Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Defense Of Competence

As you may or may not remember, I spend a lot of time at my dentist's office. A. Lot. Of. Time. I am there, on average, at the very least, twice a month. Most months more. I used to be there every day thanx to my testimonial video that played in the waiting room {I got paid not only a Tim Horton's coupon but also a free teeth-whitening session ~ I know you're jealous!} but the staff no longer play the 25 minutes interview in a desperate attempt to save their sanity. One friend, while in the waiting room enjoying my dulcet tones on the video, overheard an elderly lady say, "All right! That's enough of her, now!"

Because of the nature of the work that I am getting done to fix up my jaw problems, {review the whole 5-part saga here, here, here, here, and here} sometimes I need an appointment on short notice. Sometimes, as my jaw is adjusting to the new fit, to the new topography of the orthotic, I experience pain & discomfort in my jaw joints. For a week in January, I had cut down on talking to decrease the use of the joints in an attempt to minimize the pain. Puffy was ecstatic. I was not.

This morning, I decided that a week was enough time to see if things were going to settle down, & I phoned for an appointment. I already have an appointment for the 23rd, but that is too long to wait when chewing, yawning, & talking hurt, when laying on your side requires an elaborate arrangement of pillows, hands, & other paraphernalia to provide support & relief to my jaw in sufficient amounts, enabling me to actually sleep without fear of something bad happening in the night.

Now in general, I like all the people who work in my dentist's office. They are a friendly, kind, helpful bunch who recognize me on sight {as well they should ~ having seen my mug on their video screen for months, & months, & months} & who are very good at their jobs. Generally. Currently, there are two receptionists. One is a qualified, capable person who does a remarkable job. The other.... not so much.

She is young, inexperienced, & ~ I don't want to say stupid out loud on the internets, but ... ~ she, um, comes across as not having all her oars in the water. She also has this annoying voice that just drives me {up a wall, around the bend, to a funny farm, pick your term}.

I knew as soon as I heard her voice on the phone that I should just ask to speak to the other girl. The other girl is sympathetic to my pain, understands the urgency of my request, & makes sure she has all the facts to assist me {where is the pain, how bad, what days am I not available}. I knew. But, I didn't. So, she said to me, the young one, "But we already have an appointment booked for you." to which I replied, "Yes, I know. But I need one before that." Then she fiddle-farted around, sounding all unsure & incompetent, which made me strident & impatient. Just do your job! Talk to your boss & find me facking appointment!

How hard is it to be a receptionist? I'm seriously asking. How hard? You answer the phone, make appointments, & try to help clients with their requests. I've done it. It was a pretty easy peasy job ~ aside from the fact that my boss was an absolute dick to work for ~ & it only took me about a week to train. This one, this incompetent annoying one, she has worked there much longer than a week. Much, much longer.

On that note, how hard is it to work at a convenience store? For reals, how hard? Good starter job for a high school student. Pretty easy peasy. I've done that, too ~ most of the time hung-over. & yet, every time I walk into that store downtown, I am struck by the sheer incompetence of the evening staff.

I'm not that difficult to please. I'm really not. You know what I want? Prompt, courteous, knowledgeable service. Is that asking too much? Is doing your job well no longer something to strive for? When did incompetence become the norm?

I am trying hard not to be an ageist. I am. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Most days. But the older I get, the less patience I have for the youth. The older I get, the more incompetent they become. The older I get, the less pride the youth seem to take in doing their job well, or at all.

The older I get, the more I resemble my mother.


Fairy Mae said...

ew...ouch...well, did you get in?
Oh and by the way I have tagged you on what you did this time last year.

Wilma said...

Yeah, the defective one has still not called me back. I anticipate having to call again later today & talk to someone with a working brain.

french panic said...

aaaaaackkkkk! I was feeling your pain... and then the zinger at the end = gut punch. I often feel like my mother. AND I DON'T LIKE IT!!!