R.I.P. Customer Service, Courtesy, Professionalism…Blah, Blah, Blah

News Flash!

Customer service has died. It’s DEAD. Completely. At this point, not even on life support.

If I thought drivers were rude and inconsiderate (read about that here), that’s just the tip of the iceberg compared to the employees in some doctor’s offices.

I used to work in a doctor’s office. One of my family members is an ophthalmologist and I worked front and back office after school and summers during high school and college.

I know this world. I enjoyed greeting patients, doing the initial exam and histories with them, and even filing insurance. As medical offices jobs go, it’s not bad — no contagious diseases to attack me (other than conjunctivitis)  nor many screaming and germ spewing children.

What I’m about to disclose really happened. I am quoting verbatim.

[Setting the scene]

I’m entering the orthopedic doc’s office to pick up a new brace because the one they had given me at a previous follow-up appointment to check on the healing status of my broken wrist was too big. It was supposed to be waiting for me at the front desk.

For the previous post detailed how it happened, click here.

I walk up to the reception desk.  The receptionist was on her cell phone — her PERSONAL cell phone.

She looked up, glanced at me, IGNORED me, and spoke into (to) her phone: “Did you get the picture I sent you?”

Remember that I’m standing there, patiently even, not a whit of snarky Princess Rosebud demeanor, just watching and listening and thinking to myself, “Right there on the wall is that little plaque that asks us all to…

Turn Cell Phone Off sign

I’m thinking, who is that sign meant to police? Us? But not her?

She says, “Hold on” to whomever is on the other end and reluctantly and with GREAT attitude swivels in her chair to address me WITH A SNEER worthy of Elvis at his finest:

“Yes?” (Like beeyotch, are you f-ing kidding me?) YES?? Like that is how you address a patient?

I replied, “I’ll wait until you’re off the phone with your personal call.”


This is a cool gif, but I think it only works if you click on it. Soz.

This is a cool gif; if it doesn’t automatically work for you, click on it.


You gotta know this is EXACTLY what she said to me.

Are you ready? You won’t believe it.

“I’m not on the phone.”

The hubris, the attitude, the BALLS to completely LIE to my face is magnificent.

Ya gotta applaud the ultimate audacity, insolence — the CHUTZPAH — of absolute pathological DENIAL, right?

I looked at her, speechless for once, wondering if I should GO THERE, or should I control my inner beeyotch and take the high road.

I can’t believe I didn’t totes let her experience the full force of my definitely sarcastic-put-her-in-her-place retort, but I was still flabbergasted by her total lie. Right to my face.

I decided not to lower myself to her level and have a face-to-face argument. Pathological liars are very unsatisfactory combatants.

So… I told her I was there to pick up something that was supposed to be at the front desk.

She looked for it, found it, and shoved it across the counter at me.

OK, that hostility was too much for me to bear.

Let me remind you that I had done NOTHING to engender such extreme ATTITUDE.. I’ve only even been there two times prior to this visit.

I asked to speak to the doctor. The physicians’s assistant came out front; apparently the doctor was in surgery. I explained to him what had transpired and that I hoped  that was not the way they wanted their patients to be treated.

What did he say? “Well, maybe she wasn’t on the phone.” Are you KIDDDING ME?

I replied, ‘cos I’m a tenacious little girl, “I heard and saw her speak. I heard what she said to the person on the other end of her cell phone. She said, “Did you get the picture I sent you?”  Now that is most clearly NOT a business call, especially since she was on HER PERSONAL CELL PHONE THAT SHE SLIPPED BACK INTO HER HANDBAG WHILE I WAS WATCHING HER.

Like, are you trying to call me a liar??? (That’s what I was thinking. I didn’t say it)

Not a comment, not a response, nada, zippo – just an “Oh.”

Amazing. I’m only going to be going back there one more time in a month for a final x-ray to make sure my wrist is finally healed and I can start a little physical therapy (it doesn’t want to bend very much.)

Will I go back there? NEVER. Will I break another bone somewhere? Probably, but I will steer clear of that particular practice. When there’s that kind of behavior at the front desk, I bet there are deeper problems behind the scenes in the running their practice. Rudeness like that should never occur.

Question: What do you do when you have a bad customer service experience?

Why are old men such assholes?


old manThat grumpy neighbor, we all have one in our ‘hood, “Get off my lawn, you whippersnapper!”

There seems to be an epidemic of grumpy old men in beige shirts with beige windbreakers and stained beige slacks–you know the kind that are pulled up high and belted–so you get that burn-the-eyeballs, never-to-be-forgotten view of either 1. their Depends, or 2. a nasty old Vienna sausage (if you know what I’m sayin’)

They all seem to be farty and perpetually frowning; what happened to chivalry?

Ramming their damn shopping cart into me at Trader Joe’s, giving me the evil eye like I stepped in front of them just so they’d have to run me down. Like, really. “HELLO OLD DEAF THING, THE MOTHER F-ING SHOPPING CART IS EQUIPPED WITH WHEELS AND A HANDLE SO YOU ARE ABLE TO STOP BEFORE YOU TAKE OUT MY ANKLES.”

Can you hear me NOW?

I’m on a roll. I’m ranting and rolling. Old men are horrible drivers. Old women are pretty awful too, but they seem to be less hostile.

In my town old men drive with the rage of a thousand Clint Eastwoods.

They tailgate, and pedal to the metal with lead feet left over from the big war, WW2, when cars were cars and men were men. Or something.

They cut you off, they obey ZERO traffic laws, and blast the horn with the same sort of zeal as if they’re masturbating it. HONK HONK HONKHONKHONK HONNNNNKKKKKK.

For the most part when I have these encounters, it’s invariably  when my tugboat man is out to sea and I must deal with it myself, either by ignoring their bad behavior or by being assertive, or by majorly unleashing my previously leashed INNER BEEYOTCH.

If their impulse control clearly functions when I’m accompanied by a “man”, why does it fail when I’m by myself? 

This last time, hubs was there to defend his woman. when men stop being asholes

sceneclapperLet’s pretend this is Episode #24 of my TV sitcom, That Crazy Wife of a Tugboat Captain–a little bit Lucy, a little bit That Girl, a little bit Gossip Girl, and a little any Real Housewife of Anywhere, sprinkled with the best of Erica on All My Children.

Your basic fantasyland, that’s where I live.

Okie dokie.



Scantily clad gym members line the dingy hall. They’re waiting for the Spin class to be over and BootCamp to commence. All ages mingle, chat about the cold morning, aches and pains, boyfriend problems. At the front of the line is PRINCESS ROSEBUD–exuberant, this ageless chick sweats charm like an old-time movie star.

[Backstory: The line forms because there's a sign on the doors to the group class room admonishing members to wait until previous class is over before entering.]

An older, late sixty-ish, flaccid muscled man in an unwashed sleeveless t-shirt (also called a wife beater) with a few dry hairs trying but failing to cover his liver spotted scalp, bumps into Princess Rosebud and pushes his way into the room.

Under the aggressive gaze of twenty PMS-y, peri- and post-menopausal women plus a few actually normal men, he places his water bottle and towel on the floor directly in the spot Princess Rosebud has always claimed for her own. While the spin class is STILL in session, he proceeds to set up steps and risers for himself and another.


Outrage erupts up and down the line.

OMG, Did you see that? Did you see what he did?

I can’t believe he pushed you. He can’t do that. I’m going to say something to him.

There’s a sign! We’re all standing here to be respectful of the other class!
We follow the rules, he should too! Does anyone know him?

What an asshole. That’s MY spot. Everyone knows I’m in line first ‘cos I take that right upper quadrant. It’s the spot of most mirrors and least germs.

What happened, what did I miss?

Remember last week? That’s the same guy who pushed me out of the way at the jelly weight bins and tried to grab the eight pound weight (the yellow ones) out of my hand.

Scene of the first hostile encounter jelly weight bins

I tightened my hold on the weight, stood my ground, and gave him my best squinty look like, It’s on, old man. High noon behind the gym. Bring it. You’ll get that weight when you pry it from my cold, dead hand. He backed off then, but I sensed further trouble down the road and here it was.     END FLASHBACK


What’s going on? Why’re you looking at me that way?

Where have you been? Didn’t you see? it was that old man, you know, the one I told you about, the one that tried to grab the weights out of my hand last week!

What did he do?

! She points inside the room, which by now has erupted into chaos, a gaggle of women surrounding the old man, pointing to the signs clearly stating the gym policy.

He pushed me and took our spot! I’m out of here, he ruined my bliss.,
I’m gonna go upstairs to work out on the Stairmaster and weight machines.

No, don’t go. Wait here. I’ll say something to him. That’s just not right.
What is it with old men, anyway?

My knight in shining armor came to my rescue!my knight in shining armor

What is it? Is there a switch that turns a (probably) normal guy into a crabby, belligerant unpleasant person?  is it the slipperly slope of the effects of lowered testosterone levels? Too many episodes of  erectile dysfunction? Ran out of Cialis? Pipes clogged?


Maybe there IS a reason why aging men are so unpleasant to be around. According to Innovative Men’s Health…for MEN, there is something similar that happens as we age called andropause. Andropause is the male version of menopause but is much more insidious (happens slowly over time) and it can happen slowly enough that you only notice it after several years or someone else points out there you seem different. Some guys seem to hit a breaking point where their low testosterone level seems to catch up with them and they all of a sudden start having symptoms, such as erectile dysfunction.

The grumpy old man syndrome is an example of how important adequate testosterone is for brain function. It is like PMS for men but it is ALL the time! Testosterone has an affect on brain function and low testosterone increases your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.


Walks over to the old man.
Look, man. You can’t go around pushing women out of your way.
That’s not the right way to treat women.
That was my wife you pushed and I don’t appreciate it.

Throws hands up in the air in a supplicating gesture.
Okay, Okay, I get it. I get it. I heard it from everyone already.
{sarcastically} What am I supposed to do, apologize to her?

Nah, that’s not necessary, dude. Just be more of a gentleman to the ladies.
You don’t need to be an asshole.

TUGBOAT MAN reaches out a hand to shake the hand of the nasty old man. The old man accepts the gesture, shakes,  and…class begins.



Just a Cup of Coffee – The Love Story of Princess Rosebud and her Captain – Part One

Today:  Sometimes he’s here, sometimes he’s not. That’s the life of a tugboat captain’s wife. Right now he’s not..


Yup, the secret’s out. I’m married to Johnny Depp

The Wedding: February 21, 1994

Our song, our first dance as husband and wife. “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole

The Beginning…This is the love story of me, Princess Rosebud, and the tugboat captain.

We met when I was a year into my deal with myself to stay celibate until I met someone, uh, worthy…

Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010… At 3:40 this afternoon, I was in the threshold of our garage door that leads into the living room where I had dragged in a ladder to help with my latest project–painting the living room walls a divine shade of seafoam green–to stay busy when the captain’s out to sea. I mean, I can’t shop ALL the time. A girl has to take a break now and again, right? I set the ladder down and went back to close the garage door. At that precise moment, the glass vases on the shelves surrounding our fireplace began to vibrate and wobble. Here in SoCal, I’ve endured a handful of quakes, but never such intense shaking.

Through the open garage door I saw the bicycles that hang from the ceiling sway back and forth. As I attempted to process THAT information, the crystal lustres on my grandmother’s antique porcelain candelabras clashed and clinked. Terracotta tile flooring in the foyer seemed to roll back and forth as if I was on a sailboat in San Diego Bay, and I had a difficult time standing.

Feeling dizzy and unbalanced, I grasped the doorway for support.  My poor kitty gave me a dirty look like I had interrupted her nap on purpose. So much for the concept that animals can sense an earthquake–not this spoiled little brat.

I ran up our oak-planked steps into the family room and through the patio doors onto the deck and shouted out to the neighbors.

“Look at your pool!”

“I know, this is crazy! Are you OK? Any damage?”

“I don’t think so. A couple seashells fell off the shelf in the family room, but I was so freaked, I didn’t want to stay inside, so I ran out back. I don’t know if we should stay in the house or what we should do!”

“Us either! Let’s see what’s on the news.”

This quake was so violent that it caused the water in their pool to slosh over the sides like a mini-tsunami. We each went back in our respective homes and turned on CNN. We discovered that there had been a 7.2 earthquake in Mexico. The first reports that came in revealed a lot of damage near the epicenter in Mexicali, but no major problems in San Diego; only broken glass and falling cans at grocery stores, which seemed pretty miraculous considering the earthquake’s size.

Still spooked by the shaking and some pretty strong aftershocks, I surveyed the house, removing anything unsecured and potentially dangerous.

This is as good a time as any to confess something.

I’m a shell-aholic.

seashell mirrorI’ve got shelves and shelves of seashells in every room–including the bathroom. Everyone collects seashells, right? One here, one there, as a memory of a great beach or a fun vacation, right? Well…I’m a seashell hoarder. I want ALL seashells–there are never enough seashells to collect or buy. I make things out of some of them–picture frames, mirrors, boxes–they line the walls in our two bathrooms and even our front door, but mostly they just hang out–in bowls, on shelves, anywhere and everywhere. There is no empty space in our house, and if there is, it’s quickly filled with a shell–or a rock.

After a couple decades, we have come to an understanding, the captain and I. He thinks I’m crazy and obsessed with shells and rocks and driftwood, and I don’t destroy his surfboards if he doesn’t give me a hard time about it.

I anxiously emailed the captain who’s half a world away in the middle of an ocean. I figured that if anything would cause him to cut his four month assignment short, this might be it. The way that emailing works in deep ocean situations is through a pretty inefficient satellite; sometimes it takes hours to complete the process. If there’s a real emergency, I have a phone number to call, but this didn’t really fit the definition. I wasn’t hurt and the house wasn’t damaged or anything. When he finally read the email and wrote back, he told me to “standby” at the house phone because he would try to make a call from the boat’s sat phone. When he called, I used all my powers of persuasion to convince him to come home, but to no avail. He simply wasn’t going to call the United States Coast Guard to fly a rescue mission a thousand miles from land to bring  him home because the kitty and I were scared.

Well, I know where I stand in his list of priorities. Hmmm, I wonder if this is when I hatched my plot to get that Chanel. Hmmm, I wonder.

After that stressful event, and many aftershocks later, some pampering was definitely well deserved. That evening, I drew a bath in the upstairs bathroom we call the spa because it’s decorated in earthy tones with seashells and beach glass surrounding the mirrors and along the walls.

(I know what you’re thinking, and I don’t care.)

I lit a fragrant and calming lavender candle, eased my body into the almost too-hot-to-stand-it water, and trickled in ginger and lemongrass aromatherapy oils. Sipping from a glass of merlot, I leaned back, closed my eyes, and my thoughts wandered.

Experiencing an earthquake; the dizziness, the weightless feeling in a tub of warm water; it all reminded me of falling in love. It all felt the same… and it all started with a fifty cent cup of coffee.

Newly divorced in 1990, I speed dated a few guys, including one totally boring and slightly scary man who immediately wanted me to meet his parents after the first (and last) date, along with a couple of total idiots whose combined IQs prolly didn’t equal my Border Collie‘s. Those unsavory experiences became flashing red lights–STOP! NO! THINK!–impossible to ignore–that I seriously needed to take some time off the dating circuit.

It was the perfect time for a list.

I’m an inveterate list maker; I prioritize my errands and even list groceries in the order of where they’re located in the store– like my own custom board game–where I start at the entrance and finish at the cash register.

I wrote this particular list with the hope that if I documented the qualities desired in a significant other, the universe would deliver the right one when all the planets were aligned. Or so I dreamed.

At midnight on August 7th, 1990, with a bottle of wine to seal the deal, I made a promise to myself–I would not date (or do anything else) for a very long time, and the next one would be “the one”.

The List
1. Must call when he says he will. This is non-negotiable.
2. Must show up on time for dates.
3. Must love pets. Also non-negotiable.
4. No cigarettes. No smoking, and of course, no drugs.
5. Likes to exercise, work out, eat healthy, etc.
6. Must have gainful employment.
7. Must be nice and polite and honest and trustworthy.
8. Fidelity is of paramount importance.
9. When the time is right and he meets my son, my son has to like him. Also non-negotiable.

Fast forward to a year later, the following September 1991.

Part Two…Just a cup of coffee, the love story of Princess Rosebud and the tugboat captain