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What Does “Appointment” Mean To You?

, , , , | Right | February 28, 2022

I work as a vet, and I happened to overhear the receptionist dealing with what sounded like a brief but exasperating phone call. She recounted part of it to me afterward. It took place just before 9:00 am.

Client: “I’d like to book [Dog] in for vaccination today, please.”

Receptionist: “We’re nearly fully booked today; the only appointments I have available are 10:00 am and 4:30 pm. Do either of those work for you?”

Client: “Yes, I’ll take the 10:00 am appointment. But I need to do my grocery shopping first, so I won’t get there until closer to 10:30. That’ll be okay, right?”

Receptionist: “Uh, no. If you have a 10:00 am appointment, you need to be here at 10:00 am. The vet has other patients to see after that, and we will reschedule your appointment if you’re more than five minutes late. So you can either be here at 10:00, take the 4:30 pm appointment, or we get [Dog] booked in on another day. Which would you like?”

Client: “Oh… right. I’ll be there at 10:00.”

And she was. She did apologise after the receptionist gently explained that one client being late can often make the day go wrong in a bad way, and nothing further was said.

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