Saturday, January 17, 2015

In which I kvetch ...

First off, I'll admit that I'm in the middle of a certain lunar-monthly event, so you can take that with the grain of salt you should.

But, yesterday, Michael and I had a date-afternoon activity set up. We were going to a mutual friend's place so she could analyze our eyeballs (take a REALLYUPCLOSE picture, then look at variances in different areas of the iris and the white part [whatever it's called. I'm too lazy/irritated to look it up] and tell us what parts of our bodies are showing signs of issues) ... pretty cool, right?
And, since we signed up for it at a health expo a few months back at a good deal.

So, yeah, I was looking forward to it for the last couple months.

She emailed me paperwork to fill out (Michael and me seperately). Nearly ten pages of questions.
Which we did.

Here's the text of the email that she sent:

HI Allanna and Mike
I am reminding you of your Iris Analysis appointment for Jan 16 at 2pm.
I have attached the intake form for you to fill out prior to your appointment.  Please print one out for each of you.   It is important for you to fill it out as completely as possible to better help you gain control over your health.
If you have questions, please let me know. 

I'll admit that I had a bit of a busy time the last few weeks. Between recuperating from the plague, trying to get caught up on housework, Bruise and Bucket's concert rehearsal, reading books, painting in the bathroom, and all the other minutiae of my life, I did not send a reply ... mostly because I didn't have any questions to contact her with.

So... Friday comes, we've finished answering a bunch of questions and printed out all the paperwork to do so. We go over to the address listed on the email (even showing up five minutes early) ... we knock on the door ... we ring the doorbell ... we repeat. We call her cell (no answer) and I leave a message ... we wait until about a quarter after two.

At this point, I'm more than a little disappointed. I'd been looking forward to this appointment for a while. And ... we got stood up.

I emailed her after we got home (and Bubbles went down for a nap and Michael left to go shooting with Dad C and C, his brother).

I wrote:

[Name],
We went to your place, but nobody was there. I also tried calling.
Sorry that we missed you. Hope that everything is okay. We were looking forward to seeing you.

And, a bit later, I got this reply:

Hi Allanna
I apologize for not being there. I never heard back from you so I didnt know you could make it.
When would you like to reschedule?
I am doing well.  Had a rough week though, so my husband and I went to the coast for the weekend.

Well, nowhere in the email that I originally received did it say that I needed to confirm. Or else I WOULD have sent confirmation. She never called either Michael or my phone (or the home phone) ... CallerID would have shown us that we missed a call from her. And we'd have called back (or answered the phone in the first place).

When I make an appointment with any other professional (or even just for Visiting Teaching or something social), I might send a reminder email or text or call ... and, unless I/they hear anything to the contrary, you are there for that appointment.

Michael's taking this a lot more easily than I am. "It's not professional behavior."
Whereas ... I'm blogging about this so that I can finally process it through my head so that I can let it freaking GO and figure out how to be happy and crap.

I mean, when my kids' dentist's office has an appointment scheduled, they'll leave a message on my answering machine if I'm not here to confirm in person. Then they are THERE at their office, even if they haven't heard back. (Now, I know that if they can't reach the person, they can and do schedule emergency appointments over that time. When we had to take Bucket in to repair her tooth, that's what happened. Turns out the non-confirming family DID show up ... so we waited around a little more, sure. But, still, EVERYONE was served.)

If you don't confirm with your Visiting Teacher, more often than not, she'll still come by. If the sister that YOU visit teach doesn't respond after you set up an appointment in person (to an email that doesn't say, "Hey, just checking ... we're still on for this appointment, right?"), you don't just blow it off.

I was thinking that, with [Name] not being there and not answering her phone, perhaps there was some serious family emergency. And that is understandable. It'd have been better if she shot off a text or something ... "Sorry I won't be there! Family emergency. Can we reschedule soon?" or the like.

Maybe I'm just so irritated because I know that she's running her own business. And I know that if stuff like this is happening with other customers (ones that might not love her so much), that she's really shooting herself in the foot.

And I really dislike her pushing the blame solely onto me about this. Yes, I could have responded. And I probably should have ... but sometimes I get a little literal. She did not request a confirmation. If she had, I most definitely would have sent her one. She just said to contact her with any questions. And I didn't have any ... because one usually doesn't think to ask "Will you even BE there when we show up?"

If she was in doubt about it, as a businessperson, she could have easily emailed again ("Just checking in since I haven't heard back from you. Are we still on?") or called Michael or me. Or sent either of us a message on Facebook, even. Instead, she made the decision to completely blow us off without any warning. (Even an email of, "Hey there. Since I haven't heard back from you and I've been having a crazy week, I've got another commitment [regardless of the fact that we planned this months ago ... and this makes me seem really flighty and undependable]" OR "I haven't heard back from you, so maybe I don't have the correct email. Let me know if you get this. If I don't hear back from you by tonight, I'll give a call to confirm plans" OR even "I've had a really awful week. Can we reschedule?" ... ANY of those would be okay. ... Note that I do not say that it's FINE. But, it'd be a darn sight better than waiting around, trying to keep our toddler from constantly banging on their door or ringing their doorbell).

If we knew that this wasn't happening, we would have cut our losses (menstrual-related-hormonal-craziness or not) and come up with something that we could have enjoyed just as much. I could have put Bubbles down for an earlier nap, let Michael head out earlier, and curled up with a new library book and Netflix. Or worked to finish painting another cabinet door. Or had Michael take Bubbles up to Mom and Dad's (to hang with Mom and Grandma) and I could run over and get my hair done ... we had tons of options. ... that couldn't happen, since we were honoring OUR commitment to this appointment.

And it just feels like it wasn't nearly as important to our friend to do the same.
And, well, it feels rather like a slap in the face that your business/money/presence/society is not worth even taking a chance that your customers are honoring their appointment.

Yes, I could have replied. But she didn't ASK for one in the first place. I figured that if she was in need of a confirmation, she'd have ASKED. Or called.

... And, though I was really looking forward to this and for so long, I really am torn. Because after receiving treatment like this from anyone, I don't really want to do business with that person. And it makes it a bit harder because we do know her and have that relationship.

But the hard fact is that I wouldn't choose to do business with a stranger/less-close friend who treated me/us with such disrespect. Why should I submit myself to this with someone who I thought was more professional/a friend?

I need to forgive her, YES. And I will.
But I'm rather SAD. And MAD. SMAD about the situation.

I'm mad at myself for not having the foresight to put myself into a situation where I could end up so disappointed/disillusioned. (And, golly, does anyone wonder why I've tended to go antisocial? Because, apparently, I can't handle relationships or living or anything ... It's reasons like this why restaurant menus can fill me with a mixture of joy and dread. "What do I order? Do I go with my usual? Do I try something new? But, if I try something new, what if I don't like it? What if I hate it? What if they stop carrying my favorite things???" ... And there's the fact that I had PLANNED on this. I am not great with change all the time. I TRY to roll with the punches, but I'm not always thrilled [at ALL] about it ...)

So, yeah. I'm smad that I tried something new. And that I was counting on it to happen. And it fell through. I'm smad that I feel that our friend shifted all responsibility onto us, when she shares in it ... and that it seems that she's got a bit of a flippant attitude about it. I'm smad that I'd consider putting myself through this a second time ... especially since I have no idea if we'd get the special price that we were going to get by signing up so fat in advance before. And I'm smad that I let this get to me. It shouldn't matter. It was just a maybe-scientific thing that could have been cool. ... It could have been a waste of money.

But, well, at least I've got this (hopefully all of it) out of my system. And I'm sure that, reflecting on this, there's some great lesson to learn (hopefully not "don't do business with friends" since I have some friends with great businesses/skills) ... and, since I've poured all this out, maybe I'll have gained the distance to look at this situation and learn from it.

I mean, if we choose to try this again, I think that I might find myself being a bit passive-aggressive about it. (After rescheduling, email: "Okay, just checking that you'll even be in town when our appointment is?" A couple days later: "Hey, just wanted to touch bases. We're still on for that eyeball-thing, right? You'll be there?" Repeat every few days. Ten minutes prior: "Oh, hey, something's come up. Gotta bail. Catch you some other time?" Five minutes later: "Crisis averted. On our way!" ... you know, something like that. ... But that'd be REALLY mean and unprofessional and, on the whole, a total jerk move. So I wouldn't do it. ... I might be quite tempted ... but I know better than to treat people like that.)

... Why is it that coming up with impossible scenarios makes me feel a little better?
Maybe it's because I'd really LIKE to be a criminal mastermind, but I can't due to my moral code? ... but that it's good to know that I have the capacity to do it, but that I can remind myself that I CHOOSE not to do it? (I do promise that if I ever DO decide to achieve that destiny, I will do my best to be a benevolent dictator. Pinkie-swears!)

Yeah, I do feel a bit better (in full disclosure, I originally mistyped that as "I feel a but better." Which would be a misspelling ... But admitting that I feel a "butt" better, knowing my current physique, would be saying that I feel LOTS better. And, since it involves the word "butt," my inner-ten-year-old is cracking up about that. Butts.

Yup, I'm Allanna. And I still appreciate potty-humor.
Some things never change.

However, I do feel like I can dissect this situation and analyze it ... and get over this stupid thing so that I don't walk about being all pissy about everything.

If our friend had said something more like, "Oh my gosh! I thought that since I didn't hear from you at all that this wasn't happening. I thought that I asked for you to confirm in the email I sent a week ago? Didn't I? I should have called, though, to get a definite answer. I'm so sorry! Can we reschedule? And I'll make sure to be more professional in the future!"
You know, something that made it sound like she cared a bit.

I'm sure that she does care. And not just about what we'd pay her for the analysis. Maybe it just didn't come through on that last email that she did send. Don't know.

But I think that I'll have Michael respond to her. He knows how to write professionally. And he can state that I'm rather disappointed about the whole situation. He might even affirm that he had expected her to act in a more professional manner ... he might not. Up to him.

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