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The Choices We Make

One day, my boss started arguing with her patient as the latter arrived at her clinic. I disengaged myself from the conversation, seeing that she was very engaged with the patient. Personally, I would have gotten the patient to pay upfront, which is the normal practice in her clinic, before letting her start the acupuncture session. However, my boss asked her, after arguing for a while, “Would you like to reschedule your appointment?”

I thought that was strange. The customer hasn’t started the session yet, already my boss wanted to kick her out? So at that point, I interjected, and asked the customer, “Would you like to pay for today’s session first?”

The customer is okay with paying, but my boss didn’t want to accept payment for today’s session. Very obviously, she didn’t want to do business with this person anymore.

They continued to talk. What I gathered is that they didn’t fully understand each other, so the conversation took longer than necessary.

Then my boss asked that question again. At that point, the patient seemed to give in, because there was nothing else she could say or do except say yes. So she arrived at the clinic, just to have that argument at the reception with my boss, and then she left.

I was not interested in the conflicts between the two, so I stayed disengaged even after the patient left. However, I was frustrated with the fact that the patient wanted to receive treatment today, and I wanted to take her payment, yet both of us were denied. So later I asked my boss why she wouldn’t take the patient’s payment up front for today’s session.

Then she started giving me all the unnecessary details unrelated to today’s session, unrelated to my question. Again I was frustrated. If you have a problem with B, then you deal with B, instead of blocking A, which is perfectly okay to proceed.

So I asked her for clarity a few times. Basically she was angry with the fact that the customer had arrears from prior sessions, which the customer repeatedly claimed that she was not aware of and that the clinic should have notified her, and would not be willing to clear the arrears until she had a chance to go home to check her own records. However, she was willing to pay for today’s session. But in my boss’ mind, the only way forward was to clear the arrears first.

I can understand the customer perfectly well. Because I am also surprised by everything my boss said. Imagine I book an appointment, arrive on time, only to be greeted with an arrear, and not only that, but is given the options of clearing it right there and then–without any chance to cross-check with my own records–or else to leave.

My boss’ argument was that she had informed the patient about the arrears in the past visit. The patient didn’t hear it. I am not sure which side to believe, but judging from my own interaction with my boss, her communication style confuses me often, so I suspect perhaps she didn’t deliver the message clearly enough to the patient. Sometimes she meant no when it sounded like a yes.

My own thought is that, since the patient is already here, then might as well go ahead with the treatment, which would be a win-win situation for both–the clinic has an opening and my boss can earn money from the visit, and the patient wants the treatment.

. . .

Switching over to another situation of mine where my neighbor messaged me one night, asking me to open up my schedule the next day to walk his dog for him. When I agreed that I would, he replied saying that he was not sure yet whether he actually needed me for the next day, and instead asked me to stand by while he waited to have his own schedule confirmed. But he didn’t tell me how long it would take to confirm. So basically he was asking me to stand by for an undetermined length of time.

In that length of time, I was seething. I replied nicely, saying that I might not be able to commit if his confirmation came too late (of course I also didn’t give a clear definition of what was considered too late, just to reciprocate his lack of clarity).

His reply was: “I’m still waiting.”

So I thought, even if my schedule was open the next day, I probably would not want to help him walk his dog. Because it’s an insult to me! If you want me, you actually need to commit to wanting me, instead of being wishy washy, leaving me dangling for who-knows-how-long, as if I am supposed to be waiting on you, like a lady-in-waiting.

. . .

From my own experience, I kind of understand why my boss didn’t want to do business with that patient, unless the arrears were cleared first. That’s my boss’ terms.

As for my case, I wouldn’t do business with my neighbor unless he is being fair with me, instead of throwing me all these nonsense, like expecting me to get his dog to pee and poop and eat, as if the dog’s biological processes are within my control, and if he doesn’t, I have to do this and that, which is essentially saying that I am responsible for his biological processes, and that is beyond just “walking a dog”–I have checked the typical responsibilities of a dog walker online, and none of the websites listed the above duties as part of the list of responsibilities, in other words, my neighbor has a special need or to put it more bluntly, he’s being unreasonable, and I have tried to go above and beyond what is typically expected of a dog walker–and on top of that, he throws in all these controlling tendencies upon me, expecting me to also put up with them.

Now I understand. Whether it is a job or a business, when you go out to earn money, there are circumstances which make you not want to earn the money, even if the opportunity is right there in front of you.

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