Ruth Haag
Jan 7, 2014


Waiting – Take 1

You arrive for an appointment and the person you are meeting is on the telephone. They wave you into the office. You go in, and sit in front of their desk and listen to them talk, feeling uncomfortable. You are uncomfortable both because you have to wait, and because you seem to be eavesdropping on their call.

Finally, they start to make apologetic motions, but they continue the conversation. You begin to get irritated, because you had an appointment and they should not have taken the call in the first place. By the time they hang up you are pretty hostile. The meeting goes poorly. You leave, and you spend the rest of the day irritated.

If this kind of thing is going to happen, why not enjoy the process?

Waiting – Take 2

You arrive for an appointment and the person you are meeting is on the telephone. They wave you in, but you happily smile and shake your head no, with a look that says “I couldn’t interrupt.” Then you STAND outside their door so that they can see you, but you look the other way so that they can’t motion you in again. Others in the office begin to get embarrassed, and offer you a chair, but you refuse and continue to stand. You keep a happy expression on your face. Either the person you have an appointment with will hurriedly finish up their telephone call and apologize, or someone in the office will go and force them to finish up and see you.

You have won the positioning battle. You cheerfully stood and made everyone else uncomfortable. The person will not be on the telephone the next time you have a meeting.

Waiting – Take 3

You know from experience that the person you have an appointment with will make you wait; for example, they are a medical service provider. A few hours before your appointment you call their office and ask if they are running on schedule or not. You, with a happy sound to your voice, explain that you have had to wait a long time during past visits and you would rather wait at home or at your office, where you have important work to do. The flustered reception person then attempts to determine if they are running on schedule. You suggest that you could call an hour ahead and check again. You call an hour ahead, and either agree with the reception person that you will be seen on schedule, or that you should wait a half hour before coming in.

When you arrive, you check again if you will be seen on schedule. If there is by chance a policy that if you are late they will charge you, you use this to your advantage. You politely (remember to always be happy and polite) mention that you have noticed their policy that you will be charged if you are late for your appointment. You explain that your time is valuable also, and ask what the payment will be to you if they are late for your appointment. Of course, they will bluster and explain that they are not going to pay you.

You are then ushered into the appointment. Next time, you will be ushered into your appointment when you arrive.

Waiting – Conclusion

The key to handling these waiting scenarios is to not get angry, while still maintaining your own feeling of self-worth. Try it, you will be given plenty of opportunities, and it’s fun!



I personally couldn't "wait" to get to the end of that boring article- in fact I was so bored I skipped the last paragraph- let me know if I missed anything. I'll be waiting...


You didn't miss a thing. It was all BS.

JMOP's picture


Raoul Duke

The waiting, is the hardest part~Tom Petty


I always like the fact that in some doctors offices, they will charge you for a missed appointment or procedure. People should get used to waiting for an appointment because Obama Care will make matters worse. You will be lucky to even see a doctor. Getting crabby about the wait will result in the doctor discharging you because he is seeing way too many patients and could care less about your complaint.


Waiting longer to see a doctor sure beats 30 million people not getting to see a doctor EVER. I'm an unselfish person, and am willing to wait longer in the doctor's office, if it means a stranger or 2 get to see a family doc in time to apply preventative medicine. Without Obamacare, that same 2 strangers wouldn't see a doc until their medical situation turned acute, at which time they would go to the ER, the most expensive way to provide health care. And, of course, their ER costs would be passed along to those of us who DO have health insurance, in the form of higher premiums. Before Obamacare, Each of us paid many hundreds of $$$ out of pocket each year to subsidize the uninsured.

If there temporarily aren't enough docs, that doesn't worry me. That just means there is a need for more docs, hence more job openings for docs, and as a result, more people will go into that field. If we want to call ourselves the best country in the world, then we need to do what all other first-world countries do: provide health care for all of our citizens.


The article is called "For thinking people" Not "Let's regurgitate progressive rhetoric". You and your type have kicked over 5 million off their insurance plans and the worst will be yet to come. But lets face it you want everyone to stand in line just like the jolly old USSR.


Waiting protocol? It depends . . .

Doctor's: We have all come to expect having to wait when we visit a Doctor. In the last 7 years the only time I've made a Dr's appointment, thankfully, is for my yearly checkup. Still, I bring a book or my laptop computer with me. I understand how Dr's can have emergency situations they must attend to. I prepare for the wait. It's amazing how quickly the time flies by when I'm reading or working.

Work: If the appointment is with my management, should they not be immediately available, I'll continue working while sitting in the meeting room. If the meeting is with a peer, if they don't show up in the meeting room within 10 minutes of the appointment meeting start time, I either send an email, an Instant Message or phone. If they don't immediately respond with, "I'm on my way", I'll write an email stating we'll need to reschedule. If the meeting is with someone I manage, they know the rule I've made very clear in terms of meetings: "To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, to be late is to be left." It's rare someone on my team will be late, and it usually only happens once.

Home: If I have an appointment with, say, a Contractor, I make it very clear beforehand that my time is as valuable as theirs and if they know they're going to be late I request they please phone at least 1 hour previous to our scheduled appointment. I've had e instances where a Contractor didn't arrive within 15 minutes of the scheduled time and didn't phone ahead of time, so I either left the house or wouldn't answer the door. When they then phoned asking why I "blew them off", I'd politely inform them I had waited 15 minutes past the appointed hour, they had not provided a courtesy call, and therefore I assumed they were not interested in securing business from me. In all 3 cases, the Contractors made sarcastic remarks about how I wasted their time in them having to drive out to my house and I didn't wait for them, etc. I again politely told them I was available for the appointment at the agreed-to hour, I waited a reasonable amount of time, and my time was just as valuable as theirs. I then hung up.

Personal friends/family: There's never a problem because whoever's going to be late calls in advance and forewarns.

For me there's no "one size fits all"...it's situational.

JMOP's picture

Your response was as long as the article. Were you waiting to see a doctor? Hehe...


THAT was good! :)


If you don't want to wait to see your doctor, pay out of your pocket for private doctor services. Otherwise, you receive the same level of care as everyone else.

Medicine is not a perfect science, and patient needs are not predictable. Something tells me if Mrs. Haag's exam was interrupted and told by her doctor that he/she has to stay on schedule; she'd be furious and feel that people in the waiting room ought to wait for her. What arrogance!


@Ruth Haag, what event prompted this column? You having to wait or you observing how others responded to waiting?

Ruth Haag

Greetings all:

I think this comment stream got a little off track. I was not talking about Obamacare, or doctor's offices particularly. Rather I was observing that some people keep others waiting, and they really shouldn't. So if you value your time these are some fun tricks that help solve the problem.

I have been thinking about writing that Obamacare causes global warming and then seeing what the comments would be!


Well, with all of the hot air spewed by the White House in connection with Obamacare, you might actually be able to make THAT case...

As for the waiting game, well, it's true that wasting other people's time is no different than taking other people's money. But many businesses, including those involving the most in depth and personal service (like doctor's offices) tend to get behind as the day goes on. That's not a waste of waiting patients' time, but rather a VALUE for the time (and the problems) of those patients being served!

Some of your ideas are amusing. But most of them are also inexcusably rude. Suggesting you smile or sound happy when you say these things changes nothing.

The only inexcusable theft of others' time is being late for appointments without a VERY good reason, whether they be of a business or a personal nature.


Ruth, keep on typing your articles and some of us will reply with intelligent, non-partisan replies. Others "need not apply".