I don’t mind queueing, honestly, providing there are clear rules as to “who” goes in “what” order. Your expectations are then managed accordingly, as you stand and wait. Of course, someone will inevitably try to queue-jump. This is usually a little old Portuguese lady knee-high to a grasshopper, who with head down elbows her way through as she “spots” a long-lost distant cousin ten times removed at the front of the queue. It’s pointless trying to argue as she is probably also related to the receptionist.
Our local private hospital has the strangest queuing system in that although it’s electronic does not work on a first come first served basis. When you enter the hospital and you want to speak to one of the receptionists to book an appointment, check-in for appointment pay etc; you need a numbered ticket from the machine. There are three choices on the machine’s selection panel – Pagamento, Cartaõ Vida and Generalmente; you make your selection accordingly. The ticket numbers are then displayed on an electronic board.
Last Friday, I had to “book-in” for my appointment which was due ten minutes after my arrival, so I pressed Generalmente stood and waited for fifteen minutes, twenty minutes passed and nothing. Other patients came and went. Frustrated but more worried I was about to miss my appointment I complained to the guy sitting at the entrance reception desk. To be honest he is like a spare part – hovering with intent but about as much use as a chocolate teapot. My complaint was met with the endearing but typical “Portuguese shrug” If you have not encountered “the shrug” I will explain. The head disappears into the shoulders, the mouth turns down and the hands, remaining by the sides, turn heavenwards. I was ushered through to the doctor with a “no problem” The doctor was not happy and even less when I explained the reason why I was late.
The bizarre queueing system…
Today I returned, duly took my ticket and waited and waited….and you’ve got it…and waited. I only wanted to make another appointment after the scan on my arm. Not rocket science but after twenty minutes and counting I lost my cool. People were walking in off the street taking a ticket and were being seen immediately.
I complained to “chocolate-teapot” man who could not seem to grasp the basic fact that people were taking tickets after me and were then seen immediately!
Chocolate-teapot man responds “Ah they wanted to pay and have already seen the doctor”
“Yes” I respond “But I want to see a doctor and I’ve been standing here twenty minutes already”
Chocolate-teapot man presses the Pagemento button and gave me a new ticket. Guess what my new number came up immediately!
Chocolate-teapot man smiled and walked away! The girl on reception however, was not happy by the “trick” when she realized I did not want to pay just errrr book an appointment. I then gave the receptionist one of my “make-my-day” glares, momentarily lost my cool, and receptionist immediately backed down.
I tried once again to extract an explanation as to the logic (or lack of it) behind the queuing system and how the numbers were allocated; she could not or did not want to grasp my point. Mr. Piglet, sensing a major wobbly on the horizon, smiled and told me I was wasting my breath!
At least “Chocolate-teapot” man taught me how to beat the system.
Please be honest, was I unreasonable?
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