Monday, November 21, 2011

Lucy, You Got Some Splanin' to Do

So I called Dr. Sarno's office today to make an appointment. Here's how the conversation went:

Person at the other end: "Allo." (Translation: "Dr. Sarno's office, may I help you?")
Me: "Yes, I'd like to make an appointment to see Dr. Sarno."
Person: "Allo?"
Me: (Deep sigh) "Yes, I'd like to make an appointment to see the doctor."
Person: "You eber be here before?"
Me: "No, I was referred by Dr. Martin"
Person: "Plis hold on." (Person Hollering) "Make sure dat's decaf; I can't drin real coffee."

Me: "Hello?"
Person: "Sorry, wha was da doctor's name what sent you?"
Me: "Dr. Martin, M-a-r-t-i-n"
Person: "M..."
Me: "Martin, M-a-r-t-i-n"
Person: "M-a..."
Me: (More audible sigh) "M-a-r-t-i-n"
Person: "Sorry, plis hold" (Hollering again) "No Angela, Dr. Sheppard called. He's no coming in today."
Me: "Are you there?"
Person: "Ya, sorry. Lemme check Dr. Sarno's calendar." (Dead air for sixty seconds.) I hear faintly in the background: "So how was your wikend, Angela?"

Angela: (Mutters something unintelligible.)
Person: "Nah, not much. My daughter was sick so we jus hung aroun."
Me: "Hello?"
Person: "Sorry, I can give you Nobember 28 at 1:10 pm."
Me: "That's fine, can you tell me where you're located?"
Person: "Staten Island"
Me: (Sarcasm creeping in) "Can you narrow that down, like with a street"
Person: "Plis hold."

Me: (Muttering.) "Hello?"
Person: "Sorry, what kinda insurance coberage you got?"
Me: "Medicare."
Person: "Plis brin you car weth you wen you com"
Me: "Excuse me?" (Turns out she was saying: "Please bring your card with you when you come"
Person: "And whas your las name?"
Me: (Very slowly) "Pantaleno, P-a-n-t-a-l-e-n-o."
Person: "P..."
Me: (Weeping) "P-a-n" (long pause); "t-a-l" (long pause); "e-n-o."
Person: "And what is your address, Mr. Fontaremo?"

I'll spare you the rest of this delightful exchange; suffice it to say I think I have an appointment with Dr. Sarno on November 28th at 1:10 pm, although I'm not 100% sure. I've become used to talking to people on the phone and in person who are hard to understand. I can see hiring people in jobs where their communication skills don't make a difference to their job performance, but in a doctor's office where the initial contact person kind of sets the tone for the doctor's professionalism, it seems like a bad idea to hire a person who sounds like Ricky Ricardo and has the phone skills of Carol Burnett's Mrs. Wiggins!

Now I'm wondering...if Dr. Sarno's judgement is so poor as to engage such a person, does that mean he's a lousy doctor? What ever happened to competent, intelligent workers? Just another area I guess where the bar keeps getting lower and lower.


LOOKING FOR A WORTHY CHARITY? TRY THESE FOLKS: Children's Craniofacial Association


Joseph Del Broccolo said...

Sometimes, "Press 1 for English and 2 for Espanol" seems like a good idea!

The Whiner said...

I'm not what's funnier...the pictures in this blog or the writing. I have more than my share of those conversatons, which always makes me wonder...if this was the person you hired, who did you send away? Yipes!