Dial 411

Incase anyone forgot 411 is the number one would dial in the US at least to call for information. In my opinion this is a defunct and archaic service, but I am sure there is some federal mandate that requires it to still be an option. In light of that information I also find that calling one businesses location to ask for the phone number of another’s location a waste of time.

It may not be a waste of time for the person seeking the information, but it is wasting the time of the employee who may know it off the top of their head, but most likely will have to look it up. This may only take a minute of the persons time, but for my money there about a dozen other things that can be accomplished that are of more importance.

I did not intend for this to turn into a giant complaint, but correct me if I am wrong, but it is 2017 right? We live in a day and age, where the vast majority of the population has immediate access to the internet via computer or more commonly a smart phone. If you have neither that’s on you as an individual, which more or less answers why 411 still exists. Let’s get it together people.

Voice Mail Greetings

Among the dozens of things that I have started noticing throughout my day especially when making one of the many phone calls that we do in the pharmacy is peoples voice mail greetings. Now I’m not talking about the automated system that tells you what to do and sometimes even that is just too much information, but the personal greeting that people leave.

When I call someone whether it be for personal or professional reasons and I get said persons voice mail I only want to hear two things, you repeating the number that I dialed if your carriers automated system doesn’t do it for you and your name. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Anything beyond that is a waste of time.

To the people letting their children leave the greeting message stop it. Unless I personally know you I now have no idea if called the right number. Most of the time I can’t understand what your child is saying anyway.

The people who start talking like you’re actually there answering the phone and then punk me 7 seconds later, there’s a special place in hell reserved for you.

The biggest “no no” in terms of voice mail greetings is explaining to me why I shouldn’t leave a message because you don’t check and/or I should just hang up and text. For starters I now think less of you as a person and secondly if your receiving a call from lets say a professional contact how long do you think you’ll keep that contact. Also, there’s the assumption that I am calling from a phone capable of texting. So much for communicating to you the important information we have.

I could continue to site examples, but I think I’ve made my point with those three. I believe the acronym K.I.S.S. applies here. (Keep It Simple Stupid) Please refer to the two pieces of information I require from the beginning and we’ll all get along just fine.

Distracted Conversation

While listening to one of the Podcasts I enjoy a few days ago it was brought up about people having distracted conversations. They went so far as to compare it to texting while driving with the premise being that since no one is competent enough to text and drive they also aren’t good enough to text and talk at the same time either. I happen to be on the same wave length.

I know for a fact that if I am in the middle of texting someone or doing some sort of work on a computer trying to hold a conversation with me is a lost cause. I will most likely forget any important points or be incapable of answering questions. I will ask whomever needs me to engage with them be it patient or loved one to hold their water for a minute. A lot of the time what I am doing on any given electronic device is as important or more important than the conversation that needs to be held.

Since I use my own ability level as my measuring stick for others performance ability levels I will say that 98% of the population is not good enough to text and talk either. If I need to talk with or question someone I will let them know I need their attention and can wait for them to finish with whatever they are doing. (Although a rare occurrence I will also inform you when waiting is not an option.)

Occasionally I will get the individual that says no go ahead while they are still hammering away on a key board. I will give a courtesy second, “I can wait”, but anything after will just be ignored. I have yet to anoint anyone to occupy the special 2% of the population the I am guesstimating be good enough to operate an electronic device and hold a conversation with me at the same time. (I suspect that I will find a unicorn long before I find said individual that is qualified for said task.)

Use Your Words

Recently I’ve been struggling to find something to write about/be inspired by so I decided to pull another one out of my personal archives. On a side note apparently I have been doing this for a year now.

Another phenomenon that is becoming more prevalent in the pharmacy drive thru is patient’s not using their words. When the drive thru was put in one of the best directed speaker systems was also installed so as to minimize background noise and allow for ease of communication. Although it is over a decade old now, the technology has not degraded that much.

It is normally only isolated to a drop off situation, but when I ask, “How, can we help you?” some patients will give me a slight wave with a piece of paper in their hand. Now, I know this means that they are most likely dropping off a prescription, but since I assume nothing I will ask if you are. For all I know that paper being waved at me contains Minute Man Nuclear Missile Launch codes.

Ladies and gents it is a matter of respect for the people who are going to service you. I don’t go into a restaurant and just wave a piece at my server with my order on it. I communicate with words to convey what I desire. I expect the same from everyone else,

On a quick side note, we do have patients that are hearing impaired so using verbal language really isn’t an option. However, these patients are some of the best ones we have and communicate with us via an interpreter, written word, or when I have time through sign language. My skills are shotty at best, but given a minute I can coble a sentence or two together.

New Words

So apparently the Oxford Dictionary has decided to add some new words to their official list. While reviewing it a majority of the words don’t make sense. Maybe one or two I can get on board with, but the majority is a joke. A few did make me giggle, but the vast majority make me question the professionals who decide the addition of new words.

I understand that as a language evolves new words and concepts will arise over time, but I think that the evolve part is being forgotten. Some of the words the exist now in the English language are as a result of laziness or just plain ignorance. I may jokingly use some of the “new words”, but never  in a serious context.

Maybe its just me getting old or my inner educator breaking through, but something has to give.

The News

Rarely will I watch the news or read the paper anymore.  Even the different news outlets online components I don’t really frequent. The question most people ask me, “How do you stay informed?” Well, I’m probably under informed with certain things other wise I’m probably only 24 hours behind in most aspects.

I have watched most news outlets devolve from respectable journalism, to lets jazz things up a bit, to we need to get more eyeballs over here how can we spin this to get attention. More and more often I am seeing/hearing reporters just get things blatantly wrong and just rolling with it. I know if your live or trying to roll something quick, but how much of an idiot are you willing to look like and how often do you have to apologize of inaccuracies. Most news organizations have a legion of fact checkers. USE THEM!!!

When  I do take interest in something I will normally seek out multiple sources about the subject at hand to do my own fact checking which is ridiculous, but it is what it is. I also sometimes have to wade through the quagmire of political bullshit surrounding a subject just to see the root matter.

It’s also annoying at how much negativity is harped on. I realize that this is what sells and gets more eyeballs on news channel A over news channel B, but I don’t need to get depressed while watching the news. Yes, a bunch of bad stuff may have happened that day, week, month, etc… but lets balance it a little better.

Did You Get My Message?

We currently live in a society where we can communicate with each other in a matter of seconds. The only thing faster would be a telepathic link, but since most don’t actually posses that ability we’ll have to settle for instant messaging.

In a given work day at just the pharmacy for example I will communicate with other team members, doctors offices, patients, and insurance companies. We do so via telephone call, fax, email, and in rare instances text message.  In most instances the message is also conveyed in less than two shakes of a rabbits tail. If there is an error in transmission I find out almost as quickly. I point these specific things out because I can literally communicate via any of these conveyance methods with just my phone. If your printer is compatible I can also send a direct print message as well.

Since I am a Boy Scout I have also learned to communicate via smoke signals and Morse code. I also find carrier pigeon, telegrams (yes they still exist), and written correspondence via postal carrier acceptable means of message conveyance.

I pontificate on all of this because of instances where people have just outright refused to communicate back to me. If you need to refresh yourself on the current technological advances of how we communicate with each other please reread paragraph two.

Literally seconds and the message is sent. I know people lead busy lives and can’t always respond immediatleey. I am one of those people. There are times when I get a text and don’t respond for hours mostly because I working and stopping and shooting a message out really isn’t an option. However, at the end of the day or if its really important on a break I will at the minimum send a text back in return. No one has that busy of a sechedule where they cant do that. Not even the President.