Monday, 15 September 2008


I tend to be growing more and more impatient.  I don't know if it's an age thing, or if it's down to the medication I'm on for Crohn's. (It certainly WAS the medication when I first started to take it - the steroids made me aggressive and short tempered.)

I don't mean impatient with my wife's condition or my own - though these must surely be contributory factors - I mean an overall and very general impatience with everyday life.

Take automated telephone systems for example - I was always the one who had the patience of Job with these things - now I listen to the first message and if it doesn't have the phrase "Or to speak to an operator press the hash key." I hang up. A few years back I'd have gone for the option most closely associated with my query and then found myself lost in a telecommunications nightmare maze - but I'd have navigated my way out of it.  My doctor's surgery has recently decided that all calls into it have to be greeted by such an automated system -  with the only option being to speak to one of the receptionists!! I mean what is the point?? So now when I call the doctors for an appointment I'm greeted by a recorded message which must've been made by a drunk or heavily sedated receptionist who says:

"T h a n k   y o u  f o r  c a l l i n g   C*******  H e a l t h   C e n t r e. I ' m  s o r r y  b u t  a l l  o f 
t h e  r e c e p t i o n i s t s  a r e  b u s y.(No, they're not)  I f  y o u  w o u l d  l i k e  t o  h o l d, 
o n e  o f  t h e  r e c e p t i o n i s t s  w i l l  b e  w i t h  y o u  s h o r t l y.  I f  y o u  a r e 
c a l l i n g  b e t w e e n  6 p m   a n d  8 a m  p l e a s e  c a l l  t h e  o u t  o f  h o u r s  
s e r v i c e  o n ***********,  o r  i f  y o u r  c a l l  i s  m o r e  u r g e n t  d i a l  t h e 
e m e r g e n c y  o u t  o f  h o u r s  s e r v i c e  o n *********. I f  y o u  a r e  c a l l i n g 
b e t w e e n  8 a m  a n d  8.30 a m  a n d  y o u  r e q u i r e  a  h o m e  v i s i t  p l e a s e 
c a l l ********. O r,  i f  y o u r  c a l l  i s  u r g e n t  c a l l  t h e  e m e r g e n c y  o u t  o f 
h o u r s  s e r v i c e on ***********. I f  y o u  w o u l d  l i k e  t o  s p e a k  t o  a 
r e c e p t i o n i s t  p l e a s e  h o l d." 

At which point you are promptly cut off if you have called at 8.29 and 59 seconds, so you have to redial quickly in order to get an appointment and then you have to listen to it all again, so that by the time you get to speak to an operator at 8.53am all of the appointments have been taken.

Is it just me? Am I simply an impatient, grumpy old man (at 42) or has the world gone mad?


Anonymous said...

Gary, you didn't half make me laugh with this! One has to have the patience of a Saint to cope with these telephone automated systems, they are so annoying. I must be impatient and grumpy too because I loathe them. Speaking to a good old fashioned person is so much better.

CJ xx

Anonymous said...

Hi there Gary,

I don't think it is us getting more impatient, just life getting more infuriating. I loathe these automated things too and always put the phone down and stomp about for a bit afterwards.

And it is particularly wearing for medical services as these are needed by people who are less able to negotiate complicated menus (the elderly and those feeling really ill). You need to watch you are not being charged a premium rate too.

Hope you are having some luck with the counselling support.


in greece, we get very few choices on automated telephone lines. the voices are much friendlier and sound more helpful than real people. it's worse trying to get anything to get anything done with a real person on the other end

Reader Wil said...

Gary, I can well understand that you are feeling down and devastated because of your illness and that of your wife. It's good you can write about it.

Liz said...

I so agree with you! And there is a special school where doctors' receptionists go to learn how to be unpleasant and make ill people feel even worse.