I think every doctor’s office should offer Happy Hour.
When I go to my local pub, a small place on Jersey Avenue, within walking distance of my home, thanks for asking, I’m greeted cheerfully (by name) and my beverage of choice suddenly appears, glistening at my place at the bar. For this service, I pay about a buck.
On the other hand, the last time I visited the doctor, the receptionist (who was seated behind some sort of bullet-proof shield), wordlessly slid a clip board through the opening and that was the end of that. I signed in and took a seat. And waited. And waited.
After about an hour I went back to the shield and knocked on it. “DO NOT KNOCK ON THE GLASS. TAKE A SEAT. ‘DOCTOR’ WILL BE WITH YOU SOON,” the receptionist shouted. I sat down. And waited.
Now, this adventure would have been much more pleasant if I’d been offered a Bud and some pretzels. It would have almost been worth the $35 co-pay. Not only that, the folks sitting around me would, no doubt, have learned my name instead of spending their time staring at me. And their kids wouldn’t be running around with a nose full of boogers, just waiting for the opportunity to give me the latest pediatric illness designed to cull the senior citizen herd.
At my local pub there is an assortment of interesting games with which to pass the time; it would be reasonable for the doctor’s office to have similar mechanisms. The waiting room is large enough to accompany a shuffle bowl table, a pinball machine, and maybe even one of those race-car simulators that you sit in. (Those make me a little queasy but I’d be right there at the doctor’s office and could ask for something to settle my stomach once I got in to see “doctor”).
Anyway, it sure would be nice to receive a cheerful greeting everywhere I go, whether it’s the doctor’s office or the local Family Dollar. It would almost be as if, with the cost of health care these days, a few customer service skills were tacked onto the healthcare benefits’ package.
For now, I’ll just try to avoid getting sick and keep attending Happy Hour whenever I can, or at least until the bartender takes my drink order from behind a bullet-proof shield. When that day comes I’ll pay off my tab and drink my beer at home, away from runny-nosed kids and receptionists that shove clip boards at me. At least I won’t have to wait to be served.