Who made them Queens?

If there’s one thing that always gets my goat, its bad customer service.  I worked for 5 years at a well-known high street store where customer service was drummed into us and I never found it hard to carry out.  Please, thank you, hello, goodbye – just a simple smile, its not like they cost anything but they can make a difference to a person’s day.  I hate it when you’re being served in a shop and the assistant can’t look you in the eye, manage a hello, please or thank you, or worse still carries out a conversation with their colleague about “what they did last night” whilst they are taking your money and shoving your change back in your hand.  It’s downright rude!

Today, I had a different kind of bad customer service in the form of a snotty receptionist at my local health centre.  With the recent reports in the press about the flu virus affecting many under 5’s, my husband and I decided that we would get ourselves and our children vaccinated just to be on the safe side.  We went to Tesco last weekend to see if could be vaccinated at the Pharmacy as it had been advertised in National Newspapers.  Hubby got his vaccination there and then but they wouldn’t vaccinate me because I was breastfeeding or the children because they were all under 18 years old.  The Pharmacist advised me to contact my Doctors and ask them if there were any vaccines left and if they would be prepared to vaccinate us instead.

Yesterday I rang the Health Centre and spoke to one of the Nurses and explained why we wanted to have our family vaccinated, despite us not being in the “high risk” category.  She spoke to the Manager who said that if our family Doctor agreed to the vaccines then it was fine for us to have them.  I rang and spoke with my Doctor who said that all of the “high risk” people had been contacted in October last year and invited in for their vaccines and as far as he was concerned those that were going to have the jab had been treated now.  He said that rather than the vaccines going to waste he was happy for other people who expressed an interest were ok to have them and so he put a note on our files to this effect.

This morning we went to the Health Centre and spoke to the receptionist to book ourselves in, this was the conversation we had:

Me: Hello, can I book in for me, my daughter and my son to have the flu jab please.  We spoke to Dr S yesterday and he said that he was happy for us to have this and has made a note on our files.

Rec: Oh really?  And why should you be having the flu jab?  Are any of you high risk?

Me: No.

Rec: So why do you need to have the jab then?

Me: Because we want to protect our children for the reasons that I discussed with the Doctor yesterday.

Rec: Well you can’t have them because we have a shortage of the vaccines and there are high risk people still waiting for the jab.

Me: Oh, well Dr S said that the high risk people had all been contacted and that they were no longer coming in so the vaccines needed using up rather than being thrown away?

Rec: No that isn’t the case, there are lots of high risk people still waiting for the jab and there’s no need for you all to have one.

Me: Oh?

[A nurse appears at the Receptionists side]

Rec: Can you speak with ‘these people’.  Mrs G, the baby and there’s another little one down there somewhere want to have the flub jab but I’ve told them they can’t because they’re aren’t high risk but Dr S has told them they can.

Me: To be fair, I tried to get the jabs at Tesco as we are prepared to pay but they won’t do us three and I have gone through the correct channels.  I spoke to a Nurse yesterday who spoke to your Manager and advised me to speak to the Doctor who all said that it was ok.

Nurse: That’s fine, if the Doctor has told the lady they can have the jabs then they can have them.

Rec: But they’re not high risk!

Nurse: Its ok, the Doctor has discussed their needs and feels its ok for them to have the jabs so they can.


The Receptionist then began to mumble under her breathe and haughtily ask me for our names and address to book us in.  As soon as I went to sit down, she turned to the Receptionist next to her and relayed everything to her, all the while looking at me and shaking her head!!!!!

A few minutes later the Nurse came back and spoke to the Receptionist again and explained that it was not her decision to make, which seemed to add fuel to her fire and the black looks at me were stepped up a gear!  Who the hell did she think she was?

When we were called through to see a different Nurse a few moments later, she explained that it had caused some upset that I had asked for the jabs but they were happy to give the jabs to me and Little Bean because there was a high risk for children under 5 and that Intensive Care Units are currently highly populated with children under the age of 5.  They couldn’t give Beanie Boy the jab because he was under 6 months and there was no provision for his age group at the moment though he should get his protection from me as he is being breastfed.

I was disgusted at the way that I was spoken to, all I wanted to do was protect my family – if there was an issue at all it was clearly the communication between the Doctors, Nurses and Admin staff – not me!

And then to make matters worse, I needed to go to Tesco afterwards to get Little Bean some nappies along with a few other bits and pieces.  We went in and did our shopping but when I took my purse out to pay at the till I realised that I hadn’t transferred my purse from my handbag to my changing bag and so had no way of paying.  I apologised profusely to the cashier (and muttered many expletives in my head at myself) but she just stared at me.  She didn’t say ONE word!  Nothing, nada, nowt!!!  So I asked her if it was possible for my shopping to put to one side whilst I nipped home and got my purse.  She just looked at me and said “I suppose so”!

Today was NOT a good day for the customer service poll!!

Have you had any crappy customer service issues recently?  I’m sure I’m not alone!!!


  • Claire, Cheshire Mum

    January 6 at 3:52 pm

    Doctors receptionists think they are God. End. Of. When I was in a customer facing role I fetched and carried without complaint and with smile and courtesy. Its not you, its not me, its them. No excuse for it, plain rude. Sorry you had a bad day, may tomorrow and the rest of 2011 be great! Claire x

    1. mummymatters

      January 6 at 9:22 pm

      I so very nearly put that in my post but there are one or two that are quite nice at my health centre, again its the bad ones spoiling the reputation for the rest of them! Thank you, best wishes for the new year to you too x

  • TheBoyandMe

    January 6 at 7:21 pm

    I also worked in a well-known high-street store for 4 years, 2 of them on the customer service desk where manners were highly instilled in us. I get absolutely outrageously irritated by people not bothering with basic common courtesy, let alone good customer service. Who does that woman think she is?

    1. mummymatters

      January 6 at 9:20 pm

      Precisely! Its almost as if people don’t take pride in themselves or their work anymore 🙁

  • Jo

    January 6 at 10:41 pm

    We only ever had good customer service from 1 HV, 2 Doctors, 1 Nurse and 2 receptionists at the Health Centre. As for customer service in shops, well J likes to play with buttons, he wasn’t doing any harm playing with the buttons on the card machine whilst the cashier scanned my shopping but she tapped his hand and told him NO!…….. You can imagine how verbally outraged I was and left my shopping at the till!
    ((Hugs)) hope you day got better hunni xxxxx

    1. mummymatters

      January 7 at 10:04 pm

      OMG I can’t believe a cashier did that! I would have gone mental at her. I had a similar experience in the Post Office in town, I sat Little Bean up on the counter one day whilst I was being served and she played with the card machine (which was switched off) and the woman told her off. I said, “its ok the machine is swiched off” and she said “that’s not the point, she shouldn’t be playing with it”. I had a few words to say to her too!

  • Karin @ Cafe Bebe

    January 7 at 3:20 pm

    Well, you know how I feel about our Surgery…start writing letters! And add in how shitty their midwives are as well and maybe, just maybe, they’ll start to do something about it. I won’t hold my breath though. Thank goodness we are as healthy as we are. 🙁

    1. mummymatters

      January 7 at 9:58 pm

      Yes I have started my letter, I just need to do a bit of homework and find out her name (obviously not the Midwives because I know them and how crap they are!). I doubt anything will come of it. A friend of mine contacted the surgery today to ask for the flu jab too but apparently got the same treatment as me – who do they think they are?

  • mumtoc

    January 7 at 6:24 pm

    I totally agree with Karin that you should inform the surgery about this experience.
    I have complained in the past about treatment I received at a local hospital. In the complaint I felt I needed to also mentioned a couple of people who actually helped me tremendously at the end – which I know they were grateful for.
    I believe that you should write to the surgery and explain the Receptionist’s bad attitude. From an employer’s point of view, you may be one of a list of patients to complain, and may be assisting the employer to try and either solve her bad attitude problem, or move her to another suitable “non-face to face” contact position in the surgery.

    1. mummymatters

      January 7 at 9:50 pm

      I agree too, I am in the process of writing a letter but I forgot the crucial element of the letter – her name! She’s always been a frosty receptionist but she really took the biscuit yesterday!

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