Why are we waiting?

Posted 11/7/22

Have you ever spent time sitting in the office of a doctor or dentist or auto repairman and wondered why your time is less important than their time?

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Why are we waiting?


OKEECHOBEE — Have you ever spent time sitting in the office of a doctor or dentist or auto repairman and wondered why your time is less important than their time? Has it always been the case that the rest of the world gives up their time waiting for certain services? What makes a service something people are willing to wait for?

We commonly wait for people who practice certain professions but would never consider waiting for others. Imagine if your children’s schoolteachers showed up sometime that day, usually within an hour of the scheduled time but not always. What if you went out to lunch during your break and were not seated for two or three hours? Would you wait if your hair salon regularly kept you waiting 45 minutes past your appointment time? What about your accountants? Would you find nothing wrong with taking a couple hours off work to go sit in their office until they are free to see you? How about music lessons? Is it OK for those teachers to keep you waiting?

Most people would not sit and wait. They would be very upset if their children’s teacher did not show up for school on time or their hairdresser kept them waiting. And so on and so on and so on.

So, why do people put up with it when it comes to some professions but not others? Is it because those professions are a necessity? Teachers are a necessity, but if they showed up at a different time every day, they would be fired.

Is it because those appointments are harder to put a time limit on? When a doctor or dentist’s office schedules a 15-minute visit, but the patient ends up needing 20, should the doctor say, “Our time is up,” as a psychologist might? Whose fault is it when an appointment runs over? The doctor? The doctor’s staff? The patient?

A man said he once visited a doctor who cut him off mid-speech and said, “You only get 10 minutes. Make them count.” The patient was highly offended. Would you be offended, or would you prefer knowing when it was time for your appointment, you would walk in and get taken care of and walk out?

Are these offices so often behind schedule because they try to schedule too many people in a day? Is it because they squeeze in people who woke up sick that morning and couldn’t schedule ahead? Why do some offices seem more organized than others? Is it the office manager?

Although we might make some excuses for those in the health field, auto repair shops are not the same. Why are we waiting for those services? Is it really that difficult to figure out how long an oil change will take and schedule accordingly?

Are there solutions for this problem, or are we just destined to be held hostage to the schedule of others?