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Wasting Time Moaning About Time Wasted

, , , | Right | July 7, 2021

I work the front desk of my doctor’s office, which usually takes three or four office admin, but we’ve been short-staffed to two for the past month.

My coworker is called out on an emergency one day, leaving me alone to run check-in which is usually done by phones, checkout, phones, and billing. As such, I try to answer phones between patients, but I have had to put most of them on hold.

One lady stands in line watching me while she’s on her phone.

Me: “Yes, ma’am. Checking in or out?” 

Woman: *Hanging her phone up* “I wondered how fast you’d get to me on the phone if I didn’t come in to check in.”

Me: “I do apologize for that, ma’am. I’m the only one working the front desk this afternoon.”

Woman: “You should have notified people of that, then.”

Me: “Again, I apologize. My coworker was called out due to a family emergency.”

Woman: “I sat out there for twenty minutes and couldn’t get through. You could have just told me beforehand to come on in, you know. I was on hold for ten minutes and you never picked up.”

She was on hold for three minutes, but I agree it was too long a wait.

Me: “Yes, ma’am. And your name?”

Woman: “You wasted my time and almost made me late for my appointment. I hope I don’t have to wait long for the doctor now.”

Me: “You are third in waiting. What’s your name?”

Woman: “[Woman]. How long am I going to have to wait now?”

Me: “I can’t give you an exact time, ma’am, and I do apologize again for the delay.”

Woman: “Next time, answer the phones.”

The woman behind her speaks up to her daughter.

Woman #2: “Imagine being so self-centered that you waste other people’s time complaining about your own time being wasted because the office worker is having to do everything on her own. How sad.”

The patient in front of me turned red and went back outside. I assume it was to sit in her car until a nurse called her. Apparently, she drove off because we embarrassed her.