Customer service was not a priority in the old days for physicians. Like a pendulum, trends like this swing both ways and unfortunately to the extremes. In the old days, doctors were revered and you didn’t question them. I have had some bad interactions with physicians like this growing up (and even in my early days as a family doc myself) and it made me fear and despise a lot of them. They gave you an attitude and could be real asses. That has changed, thankfully. That same pendulum, unfortunately, has swung the other way. Now the customer/patient may have too much power. Heresy, you say! I know this is politically incorrect but it’s true. They can complain to your employer, which is more and more becoming a hospital who uses this information against you. They can complain too easily to the Board of Medicine who loves to meet quotas in how many doctors they discipline. They can screw you on the unproven satisfaction surveys. Yes, I know there are legitimate concerns out there by patients. I get that. But there are many patients who love this newfound power. I had been thinking about a way to explain this when I found this blog entry by Matt Walsh. I have to put the whole thing in here because it is too good:
I could have taken a picture of you and posted it here to publicly shame you, but I didn’t. That’s because I am not trying to be vindictive, ma’am. I’d merely like to answer that question you posed. This can be what the politicians call a “teachable moment” for you and everyone like you.
See, I was in line at that particular fast food establishment yesterday. You probably didn’t notice me — I assume you didn’t notice any of us from the way you blatantly barged to the front. I was about to tap you on the shoulder and politely explain how lines are supposed to work in a civilized society, but I could tell you were in the throes of an ungodly rage. I figured this must be an emergency. My God, you were practically foaming at the mouth. I thought maybe someone at the counter had killed your dog, or framed you for a murder you didn’t commit, or urinated in your oatmeal this morning. Obviously something serious was going on.
Then you suddenly screamed, “NO ketchup! I said NO ketchup!”
Okay, so maybe this wasn’t a dire situation. It was a condiment situation. Not exactly life or death, but close enough, I guess. The girl at the cash register looked confused. I don’t blame her, some irate middle aged woman just barreled in the door yelling about ketchup. She asked you for some clarification, which was reasonable, but apparently you didn’t think so.
“What’s wrong with you people?! I just sat in the drive thru for ten minutes and now I have to come in here because you guys can’t understand f*cking English! I ordered this burger with NO ketchup but of course I get it with gobs of ketchup. Unbelievable. This happens every f*cking time!”
Wait, it’s unbelievable yet it happens every time? Hmmm. And your ketchup specifications are this important to you yet you continually come to the one place in town that apparently has a ketchup obsession? There are literally six other fast food joints within a two mile radius, but here you are at the one place that screws up your order “every f*cking time.” Interesting. Logical thinking isn’t exactly your forte, is it?
The poor girl at the counter, who likely had no hand in this ketchup fiasco, offered to give you a new burger, plain and dry, just as you prefer. But that wasn’t good enough, was it? Their failure to obey your demands must be punished.
“No, I don’t want a new burger. Give me your name and the number to corporate. I’m sick of this sh*t. Give me my money back and the number to your corporate office! Why can’t I ever f*cking get good customer service?!”
And the exchange went on from there. You of course handled yourself like a woman of culture and dignity, while the fast food employee and her manager tried everything to find a remedy for the Tragic Ketchup Calamity. It ended with you promising to get them all fired as you stormed out. Then I finally had my turn at the counter. I ordered a burger. With extra ketchup.
Now, I replay this back to you because I realize you probably scream profanities at minimum wage customer service representatives every time you run an errand or grab a bite to eat, so you might not recall the specifics of this one incident. And that brings us to the possible answer to that query you posed in the midst of your ketchup rant. You asked: “Why can’t I ever f*cking get good customer service?” Well, ma’am, that might have something to do with you being a vulgar, miserable, malicious person. Maybe you get bad customer service because you’re a bad customer. Did you ever consider that possibility?
I get it. “You’re the customer so you’re always right.” They work here so they have to bend over backwards for you “because that’s their job.” Well, you’re partially correct about that. Yes, you are a customer and, yes, they do work here. But it’s actually not their job to deal with psychopaths. They aren’t hostage negotiators, they’re fast food workers. And even if the powers that be at these corporate chains push this “customer is always right” crap because they’ve decided it’s good business to placate horrible jerks, in the real world, outside the land of plastic chairs and soda fountains, adults who throw temper tantrums in public are never right about anything.
I’m sure some people might take your side. They might come to your defense by telling their own horror stories about all the times when customer service has failed to live up to their standards. Those folks are under the same delusion as you. They think their hallowed “customer” status somehow gives them the right to treat everyone with a uniform and a name tag like garbage. They think their past encounters with sub-par service makes it acceptable for them to fly off the handle about ketchup every once in a while. They think the rules of basic decency and respect come second when they are The Customer. And they’re wrong.
Do you ever wonder why we have so many atrocious politicians in Washington? Well, you shouldn’t wonder. Just look in the mirror. Bad politicians are generally bad because they can’t handle power. It goes right to their head and they become narcissistic, petty, controlling sociopaths. But at least it’s a lot of power so the temptation to be corrupted by it is almost understandable. You, on the other hand, become a maniacal tyrant when society hands you temporary and meaningless power over 17-year-old fast food cashiers. I shudder to think what you’d do if you had an army at your disposal.
We all get a little unwanted ketchup every now and again, and we are all expected to handle it like mature and decent adults. Some of us manage to make it through our whole lives without ever feeling the need to berate restaurant or retail employees over some small and fixable mistake. Other folks, such as yourself, seem to get into a customer service Battle Royale every time they step outside their house. Maybe it’s because the universe is against you guys. Or maybe — just maybe — it’s because you behave like selfish obnoxious bullies.
Just something to think about.
Oh, and I’m betting you actually forgot to say “no ketchup” when you placed your original order. Wouldn’t that be a totally expected twist to this captivating saga?
Has anyone else seen this person come through your medical office?