As I get older, I am slowly coming to realize that all those mealy sounding platitudes and nuggets of wisdom from old people you conveniently ignored for the first three decades of your life are entirely correct. Number one: Whatever it is, it’s probably not worth getting that worked up over.
I get worked up more than I care to admit. For this reason I am grateful for my husband, who instead of feeding into my anxious energy tends to say something to make me feel like an idiot for being so upset in the first place (and he is usually correct.) Case in point: the 15 minute argument with the gate attendant at the Sacramento airport over the protocol for a malfunctioning parking ticket.
She was in the wrong and terribly rude, but I admit my reaction probably did not help the situation. I spent the next hour at home drafting a strongly worded letter to the parking lot company, which I then stormed out and read aloud to my then-fiance for approval and “Go get ems”. He laughed at me. Deflated, I ripped it up.
There are lots of things in life to get legitimately upset about (don’t click if you don’t want to be sad.) Sometimes I think it’s easier to focus in on the stupid insignificant stuff because it distracts us from having to think about the real heavy stuff that might otherwise keep you awake into the wee hours.
To make it even better, all us strongly worded letter writers have a new tool at our disposal that we didn’t have back in the late 90s: The Web. I mean, we had the web, but we hadn’t figured out how to use it to complain very well. Now, if you’re upset at your parking attendant, your eyebrow technician, or your vet, you don’t need to complain to one person via letter: you can shout it to the world, for free!
There are only two types of people motivated enough to do a web review of someone: people that love you and people that hate you. There is a family I’ve gotten to know recently who, every time they come in, makes sure to find a new site to go to, in order to sing the office’s praises, and I can’t tell them how much that means to me.
Because for every one of them, there are 50 people who got mad about the bill, then storm out and wrote the longest, nastiest, run-on sentence you ever did see disparaging the clinic, the doctor’s competence, the receptionist’s hair, my momma, you name it. And I’m not just talking about my clinic. This is a universal thing.
“BLAHDIBLAH CLINIC WILL STEAL YOUR MONEY AND KILL YOUR PET THEY CHARGED ME FOR A RABIES VACCINE AND I WANTED A FREE SPADED AND THEY SAID NO AND THEN THEY SHOT THE NEEDLE THROUGH MY DOGS EYEBALL AND I WAS ALL HEY WHYD YOU DO THAT AND THEY SAID SHUT UP AND PAY THE BILL OR ILL SLASH YOUR TIRES DONT GO THERE ALL THEY CARE ABOT IS MONEY STAY AWAY!!!1!!!”
The people with constructive complaints usually tell them to the office manager, who can actually address the concerns and make changes. The rest of the people go to Yelp. You can always tell exactly who wrote the “anonymous” review, too.
Common refrain: “Remember that guy who refused to pay for an office visit and just wanted you to give him free expired antibiotics? He just called you a money grubbing weasel on SmartPages.”
As far as I know there are no grudge websites devoted to hating on me or putting my name on a flaming marquee, at least not yet. There are probably a couple of people who would make one if the thought occurred to them. But all you can do in life is act with good intentions; whether or not someone sees that is their problem, I suppose. This is where all that ‘wisdom’ mumbo jumbo is supposed to kick in. Still waiting on that part of the equation.
In the meantime, I gave up on strongly worded letters a while back, and I’ve yet to take anything to Yelp. Is anyone here a serial Yelp critic?
the only Yelp review I ever wrote was for a restaraunt that had a mouse in the dining room. The little fella ran from one booth across the room and between the feet of a diner to get under another booth.
I thought my lunch companion was going to cry, and I thought I was going to puke right there. We mentioned Mr. Mouse to the waitress & she shrugged.
We realize there are probably mice in plenty of places, but to be so over run with them that one comes out in the middle of the day in a crowded dining room is just too much!
I’ve just discovered your wonderful blog!
Your post today was so correct… Lots of angry people out there. That link about that pitbull really made me angry though. Why would that person who wrote that (and took the time to take a pic of that beautiful dog) not call someone or do something (anything!) for the poor girl that will probably end up getting hit by a car. I am so sick of inaction and the thought that someone else will take care of It. Pardon my rant but that Just really made me crazy seeing that poor dog all alone and having that blog writer just go about her day doing nothing for the girl she just just so upset about.
Dr. V says
Welcome to the blog! I don’t know if you saw the response below, but although she didn’t put it on her blog, Kari (the blogger) did call Animal Control as soon as she got into work.
Thank you Dr V. Glad they at least went to look for her.
Because of my post getting passed around the blogger and pet community in Sac, she was found, picked up (had to be tranquilized to do so!) and taken to a shelter, and I’m hoping that because of the pictures and the story, that she has a better than average chance of finding a good home.
I love happy endings.
Thanks for linking to my blog, Dr. V. Rachel, I did call Animal Control. They couldn’t find her. Thanks for your concern.
Dr. Marie says
Dr. V, this post really made me laugh! In 12 years of practice I still haven’t found a way to deal with these types of complaints that makes me feel good. I hate when I get the “ALL YOU CARE ABOUT IS MONEY” line. If all I cared about was money I would be in some other profession!
But then, I guess there are some people who just complain wherever they go. Whenever I have “one of those” clients in, I always think of how awful it must be to be them. Can you imagine if everywhere you went people said, “Oh, it’s ***her*** again.”?
Thanks for brightening my day with your post!
caren gittleman says
I really loved this post!
I tend to be overly anxious (like you mentioned that you are) and my husband is often the voice of reason with my “rages”
I am not an angry letter writer but I AM one of those people who will DEFNITELY speak my mind at an opportune time to the appropriate person. (I don’t believe in ranting at the poor person who is merely just answering the phone)
I WILL send them a letter through their website but not in a public display.
I have seen blogs naming names of people, places, things that they are hugely upset with and I really don’t feel that a blog is the appropriate venue to bash a person or place (using their name), in my opinion it detracts from their original complaint and makes the blogger look really, really classless and bad.
There are tactful ways to release our anger or complaints. Yes….the long, angry letter is one of them and I still don’t have a problem with that if it is sent through the appropriate channels….
I don’t use “Yelp”….I am not a chronic complainer….
I also believe in giving accolades to places/companies etc that deserve them….too many people are quick to complain but never speak up when someone IS doing a good job!
Thanks for this great piece…my heart goes out to you with all that you have to deal with and the unappreciative folks that you encounter on a daily basis!
I don’t use “Yelp” and tend to not to verbalize or write a complaint to a company unless the customer service/product was ghastly. I just love (not) when I answer the phone at work in a professional manner and I say “please hold” and 30 seconds pick up the line and say “how may I help you?” and the caller says I am rude…
We get lots of unwanted sales calls-especially for advertising in yellow pages. The office classic was when I answered and someone was trying to sell yellow pages ads. I said “no thank you, we don’t have a phone” The caller gasped and then hung up for some reason-while my coworkers laughed very loudly.
Thanks for linking to my blog, Jess. Rachel, I did call Animal Control. They couldn’t find her. Thanks for your concern.
I have never heard of Yelp, but I am sure our clinic is on there as one of the money
grubbing weasels. but it’s usually the people that have the dog that has been vomiting for 2-3 months and has lost 10 pounds and is not eating anymore.
Hmmm..maybe if you would of came in a month ago you wouldn’t have to pay so much money:)
Spaded..lol I love that one:)
Lisa W says
I don’t really do the Yelp thing, but I will either address the issue reasonably at the time or (rarely) write a letter. I don’t even think I’ve ranted about a particular place on Facebook, although it’s possible. (I usually reserve those rants for the idiotic drivers I occasionally encounter on my daily commute.) Generally when I have a choice I discontinue doing business with that place. For the good ones, I usually post on Facebook and tell everyone I know…
Lisa W says
BTW, I hope that poor dog found a home where people gave her all the love that it seems someone else couldn’t be bothered with. I’ll bet you any amount of money that some idiot put her out with the furniture. I think I’d be much happier if I spent my days with dogs instead of people. Actually, I pretty much guarantee it!
I wish so much I could have taken her–she’s beautiful.
Just to update you: Because of my post getting passed around the blogger and pet community in Sac, she was found, picked up (had to be tranquilized to do so!) and taken to a shelter, and I’m hoping that because of the pictures and the story, that she has a better than average chance of finding a good home.
I love happy endings.
I am a “yelper” and have also been “yelped” as a veterinarian.Yelp can be a great and powerful tool for people looking for reviews on eating establishments, salons, and other services, veterinary medicine included. Yelp has recently adopted a filtering system to cut down on people who create an account with the sole purpose of just bashing one place that they don’t like. They pride themselves on having a website where real people can go to get real reviews. I use it often when researching new places to try, and usually offer up my own reviews after visiting a place. I’ve written good and bad reviews on everything from sushi to bikini waxing.
I do, however, agree with Dr. V – way more people who are unhappy will go out and write poor reviews than those who are happy with your services. I wish there were some way to help people realize those sites are out there without looking like we’re instructing them to go to a site and write a good review. Yelp is a great tool, and one of the better online review sites out there, but there will always be those people out there who have to be grumpy haters who bring down everyone else.
Susan Montgomery says
That poor dog. You can tell by her intent expression she is wondering ‘Are you my human? Will you take me back to my puppies?’ I really hope someone took her home to be fixed, fed and loved on.
I’ve written one Yelp review, and it was for a sushi place that put me in the hospital. I figured it went well with the previous review entitled ‘don’t go here; laxatives are cheaper.’
So, I guess I qualify as one who goes to Yelp specifically to complain, but I just thought others ought to be warned before landing themselves in the ER like I did. lol
I hope the pitbull was okay– Kari, did you call back to see if Animal Control managed to track her down? I hope someone just picked her up. Those photos made me teary at work.
I posted this above, but because of my post getting passed around the blogger and pet community in Sac, she was found, picked up (had to be tranquilized to do so!) and taken to a shelter, and I’m hoping that because of the pictures and the story, that she has a better than average chance of finding a good home.
I love happy endings.
Thank You for this update! I am so happy to hear this!!!
I have reviewed several things on yelp, mostly good reviews, and use it all the time for finding restaurants and other services. More than the star ratings, I like the informative reviews that give info on prices, their favorite dishes, things to avoid, etc. I think most people can filter out the crazy types on those places (i.e., see that they have all 4 and 5 star reviews, but only 1 1 star review). I think if you’ve got a problem with a place, try and settle it up there first before bashing them online – they may not be aware of the problem and be happy to fix it. Or not, in the case of the mouse above.
I just love the Angry Bread image. That is all.
I just love the Angry Bread image. It made me happy for some reason.
My vet really helped me out with making my fearful Sadie more comfortable at the vet’s office. Instead of insisting on a muzzle, she asked that I bring my more confident dog to every visit to help grow Sadie’s confidence. It worked and the last couple visits, my fearful pup acts like everyone at the vet’s office is her long lost best friend. I was so grateful to my vet for working our dog through her fear problems that I posted a very positive and rather lengthy review on yelp. I always judge a business by the quantity and quality of their positive reviews – I pay no attention to the bad ones unless they’re all bad.
Gregory Magnusson, DVM says
That review was the best thing ever. “All they care abot” lol!
I use yelp a fair amount,and have posted reviews. I tend to disregard reviews that are clear rants: all caps, misspellings (one misspelling I can take in stride; more than one and s/he begins to look lazypants) and are mostly centered on how much the business was charging and how Mean the People There were. If you can’t make a clear concise coherent argument, why should I take you seriously? I’ve not reviewed my vet office because I’m not bowled over by them; they’re convenient and competent and they really do have a fabulous receptionist, but I don’t think my vet could pick either of my animals out of a line-up.
I use Yelp a lot; I’ve only ever posted reviews about places I truly love (great hair salon, favorite restaurants, that kind of thing). I tend to read through all reviews and only pay attention to ones that say WHY they like/dislike the establishment or persons – and they should back it up. Then I weigh it based on how important that is to me, keeping in mind that every reviewer and every waiter/stylist/vet/mechanic/whatever has a bad day sometimes!
well…. you did warn us….and I looked anyway…..but thanks for the warning! Yes, there are some ridiculously angry people out there. Having been married to one for 13 years, I have learned it is not personal and these people are really unhappy in general. Kind of sad, really. But yea…. we just do the best we can and do our best to ignore these unhappy angry people….
Hawk aka BrownDog says
Hi Dr V,
First time I ever heard of Yelp…old and slow, don’t you know. I tend to vote quietly with my feet.
As for vets…I grew up on a horse and cattle farm. Wanted to be a vet until our vet (I’m sure my Dad was behind it) had me come into the run in shed with all the steer to be innoculated. Their hide is like hardwood and in those days you didn’t run ’em into an isle, you just worked your way between them getting crushed and stepped on…
Hubby and I have had performance horses all our lives and had occassions to use several well known vet hospitals in the east. We treated our own horses and dogs, the vet made regular visits and left vaccines and meds we couldn’t buy at the farm store or a script to order from Omaha Vaccine. The male dogs and cats got neutered in the shed row…the females made an overnight at the small animal hospital for their spay.
Point being, we’ve had long time relationships with our vets and we know what medications cost…when we retired and we had to take our dog to new vets, I simply used my feet to switch until i found vets I was comfortable with. (so many practices seem more interested in “selling” rather than practicing medicine)
Some vets do seem to try to sell you every vaccine known to mankind plus. But there are lots of great vets like the young vet we have now who really seems to care about the animal and who you don’t mind paying.
I know many young vets working for vets who aren’t paying them enough money to pay off student loans. Unless you’re lucky enough to be able to buy into or establish your own practice, financially it is not an easy life. If you do own your practice, you still have huge overhead just to open the door in the morning.
Good luck Dr V.
I use yelp for fun. I think I have yet to write a bad review and I always take the bad reviews I see with a grain of salt. I enjoy writing good reviews for my favorite businesses, the ones that really shine, I think others should know about them.