Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Is Patience Really A Virtue?

Patience is not always a virtue! There, I've said it. I am not referring to having patience with children, the elderly, friends, and family which is de rigeur. I am referring to having patience with people who waste our time by having no respect for it. For example, it seems to me that we spend more and more time waiting for people whom WE are paying to serve us (or we are paying the insurance premiums or the taxes which pay them). We are their clients, their patients, their customers; and yet they behave as if our time is not as valuable as their time. I am talking about doctors and dentists whose schedules are so overbooked that appointment times mean nothing. We make appointments, we arrive on time, and then we wait..........and we wait..........and we wait. If we kept them waiting they would just tell us we missed our appointment (and they would charge us for it because we didn't cancel it). I am also talking about service technicians, tradespeople, and anyone we ask to come to our homes to provide their service or to repair whatever is broken. We usually are told a day they will come, and if we are lucky perhaps they will give us a four-hour window of time during which we might expect to see them. For many people, four hours means one-half of a normal work day which in some cases can mean paychecks being docked accordingly in order to stay home and wait and wait and wait. They surely would not wait for us if we were late getting home to let them in sometime during that "window" of time. They would leave and feel justified in charging for a service call. In many cases, we are charged for their driving time to get to our homes in addition to a service call fee plus the time, labor and parts fees. I am writing this today because I am sick and tired of being kept waiting and being charged for it. Being on time is part of good customer service, and it is arrogant on the part of business people and professionals who habitually keep patients and clients waiting. Everyone can have an emergency occasionally but not daily. Keeping people waiting is disrespectful of them, their time, and their patronage. I used to have a personal rule that I would wait no longer than 15 minutes for anyone with whom I had made a specific appointment. I also would not wait longer than 15 minutes for anyone who made an appointment to meet with me because to do so meant that everyone else for the rest of the day would be kept waiting by me. In today's world my personal rules would mean not getting the health or dental care needed because waiting is required it seems. Bringing up children to be punctual and to be respectful of other people's time is a good thing. There, of course, can and will be times of exception due to circumstances beyond their control but the operative word is exception. Do the world a favor and instill good habits in your children, and if you are a person who keeps others waiting please turn over a new leaf and keep appointments on time. In these tight economic times business people and professionals should value their paying customers more than ever, and not wasting their time is the best way to show that appreciation. All comments are welcome whether you agree or disagree.

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