I have nothing against salesmen; I suppose they serve a function. Even the annoying ones who come into the dental office to offer me special deals on noisemaking devices from Spencer Gifts. Though I have to say: who the hell thinks that sending door-to-door salesmen into a shopping center – and a medical office to boot – is a good idea?
No, what I resent is the sales man who wishes to draw out the conversation, to wear you down, to “get to yes”, as they learned from the Power Point presentations before they were unleashed on the world. Possibly my favorite salesman cliche, which is parroted up to counter the statement that their wares cannot be afforded, is “But how can you afford not to use this?” which is the stupidest thing I can think of right now, and I listen to Rush Limbaugh unwillingly during my lunch drive home (A pox on Clear Channel, too, while I’m at it).
But still. I suppose they serve some function.
Though I can’t say I actually enjoy the Hated Job yet, the vitamins have helped me cope with it better. Until Thursday, anyway. Generally, I can count on the first hour to be unmitigated hell, as everybody who “didn’t want to bother the doctor” calls and insists on bothering him at once, the doctor lays out the things he needs done right now, and the other usual things I try to get done to make things run smoothly.
Then I proceed to do other things (to make the day run smoothly), and have a fair shot at it until 11:00am, the hour before our lunch, when other people are getting off for lunch, and so feel they are at liberty to call and badger me. Thursday was a honey. I get a call from a Whiner (who is not so much a person as an archetype). I have to endure a droning soap opera until I finally get to the point of her call, that she has an appointment in a couple of weeks but a problem that she did not feel important enough to bother the doctor with during her exam last month is now painful. Luckily, this is between appointments, so I scrape her off on the doctor who, unlike me, has actual medical training (a distinction lost on most people who call the office).
It is finally decided to send her off to a specialist. I then get to spend five minutes prying the name of her pharmacy out of her (but not the phone number – a gesund on people who can provide that to me), and explaining to her that a weeks worth of antibiotics and pain medication is not a substitute for the specialist, since if she forgoes that option, we will be having the same conversation in a month, and I will be far less sympathetic then (and at this point, what a friend once referred to as my “give-a-shit” level was very low, indeed). I also use my last stores of patience to explain that I not only do not make appointments for other offices, but have no earthly concept of their fee schedules.
She uses a Walmart, a newer Walmart somewhat out of the area, and therefore not one on the index cards I keep for pharmacy numbers. The Internet is down, so I use the antique Web, ie the yellow pages, and finally resort to calling one of the Walmarts on the same street she has given me, in the hopes that they would have the proper number. Thankfully, the exhausted-sounding lady (I feel for ya, sister) at the first one has the number I need, and I’m on my way to closing that particular case, Watson.
Except that this is one of the Walmart Neighborhood Stores that does not believe in answering their phone. Finally, on the 20th ring, someone in the Photo Developing department gets tired of hearing it and answers, then promises to transfer me to the pharmacy. After a veritable United Nations of voices pick up the line over the course of ten minutes, each promising me, my next stop will be the pharmacy, the Pharmacist Eventually answers the phone, and my blood runs cold as she puts me on hold. She comes back fairly quickly, though, and I finally close the case on the Whiner (for the moment).
Concurrently with all that, another patient calls to cancel her appointment in a couple of hours, and serves up attitude when she discovers we are booked up until the first of next month: “I can’t wait that long!” (The best possible answers, Then don’t freaking cancel an appointment you’ve known about for a month, or Cry me a damn river are not options, for some reason),
Concurrently with all that, the doctor’s wife calls to ask what time we’re getting out that evening. We have already scheduled one emergency for the end of the day, and it is not yet noon; we don’t know what we’ll be doing for the one emeergency we know about. This is a well-traveled road betwixt her and myself, and for the umpteenth time I tell her I have no idea and am not likely to have one. I am told later I was not especially friendly. Gosh, you think?
So. It is now noon. I am trying to get several pages of paperwork faxed to a county office for an autistic patient we had seen that morning. Admittedly, we had 24 hours to do that, but I really don’t like to leave things hanging. Then it happens.
The phone rings.
It’s some guy wanting to sell us basketball tickets at a dental employee discount.
I’m not a sports fan, and neither is the assistant. The doctor likes football and golf. I explained this, said thank you but no thanks, good luck. And then it began. The getting to yes. The questioning, the drawing out, the looking for a hook to get his sale.
Like I said, these guys serve a purpose.
Hello sacrificial lamb.
The phone still bears scars of my invective, but I felt much better and really enjoyed my lunch.