saving one or two for a friend? They get banned for 24 hours as well, while you get an extra 24 hours ban for each friend. Yes, that is a ban for having friends. Deal with it.

If you need to get back in to do work, then tough shit. You stopped other people doing work when they needed to, by being a craven excuse for a responsible adult. At least someone claiming that desk will actually be using it now.

Solution 3 – Establish a public stocks:

How much of the library bake sales’ food goes wasted? I don’t know, but here’s a use for it. If someone leaves their desk for more than an hour, they have to spend five minutes in the stocks. Two hours? Ten minutes. Three hours? Thirty minutes. Four hours? Start building a gallows – public executions have been out of fashion for far too long.

Unused baked goods can now be thrown at the offender by bored students, providing proper entertainment, a light-hearted break of sorts. A new kind of charity stall can be set up, selling rotten cabbage for 25p a leaf, and whole onions for a pound.

The best part? The walk back to your desk, covered in odd stains and bruises. Your floormates have a sweepstake going on what the marks mean. The weird purply-red stain that looks alarmingly like blood? Beetroot. The black eye and swollen nose? Turnip. The weird white streaks in your hair? Mayonnaise. Maybe.

Solution 4 – Forced Labour… As a Flyer-er:

It works on so many levels. You leave your things unattended because you were trying to achieve some ultimately fruitless and worthless goal. You now have to achieve some worthless goal, for a fruitless cause. By flyering until you’ve given out 50 flyers. See this wouldn’t be hard if you were giving out pizza deals. But no one wants to go and watch some fucking Romanian adaption of Polynesian soap opera put on by Footlights. No one does. Not even the people in Footlights.

You have the shame of handing out shitty flyers to people, including your friends. You have the shame of desperately trying to get rid of them as soon as possible, knowing that 1. people are judging you for promoting this shite, and 2. you can’t get back into the library and do work until all of the flyers are gone.

Solution 5 – The Shame Box:

My personal favourite. You leave your things unattended, while you run a marathon, or watch your life go down the drains of despair that is Netflix, and you return. Your things are missing. You know where they’ve gone. You know how long you’ve been gone.

Your hands start to sweat. You make the slow, long walk down from the fourth floor, feeling too sick to take the lift. You look around nervously. You approach the raised dais in the entrance hall. Everyone can see you. Everyone judges you.

You approach the elderly Scottish lady behind the desk, which says: “Confiscated Items“. If she smiled, she might look like everyone’s favourite grandmother. She is smiling, albeit slightly sadly. You ask for your things back. She asks for your name, slightly louder than really necessary. You realise she is partly deaf, spying the antiquated hearing aid tucked into her ear. You tell her your name, mumbling the words. She asks you for your name again. You say your name again, this time, far too loudly. Everyone hears your name. Everyone knows what you’ve done. Everyone judges you.

She lifts your things out of the box, struggling slightly with your large folder. Everyone judges you again. You offer to help. She doesn’t quite hear you, and you continue to stand there, a healthy young adult, as an elderly lady struggles to pick your things up. Everyone judges you. a

You pick up your bag, stuff your laptop and charger into it, nearly dropping your laptop in your rush to get away. She reaches forward. You look up. She looks straight at you. You can barely meet her eyes. Out it comes: “I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.” Everyone judges you.

You flee. And never fucking do it again.

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