“I’d Like to Order a Number 3 Without the Attitude, Please”

Does it seem to you as if every business you walk into seems to expect you to have memorized their schedule/menu/policies/rewards program and so on? When did all this hurry-hurry/rush-rush happen? It’s not like the businesses are going to cut their hours if their customers aren’t on the phone or physically in the building.

Example: this morning I went to our local Drugs R Us store to refill a *med for our cat, Pepper. While there, I picked up the paper, some beauty sundries, a birthday card and a bag of cashews. When my name was called to pick up the med, I was asked if I had a rewards card. I did, and said that I would just add the med along with my other stuff and pay for it all at the counter in front. I felt I was being courteous of the pharmacist’s time by doing so.

He snapped, “If you have a rewards card, TYPE IN YOUR PHONE NUMBER SO THAT I CAN ADD ALL THIS UP.”

I said, “O-K, I just thought it would save you time if I paid for everything up front–”

He snapped (louder this time): “No, you can’t do that. You HAVE to pay for medications HERE–NO EXCEPTIONS.”

I said, “Why sure–I’ll be glad to. I didn’t know about this pharmacy’s policy about that and certainly will remember this for the next time.”

He sniffed dismissively as if to say ‘well, you damn well better’ and crammed everything into what I felt was too small a bag for everything. But since he was so obviously out of sorts I paid up and fumblingly stuffed the paper into the bag along with the other stuff and left.

Now, really–how was I supposed to know that? The place I go to pick up and meds of my own allows you to pay for everything, including the meds, at the counter at the front of the store. I even looked for a sign near the pharmacy saying, “PLEASE PAY FOR YOUR MEDICATIONS HERE–NOT AT THE FRONT COUNTER.” But, no.

This is similar to restaurants of the not-a-drive-up-fast-food-establishment-as-such. If there is a short line, I read the menu as fast as I can, and still when I get up to the front, they want me to blurt out my order rapid-fire. I often say, “Gosh, I’m sorry, but I haven’t memorized your menu yet.” Then on the way out, I grab a take-out menu so that I can study it at home so that I can parrot out what I want next time in a nano-second.

In the fast-food drive-ups, there is one that happens to have excellent (and cheap) coffee. I usually drive up for one on my way to work; it’s easy enough to order: “Small black coffee.” When it gets shoved into my hand at the window, the person always says the same thing to me: “Haggaday.” Translation: “Have a good day.”

The worst example of hurry-hurry/rush-rush happens when trying to reach a human on the phone at a doctor’s office. The well-modulated voice of the recording outlines what number to press for this, that or the other thing. However, I usually just want to speak with an actual human, generally because none of the options direct me to what I want–a human on the other end of the phone.

One time I tried pressing “0” hoping to get a person. I got an extremely harried-sounding woman who told me to use the voice menu and hung up before I could say a word. Again, none of the choices worked for me–all I wanted was to find out why my medication had not been refilled (the pharmacy had shrugged its collective shoulders and told me to ask the doctor). So, I pressed “0” again. The same woman answered, and I said, “Can I just find out if–” and that’s as far as I got before she said, “I TOLD YOU TO USE THE VOICE MENU!” and hung up.

To all of the no doubt under-paid and under-valued folk who man the phones, take fast food orders, stand on aching feet behind the counter at restaurants and who handle our medications–you have my respect and sympathy. It has to be aggravating to have to explain the same things over and over again. But please take a moment to consider this: we customers do not know your practices and polices by heart. Chances are that we only call or show up once in a while, and we certainly don’t want to cause you trouble. While we understand that you deal with people like us every day, we would kindly appreciate a little less attitude.

*Written on label of this particular med: “For Pepper Cat. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking this medication.”

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