When Patients Need Patience

, , , , , , , , | Healthy | July 8, 2018

(I am in the waiting room of an OBGYN office I’ve never been to before. It is the only one in the area that is in my HMO insurance network. It’s late morning; appointments are not meant to be longer than 20 minutes, so I am planning to attend classes afterwards. When I walk in, I’m told that there is an extremely long wait time, even though we all have timed appointments — and are actually meant to be seen at that time. Though every hospital and office in this entire HMO company has a policy that if a patient checks in more than 15 minutes late they lose their appointment, obviously no equal rules have ever applied to providers being penalized for lateness. I have waited an hour already. Another patient, who is waiting for the same doctor, is sitting next to me with her newborn baby.)

Patient: “Oh, yeah. It’s aaaaalways been this way in this office for as long as I’ve been coming here. They’re aaaaalways extremely behind schedule.”

(This is not reassuring; since she’s got a baby, one can assume she’s been a patient with frequent appointments here for at least nine months.)

Patient: “Yeah, that’s why I’ve always made sure to get the very first appointment super-early in the morning. That’s absolutely the only way to get out of here on time. I just couldn’t manage it today. Oh, but don’t worry; I’ll be super-quick with my appointment, only five minutes. So you all won’t have to wait too much longer!”

(It’s nice of her, but we’re all already extremely late, anyway. I’m pretty appalled that a woman with a newborn is being made to wait around like this for well over an hour; luckily, her baby keeps on sleeping. I also wonder, if this office always runs severely late, why don’t they at least warn patients when we make our appointments? Many patients go up to ask the nurses several times what is going on with the excessive wait time. From overhearing them, it becomes clear that at least half a dozen of them are waiting for the same doctor I am, who appears to be the main cause of waiting-room congestion. The nurses seem extremely practiced at politely fobbing us off while giving non-answers about why this is happening or how much longer it’ll be, as well as pretending to be helpless and confused themselves, while giving off the heavy impression that this is actually all “business as usual.” I’m extremely unhappy; there is no end to the wait in sight, and it’s clear I’ll miss my classes. In other circumstances I’d just leave, but I am there because of suspicion of a uterine tumor and absolutely need to have tests done. Most people resign themselves to waiting, except for one young woman, who checked in 20 minutes after me, and keeps on whining to the nurses over and over. After waiting less than an hour, she starts going towards the exit door in showy slow-motion, while she declares extra loudly to the entire room that she’s leaving since she must get back to her job. I feel extremely skeptical of this, as she is dressed very unprofessionally, even by the standards of the most casual minimum-wage job, and has multiple large, prominent facial piercings.)

Nurse: “Oh, no! No, Ms. [Whiny Patient], don’t leave!”

Whiny Patient: “Oh, I absolutely have to get back to work! There’s no way I can stay here any longer!”

Nurse: “If you wait just a moment, I’ll go right away to ask the doctor if she can accommodate you sooner! Just wait right here!”

(The nurse goes inside the medical office, and comes back within two minutes to call the whiny patient in to be seen by the doctor immediately. I am shocked, as I know this girl was in line behind me, and there’s still at least one other person in front of me, as well. I go up to the nurses again.)

Me: “Excuse me, but I believe that young woman who just went in is seeing the same doctor as me, and several other people here.”

Nurse: “Well, yes, she is in with [Doctor].”

Me: “Did you really just call her in ahead of all of us, including those that were here first?!”

Nurse: “Well, yes. You see, she is in a very great hurry to get back to work. So we just had to see her now. [Doctor] did her a favor and managed to squeeze her in sooner.” *without appearing to realize the actual obvious meaning of that sentence*

Me: “Oh, my God, really?! [Doctor] did her a favor and squeezed her in?! What you’re actually saying is you talked Dr. [Doctor] into seeing her sooner, at all of the rest of our expense, without even consulting us! Neither [Doctor] nor any of you lost anything by doing this! You all just chose to steal several other people’s time for your own convenience of not having to explain the reason behind the patient’s appointment cancellation after she’d already showed up and paid for it! Wow, I wish I’d thought of getting up, whining a lot, and loudly threatening to leave; apparently it would have gotten me seen a lot sooner, too!”

(Even besides me, there were very good odds that some of the other patients also had to get to work — no one was even asked. But we all acted like adults and dealt with it instead of making a loud fuss to skip ahead of others in line. The nurse and doctor just decided that since we didn’t throw up a fuss, it automatically meant our time was worthless compared to [Whiny Patient]’s, and could be taken away from us with no notice. [Whiny Patient]’s appointment was not quick in the least. By the time she left, and then they finished with the other patient ahead of me, I was called in a whopping hour and 42 minutes later than my scheduled appointment time. While [Doctor] seemed likable and competent in person — once I finally got to see her — I couldn’t help questioning both her character and her competency in my head through the entire appointment because of the unprofessional mess with the waiting room.  After leaving there, since they’d already ensured I would fully miss all my classes that day, I went straight up a couple of floors in the hospital, to the Member Services department– where they saw me very promptly, even with no appointment — and submitted a complaint face-to-face with a nice, attentive employee who typed up everything I told him. I made sure to tell him every detail, including the 1:40 wait time and the long-time patient who told me that the OBGYN office always operates this way. It’s been several years, and I have never gone back to that office.)

These Cents-less Arguments Are Just Baggage

, , , , | Right | July 7, 2018

(I work in a grocery store where we’ve been charging ten cents per plastic bag for two years now, which started as a reaction to a ban on plastic bags that was passed in my county. There has been some confusion as to whether the bag ban was put on hold, so my company decides to continue charging for them, just in case. We had a lot of backlash from customers over it when we started the policy, but most people by now have heard about the policy and bring their own bags. Apparently, though, this customer has heard about it and has some definite opinions on it.)

Me: “That’ll be $12.00. Did you want a plastic bag? They’re ten cents each.”

Customer: *mutters something that sounds like “yeah”*

Me: “All right, that comes to $12.10.”

Customer: “Wait, did you charge me for a bag?”

Me: “Yes, you said, ‘Yeah,’ right?”

Customer:No, I said, ‘Yeah, right!’*starts raising his voice* “And you know it’s illegal to charge me for a bag, right?”

Me: “We’re doing it because of this law that passed in the county—”

Customer: *interrupts, and is shouting in my face at this point* “NO, it’s not a law; it was just a ban! You have no idea what you’re talking about!”

(I am completely taken aback at this grown man, who is shouting and looking at me in SUCH a hateful way as if he thinks that I, a minimum-wage earning cashier, personally came up with the idea of charging ten cents per bag. It feels like his anger is personally directed at me.)

Me: *confused* “You know that I didn’t come up with this bag rule, right?”

Customer: “Well, you said it was a law! You’re wrong! And I’m never coming back! So you can just tell your manager that!”

(He walked out, and I stood there stunned and visibly shaking as the next customer in the long line put their items down and said, “I think you handled that very well!” Everyone in line had been watching and listening to this man scream at me over a ten-cent bag that he didn’t even need to pay for. I know that no one is obligated to stand up for me but… I can’t help feeling a little disgusted that not one customer in that line of 15 people said a word in my defence. I’ve stood up for employees who were being yelled at over something ridiculous. It seems like the decent thing to do when you see someone verbally abusing a person who clearly can’t speak their mind because they have to keep their job.)

Getting On Top Of Your Taxes

, , , , , , | Related | July 6, 2018

(There’s a little guy, maybe around 10 or 12, looking at some stuff on sale with his mum.)

Kid: “Look, Mum! Fifteen dollars! I can get it!”

Mum: “There’s tax on top of that.”

Kid: *picks it up and looks on top* “Where?”

She’s A Salty Cracker

, , , , , , | Right | July 5, 2018

(I do community service part-time for a local wildlife hospital. My job is mainly to clean bird cages and provide them with food, but I answer emergency phone calls when no one else is around to take them. Today, I’m about to clock out and we get a call. I accept the request to rescue a bird on the beach at the other side of town. It’s inconvenient, but rescues are usually more interesting than cleaning cages, so I accept. Halfway to the bird, I get a call back from the person who called the bird in.)

Caller: “Hello, uh, miss? I think someone’s trying to drown it.”

Me: “Maybe you should get them not to do that. I can’t give a bird CPR, and it’s not much of a rescue if it dies.”

(Ten minutes later, I got to the beach. A woman who was clearly a tourist had been dunking the poor bird in seawater because she thought it looked thirsty. While some birds actually can drink seawater without a problem, this was not one of those birds. The bird was still alive by the time I picked it up, but it was choking from the salt the whole way back to the rescue center.)

Unfiltered Story #116229

, , | Unfiltered | July 5, 2018

At a Louisiana-themed chicken and seafood joint enjoying some shrimp that’d I’d been craving most of the day

I’m the customer in this story, but I have worked a few different food service places over the last few years, so I know firsthand how aweful some people can be just for the sake of it. This day, I’d been craving shrimp like nobody’s business, so I scrounge together my tip money and buy myself a thing of popcorn shrimp and two biscuits. It’s a sit-in restaurant, so I also take my time, eating my shrimp and reading a book. Not too long after I’ve been given my food, this older lady walks in. She goes up to the counter and begins to place her order. At first, I’m not listening, but as she gets progressively louder and more-foul mouthed, I begin to listen. I listen to this woman for ten or so minutes as she berates the cashier, goes on about how tired she is, how she gave them a ten and isn’t getting her change (pretty sure she was pulling that “I gave you a ten, but actually gave them a five” nonsense), how she’s over fifty, how they’re all a bunch of screw-ups, the whole rude bit. Anyway, after ten minutes, I decide I’ve had enough and how I feel for these cashiers. Now, usually, I avoid confrontation, but the way this lady was treating those cashiers, I really just could not let it stand. So, I step in.*

Me: Excuse me ma’am, you really shouldn’t treat the cashiers like that. They’re doing their best.

Other customer: I expect prompt service and I’m tired from working all day.

Me: Ma’am, I understand, but we’re all tired. That doesn’t excuse cursing them out like that.

Other customer: At my job, if you mess up, you get written up and you get fired. I work at a warehouse and I’m fifty and who the h*** are you coming in here telling me how to act?!? What are you 17? I probably make more money than you!

Me: I’m 21, ma’am. And how much we make isn’t relevant in this. And I’m sure that the cashiers just made a mistake and they’re trying to do their jobs.

*at this point, another guy has just walked in and he almost immediately backs me up (we’re near the door and he can hear us quite plainly)*

Newcomer: Hey, we’re all tired, and I work warehousing too, but she’s right you shouldn’t treat the cashiers like that.

*At this point, the woman is fuming and simply calls me a rude name and slinks off to the soda machines. After a minute or two, she’s out the door and gone completely (she never got her food or anything). After she leaves, the guy who backed me up and I chat up a little and after waiting in line for a few more minutes, I apologize to the cashiers and tell them how they don’t deserve to be treated like that, before leaving.*

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