Better three hours too soon than a minute too late. (Billy Shakespeare)

Admittedly, I’m not the most punctual person and I generally have a habit of thinking it takes me 15 minutes to get anywhere in the same city. That means if I’m at my place in East Vancouver and meeting someone downtown I think it could take me 15 minutes to get there. I also forget to factor in buses not being where I need them to be when I need them to be.

I’ve gotten better in my time, I will most of the time be prompt, a few minutes early or five minutes late. If any later I’m texting my apologies as well as when I finally reach the meeting point. And when I’m meeting friends I may take a few liberties (they’re not the picture of promptness either), but I’m trying to be more aware of what being late means since it aggravates me so much.

The point is, I feel bad when I keep people waiting. I feel like we’re all busy and our time is important so being consistently late is a sign that you don’t respect someone’s time.

Recently I made a doctors appointment for 11am and switched my shift to start at 1pm, giving me plenty of time to get to the appointment in Kits and to work on Main.  When I arrived at the office it was packed full of people, all waiting to see the one doctor who works in the office. When I was checking in a woman asked how long the wait was and the receptionist said it was an hour. I decided to sit back and see, having been to this doctor before I know that she can run behind, one time I hadn’t made it into the room until 30 after my appointment time. After 45minutes only two of the 7 people there before me had seen the doctor, I decided to ask how much longer only to be informed that I would probably have another hour. I insisted that I had to work and asked if I could somehow get in earlier. Nope. One more hour.

They surprised me and I was seated into the room (what are they called anyways?) 45 minutes later. It was another 15 minutes later before I saw the doctor, leaving me 15 minutes to talk to her, make it to the bus and get to work.  This was obviously not going to happen.

I mentioned to both the receptionists and the doctor that I had to work and that I scheduled my day around the appointment. It was obviously crazy to think that an appointment at 11am meant that I’d be seen at 11am, or at least within the half hour. I mean, if you know there is only one doctor in the office don’t schedule ten people for 11am, or even in that whole hour.  I usually make my appointments for Mondays since this is my day off, but I have a lot of errands to do so waiting around for a doctor/dentist/hairdresser/insert-appointment-maker-here isn’t the best use of my day off.

I respect you enough to make the appointment and show up on time, at least try to respect that I have other things to do beside sit around reading your old magazines all day.

But it’s not only professionals. The same goes for friends and acquaintances. If you say 8pm, then meet at 8pm. Not 8:30. I especially find it annoying when you get a text 10 minutes after 8 telling you that they’ll be there in 10 more minutes. Then they show up and ramble off an excuse blaming everyone else but never apologizing. If you don’t think you can make it for the time suggested then tell me in advance that you need extra time. I hate waiting in a restaurant alone as the waitress brings more water and I’m promising that I haven’t been stood up. Thank god for the iPhone, it at least gives me something to pretend to do.

It’s just rude and signals to the person that you leave waiting that you don’t care enough to respect their time. Because while I’ve now had to wait for you it means that I have to push back other things I have to do. And yes, I may not be the busiest person with a back-to-back schedule but pretend I am.

If you’re consistently late maybe it’s time to modify your behaviour, stop scheduling so many people or adjust the time you leave your house. Realize that someone on the other end is waiting for you, that their time is important and respect that.

Otherwise I’m going to set a rule that I’m leaving if you’re consistently more than 10 minutes late.


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