Saturday, March 30, 2013

Phone Calls, Anxiety, and Picking Your Battles

I hate the person who yells at waitstaff for a mistake the kitchen made. Or the person who yells at a cashier for upholding a storewide policy they didn't create. It's that whole "don't shoot the messenger" thing and it's incredibly rude and short-sighted.

It can be really hard not to immediately unload your frustrations on the person who is sending them your way; I get that. But it's not alright to do so.

This comes up because of something that happened (or, really, didn't happen) this week. I was running low on my prescription, and I called my doctor's office to get them to call a new set of refills into my pharmacy. I get really anxious when I make phone calls, and I have to psych myself up to do each one, so this wasn't easy. The first time I called was Wednesday, and I had two or three pills left, which I told the receptionist. My doctor wasn't in the office that day, but would be the next, so if she couldn't get someone else on staff to sign off, she'd call it in Thursday.

As of Friday morning the pharmacy had nothing. So I called back. Left a message. Waited a couple of hours, checked with my pharmacy and still, nope. So I called again. It was an answering service, who said maybe the doctor was just out to lunch, so I left another message. I took a shower, had lunch, read a little, and about two hours later I called again.

It was the answering service, who this time said maybe they had closed early for the holiday weekend. My frustrations bubbled up, and I came very close to unloading on this poor woman named Bambi who had answered the phone.

I started to, saying "yeah, well I've been trying to get this done since Wednesday." But I stopped myself, because there was no point in yelling at Bambi. She worked for an answering service; she has no control over what my doctor's office had been doing (or decidedly NOT doing) all week. So I just  said there was no point in leaving another message, thanked her, and hung up.

The merits of walking away (or hanging up) can be great. Beyond being concerned for others and general courtesy, when you yell at someone, you make them less likely to help you solve your problem. To use cliches, why burn a bridge or shoot a messenger when you don't have to? When something can't be fixed, excuse yourself, work on a new solution, and maybe just complain about it to your friends. That can go a long way.

By the way, my pharmacist was nice enough to give me four pills to get me through the next couple of days. The battle resumes Monday.

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