Framing the Dialogue

Waiting Room Etiquette

The title of this post is probably an oxymoron based on my recent experience.  I was off work so my wonderful wife asked me to take her car for new tires, an oil change, a new cup holder and to get her brakes checked.  Her car is new and under warranty so she still takes it to the dealer which is around 40 minutes from our house.  Too far to go home so I waited for the work to be done.

I spent the better part of four hours in their lovely waiting room with Let’s Make A Deal playing on the television.  I had brought plenty to read as I had expected a long wait and knew that there was nothing to do in the area dominated by car dealerships.  Unfortunately the blare of the television could not cover the sound of the woman across from me working feverishly on her nails.  Her emery board was moving faster that my electric sander.  It is not a pleasant sound anywhere and is a grooming function that should be done in private.

About an hour into my wait I got a call from my Mother and since there were five other people in the waiting room I “ignored” her call until I could get outside to talk to her in private.  As I sat back in the waiting room, three of the original folks had gone and two new folks occupied seats.  The one new woman sat at a table with her back to the room and proceeded to make business calls an appointments for the better part of an hour.  I learned a lot about her business; more than I wanted to.

The other newbie was what I would describe as a sprawler.  He had slicked back gray hair, moustache and a little beard thing under his lower lip, lots of jewelry and he sprawled in his chair across from me.  He had one of those loud, charming cell phone ringtones if you happened to hear it outside.  Inside it was annoying and it went off frequently.  Rather than going somewhere private he carried on his conversation right there in the waiting room.  I could tell you all of his weekend plans, but the memory is finally beginning to fade.

The three other people were more subdued.  One lady pretty much just sat and stared.  Maybe she was meditating.  Another guy was there when I first arrived and was working on his laptop and was still there when I got sprung.  The third guy was not having a good day.  He got called out a few times and was having some “Catch 22” issue trying to get his truck fixed so he could get it inspected, but since it was not running he could not get it there.  I should be able to explain it better since I was privy to his conversation with the service people and his calls to his family explaining it again and again. 

As time rolled on and Let’s Make a Deal was followed by The Price Is Right and I thought it funny that the two hosts (Wayne Brady and Drew Carey were both on the same comedy show (Who’s Line Is It Anyway) and were now back-to-back on the network hosting games featuring over enthusiastic people. 

Our reverie was occasionally interrupted by one of the service people looking for a car’s owner.  There were generally three scenarios; the first was the good news that your car is ready; the second was when they came in to discuss what needed to be done with your car;  the third, and the one that I had, was where they asked you to follow them to the service desk to discuss – this meant that the repairs were going to be costly.  I was prepared since I knew we needed four new tires.  To their disappointment I did not opt to have every fluid drained and replace along with every filter.  That cut my cost from $1,400.00 to a paltry $835.00.

Kids waiting room with adult room through the glass partition

As I headed back to the waiting room and my new “friends” (I call them friends because I now knew more about them than some of my friends) I noticed that they had a “kids” waiting room.  I was as nice as the adult waiting room, but it was empty.   Score!  Rather than game shows on television it had some kids show which I quickly turned off giving me a nice, quiet place to read.

My peace was interrupted a few times.  Once by a family with teenage kids, but they got a cell phone call and left never to return.  The second interruption was by the business lady.  She came in and started to spread out her stuff, but for some reason packed up and left.  Yeah for me!  An older couple came in and sat.  The husband’s cell phone rang, he took it out of his pocket and handed it over to his wife who was clearly the boss.  She took the call as she walked out of the waiting room and her husband dutifully followed never to return.

I don’t think we need signs/rules posted just folks to exercise common courtesy.  Things that they should have learned in kindergarten.

2 CommentsLeave one

  1. Kevin Holesh says:

    I loved this story. You should write more of these.

    I especially loved the “overly-enthusiastic people.” I know exactly what you mean because I used to watch those shows at lunch all the time.

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