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About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 7

, , , , | Right | November 18, 2021

I’m sitting in the waiting room at my dentist’s office. I’m the only one there, so it’s quiet, and the receptionist is just a few meters away, so I can hear her clearly. I also can’t really tune out other people’s conversations, so when she picks up the phone, I can’t help but overhear the following conversation, or at least her part of it.

It appears the caller wants to cancel his appointment, which is in about three hours, but he’s not really happy with the office policies.

Receptionist: “[Dentist Office], how may I help you?”


Receptionist: “All right, sir, but because you are cancelling your appointment less than twenty-four hours in advance, we will have to bill you for the time.”

She’s not talking about applying a cancellation fee, which I’ve never heard a Dutch dentist apply, but apparently, this is a thing in some other countries; she just means the standard consultation fee which he would’ve been billed for anyway, and which his insurance will most likely cover.

Having health insurance is mandatory in the Netherlands, and people get an allowance from the government to help pay for it, so it’s not like she’s saying he’s going to lose more money than he would’ve otherwise.

There is a pause but with some irate muttering becoming audible even to me.

Receptionist: “Because we’ve scheduled an amount of time for you so the dentist can see you, and we can’t reschedule this on such short notice, so during what would be your appointment, the dentist can’t see other patients, meaning you still take up his time. That’s why we’ll still have to bill you for it. That’s just standard policy, sir.”

It sounds reasonable to me, but apparently not to the caller.

Receptionist: *More firmly now* “Yes, sir, we will bill you for it.”


Receptionist: *Starting to sound a little exasperated* “Because ‘I don’t feel like it’ is not a good enough excuse, sir.”

Longer pause.

Receptionist: “Yes, we will bill you for it.” *Short pause, like she’s cutting him off* “Yes, we will.”


Receptionist: *Suddenly a lot more cheerful* “All right, then, sir, so we will see you at three o’clock this afternoon? Okay, good, see you then. Have a nice day!”

She hangs up, bursts out laughing, and walks over to the open door nearby.

Receptionist: “Did you get that?”

Person In Other Room: *Also laughing* “Yes! Did he really want to cancel because he wasn’t in the mood?”

At that point, I was called up for my own appointment, so I left the receptionist laughing with her colleague. I was chuckling all afternoon, but I was also impressed with how deftly she handled that.

About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 6
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 5
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 4
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 3
About To Be Dis-Appointed, Part 2

You Catch More Room Service With Honey…

, , , , , , | Working | November 9, 2021

I work as a chef in a hotel restaurant. Our kitchen closes at 11:00, meaning that we do not take any new orders after that, even if the chefs are still there for another hour to do clean-up and prep for the next day. This includes room service unless it’s something cold that only needs to be assembled.

The two people working reception at night could not be any more different from each other. [Receptionist #1] is always friendly with everyone, chats with the kitchen staff and servers, and actually comes in earlier to say hello to all of us and check if there’s anything to be discussed. [Receptionist #2] probably doesn’t know a single one of our names and is only friendly and all smiles to guests coming in.

One day at 10:45, we get an intercom call from reception.

Receptionist #1: “I am so sorry to ask this, but we have a VIP guest who’s called to let us know he’ll be checking in late, around 11:15, and asked if he could order some room service ahead of time so he can eat when he gets to his room.”

Me: “Depends on what he wants. If it’s warm, we’d probably have to prepare it and reheat it once he comes in. Otherwise, everything’s available.”

Receptionist #1: “I’ll ask him. I told him I couldn’t guarantee anything yet until I talked to the kitchen. Thank you so much!”

He calls back at 10:55, saying that the guest is completely okay with reheating food — it’d cool down a bit until it gets to his room anyway — and would like to order two of our hot dishes. With five minutes to spare before actual closing, the other chef and I prepare the dishes and arrange them all on room service table settings so that the receptionist only has to pick them up from the microwave station, ready to go. He thanks us profusely again and the guest leaves a very positive review the next day.

Two days later, at 11:20, when we’ve finished all the cooking stations already, [Receptionist #2] calls and starts talking without so much as a hello.

Receptionist #2: “I have an order for room service, late check-in. It should be in your ticket system.”

Me: “Yeah, no, the system is shut off already; no tickets are coming through. The kitchen is closed.”

Receptionist #2: “What?! You made two dishes for [Receptionist #1] this week!”

Me: “Yep. Not only did he contact us before closing time, but he also asked us first if we could do something after closing and made sure not to order things without the kitchen giving him the go-ahead.”

Receptionist #2: “But I promised this guest he’d have his food!”

Me: “Then you get to call him back and explain that that’s not happening and offer him the cold dishes we can still make.”

[Receptionist #2] just hung up on me. Then, he called back fifteen minutes later — we were pretty much done with the entire kitchen by then — and sheepishly asked for one of the cold cuts plates with bread. Apparently, the guest he’d promised the food to worked in the gastro-business, as well, and definitely understood the kitchen’s complaints, because our restaurant manager came in two days later with a private review from him, telling us that we did nothing wrong even while [Receptionist #2] was still complaining to management about it.

Honestly, we could’ve probably found a work-around for [Receptionist #2], as well, and offered at least some of our hot dishes, but it’s all in how you ask.

Not The Warmest Reception

, , , , , | Working | November 9, 2021

I am in the process of getting ready to see a new ObGyn because I really do not like my current provider. Nervous as heck, I leave early for my appointment so that I arrive twenty minutes early. When I park, I see the sign that says to call to check-in. I call and talk to the receptionist, answer the screening questions, and double-check that I need a mask. Then, I head inside the building.

There is one person that goes into the office just ahead of me. I wait off to the side while they fill out their paperwork, and the receptionist calls my name. I fill out the paperwork, and she hands me a sticker sheet of labels with my information on it. I take my labels and go sit down.

Thirty minutes later, fifteen minutes past my appointment time, several other people have been and gone. I assume they’re seeing one of the other doctors. But there is one couple that has been waiting longer than me. They ask the receptionist what the delay might be. She makes some calls, and then about ten minutes later, they’re called into the back. At this point, my assumption is that we’re seeing the same doctor and that perhaps there was a delivery or something.

Thirty more minutes pass, and I still haven’t been called up. The couple from before leaves. Now I’m concerned. The receptionist has not checked in with me, and I tried to speak up, but my anxiety got the better of me. Finally, I get loud enough to ask what’s up.

Me: “Excuse me, but may I ask why the delay?”

Receptionist: “What was the last name again?”

Me: “[My Last Name]. I had a 2:15 appointment with [Doctor]?”

Receptionist: “Huh. Let me go check what’s going on.”

She goes to the back and comes back.

Receptionist: “Well, it looks like whoever checked you in didn’t do it all the way, so they didn’t even know you were here!”

At this point, I want to both cry and yell because SHE WAS THE ONE WHO CHECKED ME IN.

Receptionist: “Well, they know you’re here now, so let’s get your paperwork filled out.”

Me: “I already did it — the consent form and the contact form.”

Receptionist: “Oh, well, let me get you your labels.”

Me: “I already have them!”

I was dumbfounded. How do you just forget a person? The kicker is that we had definitely made eye contact more than once over that hour, but she never asked me what I was doing just hanging out there. She just let me sit there.

The good news is that I love my new doctor. I’m just going to be keeping an eye on the office staff… and be a little more assertive!

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 14

, , , , , , | Working | November 1, 2021

It’s not my job, but a customer has bought a specific piece of delicate scientific equipment and my boss asks if I would mind hand-delivering it. They book my train and I set off for the day, playing parcel delivery service.

I get to the reception area and the receptionist speaks without looking up.

Receptionist: “Take a seat.”

Me: “Oh, no, I don’t work here. I’m here to—”

Receptionist: “Take a seat, please.”

I sit down, a little annoyed. It’s been a long trip and it will be a long trip back. All I need to do is hand over the parcel. I wait and I wait in the empty reception… until I’ve had enough. I grab my phone and message my boss.

Me: “Hey, can someone message [Customer]? The receptionist has had me waiting for half an hour. There isn’t even anyone here.”

Boss: “Really? Okay, sure. I will call him now.”

Not long after:

Boss: “Okay, he is on his way.”

The customer arrives.

Customer: *To the receptionist* “Is anyone here to see me? As I mentioned, I have a very important delivery today.”

Receptionist: *Suddenly very sweet* “Oh, no, sorry. We have been rushed off our feet but no one has asked for you.”

Me: “I would have done, if you had actually spoken to me.”

Receptionist: “Well, you need to come to the counter for me to know you want to speak to me.” *Fake laughs*

Me: “I did half an hour ago; you sent me away.” *To the customer* “Here you are, sir. All your documents are inside. I will need one signature from you.”

Receptionist: “These delivery companies, they don’t know how to behave. I mean, sitting there, and then trying to blame me. I mean…”

Me: “I don’t work for a delivery company. I work for the supplier who is giving your company a very good discount on hardware that I understand you desperately need.”

Customer: “We do, and thank you again for taking time out of your busy day to bring this to us.”

Me: “My pleasure. If you will excuse me, I am already running very late.”

I left somewhat satisfied. We did get a call from a very senior member of the customer’s business later, and they apologised profusely and promised to never let it happen again.

A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 13
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 12
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 11
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 10
A Most Unreceptive Receptionist, Part 9

She Could Use A Change of Scenery

, , , , | Working | October 29, 2021

I have an appointment at the doctor’s, and since I haven’t been there before, I leave quite early. The building is located beside a twisting road — imagine a piece of string coiled around on the floor and you get a good idea of what it looks like — along with numerous car parks and a few other buildings scattered around. It is quite a difficult place to navigate, especially if you don’t know the area. I enter a formal-looking building beside the final car park. The entrance is very small, with only two or three padded chairs.

Me: “Hi, is this the clinic?”

Receptionist: “Yes. Take a seat.”

I do. I take my phone out and play with it. After fifteen minutes, the receptionist calls out again.

Receptionist: “This isn’t the clinic.”

Me: *Surprised* “Sorry?”

Receptionist: “Do you see any medical posters? Or a pristine, polished floor?”

She begins to act as if she’s speaking to a child.

Receptionist: “If you go out the door and up the road, and turn left, you’ll see a big, big sign that tells you where the clinic really is. Maybe you should learn to read.”

She went through a nearby door and I left the building. When I exited, I saw a giant green sign outside of the door stating that I had been inside of an accounting office. I followed the receptionist’s directions and found the clinic, where I barely made my appointment. I told the doctor about this and he said that a lot of people, sometimes up to five people a day, made the same mistake as I do, although this was the first time anyone had been lied to. When I visited the office again, I was told that the receptionist had a very complicated job and essentially had to sit and stare into space for hours on end or spend that time sitting at a shredder with absolutely nothing else to do. On top of several people a day coming to the office under the impression that it was the clinic, no wonder she snapped.