Sunday, December 20, 2009


How long is tolerable to wait on hold for someone to come to the phone? I think probably everyone has his or her own time frame, but an article in the paper this morning said in an informal poll, as long as there was music playing while holding, the bulk of the people questioned said 15 minutes was at the far end of the tolerable to intolerable juncture. I was surprised that in this day and age anyone would find 15 minutes of waiting acceptable. Now having said that, I must 'fess up to being on hold that long when I call to make a doctor appointment. Not waiting is like shooting yourself in the foot.

My tolerance level for waiting on hold is probably 5 minutes, unless country music is playing, in which case I hang up immediately.

I have never been a very good wait-er. Jerry is a good influence on me. He doesn't ever try to fight the system -- if it takes ten minutes, well, just relax; you'll get there when you get there. He also has a slow tempo to his life -- he walks slowly, acts slowly and sometimes thinks slowly (no offense meant). He has helped me be more patient when I wait in line.

When I lived in Istanbul and dealt with the postal service there, I swore I would never again gripe about the United States post office, or their lines, or their service. To date I haven't, though on occasion I have been mightily tempted.

I think what irks me the most about waiting is when I call someone and then they put me on hold while they take another phone call -- that irritating "call waiting" feature that so many of the younger people have. And a corollary to that is standing at a counter in the middle of a transaction and having the salesperson take a phone call and then deal with that person while I wait. Yes, that is the most irritating! I am always mentally picturing myself taking the goods, gathering my purse and marching away, leaving the salesperson stuck on the phone with the person who interrupted me. Of course I never do, because I don't make scenes, but I always run that scenario through my brain when it happens.

I don't fuss at standing in a long line at a grocery store, unless the cashier and the box person are having a chat about last night's date, which slows down the movement of the line.

One time I went through a checkout stand somewhere - maybe at a drug store - and since there was nobody in line behind me, I was digging in my coin purse to get the right amount of change. The cashier, a man, took my change and said, "I hate it when you pickers hold everything up while you hunt for nickels and dimes." I would have liked to punch him in the snoot right there on the spot; instead I wrote a letter to the manager regarding his nasty attitude. However, it affected me so that now I never, ever try to get the right change, and when I see someone doing it I think, "Look how that picker is slowing everybody down." I always feel ashamed of myself but it happens, I admit it. Old people are particularly bad and when I get old I hope I don't do that!

(P. S. I am old, but I don't admit to it yet!)

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