It almost feels as though the need to keep an actual times appointment is becoming a thing of the past. Does anyone else notice that? With almost everything from banking to shopping to consulting professionals being made available online, the need to adhere to a business’ specific hours of operation or sticking to a specific time is quickly dying off.
I remember when I opened my very first bank account. I was only ten years old and I walked into our local bank with my Mother (cue the mama’s boy jokes, here!) We had to deal with a live person, sign paper documents and physically be there in person in order to partake of the business’ services (despite being free).
Last year when I started frequenting the local branch of my bank, the tellers were actually ENCOURAGING me to go use the automated machines as opposed to getting in line for a live person. This is only one example of what I’m getting at.
The evening before last, I attended an event at my son’s school. Its was intended as a Christmas event and the invitation was open to all students as well as their families. We knew about the event almost two weeks’ ahead of time, and despite being an evening event we decided to attend. So on Thursday evening, my wife and I loaded our newborn infant and our five-year old son into the SUV and attended his school.
The event was scheduled to open at 6:30 for registration. Based on that, one would be inclined to think that this meant one needed to arrive PRIOR to that. We saw several other families arriving and walking to the building at about 6:15, so we took a cue from that and walked to the building as well.
We walked into the vestibule of the building and found ourselves crammed in with about three dozen people. There was barely enough room to move and unfortunately, people were foolishly still trying to squeeze in. With a small infant near the door, I started getting frustrated and asking people to stop holding the door open. There were unattended registration tables blocking the way into the school.
Okay, fine. I get it. Totally. The flyer said 6:30 and it’s only 6:15. Maybe the school is being punctual to a fault. Maybe something came up. Maybe they’re delayed in getting things set up. Or maybe life enjoys punishing me. Maybe.
The line stretched out along the school and onto the street. We waited, somewhat patiently, for the registration to open so we could get the hell out of the sardine can we had been relegated to. The clock kept turning and we hit 6:40 before people came over to man the registration table. Oy Vey!
I was raised in an environment where if you aren’t fifteen minutes early, you’re fifteen minutes late. The worst part was having people from outside the building coming up to the table and complaining that small children were being made to wait in the cold. The least they could have done is push the registration table further into the school so that more people could make their way inside, rather than wait outside in the cold.
Commitment and adherence to an agreed time is kind of important. Even if something being offered is free, it’s important for society to remember that not only is it the responsibility of the recipient to arrive early, it is the responsibility of the provider to stick to the agreed time. Food for thought… ☯