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Pet Peeve #12 :Why the Wait?

How long is too long to be kept waiting?

As a person who likes instant gratification (I mean, really, who doesn’t like this?), I don’t always have the most patience when it comes to waiting.

Sometimes I do a pretty good job of waiting, and when I know I have appointments that will have a wait time, I come prepared with a book or project to distract me from the ticking clock.

Earlier this week, I had an appointment at a body shop to look at my car, and since the shop is owned by a family friend in my hometown, I figured it would be a good idea to schedule a doctor’s appointment that I had been putting off, mainly because my doctor is located in that same town and the timing never seems to work out when I know I’ll be nearby and can make an appointment. Usually, the office is closed for the day when I’m heading that way, or I have too many other things going on and it just doesn’t fit into my schedule.

Knowing that I had nothing else planned for the rest of the day after the car appointment, I called and made my appointment for the next available time. Not having much else to do, I arrived a little early because I knew I would have some paperwork to fill out as it had been a while since my last visit.

At first, it seemed like my trip was going to be a breeze, as there were hardly any patients in the waiting room, and my name was at the top of the list of who was next. I pulled out my phone to pass the time, and was half paying attention to the show playing on the waiting room television.

It wasn’t until I realized I’d been sitting there for an hour-long talk show and a half hour news segment that I started to get annoyed about being kept waiting so long.

Instead of standing up and asking the receptionist what the hold up was, I decided to give them another few minutes before saying anything.

The receptionist must have noticed that I was unhappy, especially since several other patients had arrived after me and were called first, and initiated a conversation trying to explain  the delay. Since the doorway to communication was open, I may have shared my displeased opinion in a way I’m not exactly proud of, but I think it was a little bit deserved, because my total wait time before even going into the exam room (where I was kept waiting about 15 minutes longer) was 119 minutes– just shy of two hours.

I realize doctors are busy people,  and that appointments can unexpectedly run longer than planned, but to be kept waiting without anything more than a flimsy explanation for the delay is just unacceptable to me.

I’m not sure how the system can be changed with doctors’ offices to reduce the stressful waiting time for patients, but I’d be extremely happy if it did.

Maybe I was in the wrong for saying anything, and the two-hour wait is perfectly normal and acceptable to everyone else in the world. I’d love to hear some feedback on this one about what the “acceptable” amount of time to be kept waiting at a place such as a doctor’s office should be. Also, if you’ve ever expressed an opinion when kept waiting for an extended amount of time.

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