Saturday, April 6, 2013

Bring back Miss Manners!

I have children, and one thing I try to impress on them is how very important it is to be respectful of other people's time. I teach them that they should not be late for school, for example, because it is disrespectful to the teacher and the classmates, who are either wasting valuable time waiting for them, or wasting time repeating something they have already gone over. My kids seem to have internalized this message and they are pretty good about making sure they are ready to go places on time now.

I wonder if other people's mothers and fathers do not teach their children this lesson, or if more people just really are that selfish these days....

I'm writing this on a Saturday night. I don't spend Saturday mornings with my family. I spend them with my patients, because I know how many of their owners are simply not able to take time off from work to get here during the week, and I want these pets to receive care. There are of course a finite number of these Saturday appointments. I'm not giving up my entire weekend with my children and spouse!

The 9:00 AM appointment today was for a "new puppy, 8 wk old pit bull." I was pretty excited to see it. But at 9:15, my receptionist decided to call the owner. Here's how that went down:

Receptionist: Hi, this is Katie at VBB Animal Hospital. We had an appointment for NewPup down for 9 AM today, were you planning to come in or...?
Owner: Oh. I thought that appointment was for 11 AM.
R: No, we had that down for 9 AM. Would you like me to reschedule it for 11 AM? That slot happens to be open.
O: No, I'm not sure yet if we are actually coming in at all. I'll call you back if I want the 11 AM, otherwise, just forget it.
R: OK, well, if you do want it, please call, or if you'd like to make an appointment for another day, that's fine too. Thanks anyway! Bye.

Really? I would be so very disappointed in my children if they treated someone this way. It's just the height of rudeness and so disrespectful, not only of my time, but the other patients who could have had that appointment at 9 today...


  1. It's incredibly rude. We are open 4 hours on a Saturday, and a client scheduled an appointment for 6 kittens. We blocked off an hour of time for her, and then she no showed. When our receptionist called to ask where the F she was, she didn't answer. A whole hour wasted.

  2. I've worked every Saturday (except for the 2 when I am really on vacation) since I started in this profession in 1983. Nothing really changes. The appointments made for the first hour and a half and for the last hour the hospital is open, especially the ones the client insisted they HAD to have because no other time would work, have a 68% chance of never making it in for one reason or another. But that's sort of okay because it gives you time for the walk-in emergencies. You know, the ones that have been impatiently waiting in your parking lot for the past 2 hours (while the actual emergency clinic is only 15 minutes away) and the ones that have been sick since Tuesday evening and are finally brought in 20 minutes before you close on Saturday, the sweet aroma of pancakes, syrup and freshly brewed coffee lingering heavily around the "distraught" owners.

  3. Similar BS happened yesterday with a new patient at my office. Wanted to throttle them.

  4. The most frustrating for me has been on an after-hours ER service. We explicitly tell people "we're waking up the doctor at home to come see your pet", and sometimes they still don't show. When you call, it's "oh, decided not to come in, should I have called?". Makes me daydream of an answering service that gets a credit card number before even bothering the doctor!