Waiting Room Etiquette

As I got an oil change this morning on my wife’s car, I had my Kindle by my side.  I had nothing really pressing that needed read, but since the maintenance light was turned on on the dash, reading here was just fine.  (This was the place we always come, so they had our license plate and all of our info in their system.)  As my cell phone rang and I immediately stepped out of the door to prevent others from having to listen to my call, I realized people standards vary on how they interact with those they share the waiting room with.

  1. You should leave the waiting room when you are on the phone:  Two other customers also received calls and stepped out of the waiting room.  I had no way to judge them or what is going on in their lives because other than minimum interaction with the oil change staff, I did not hear their voices.  However, if a person chooses to stay in the waiting room and talk to the staff of her mother’s rehab center about her mother’s depression and how the move has been so hard on her, then my brain gets filled with information that would otherwise be private.  I really prefer not to know about all of the challenges that people face if I don’t know your name first.
  2. Where to sit:  This is a pretty obvious issue.  In almost NO cases should a person sit next to another person.  To help clarify this point, I will sometimes put my extra items on the seat next to me.  Since I was on the edge, I only had one seat to protect.  As a person sits in the middle, this strategy is not always as effective.  Corners are also good.  Just as in Tic-Tac-Toe, there are good starting positions and better places to put an “0” if an “X” is already present.  If TV viewing is a must, the rules are slightly modified.  However, if you don’t like woman’s talk shows, you better have a book or a smartphone.
  3. Talking with fellow waitees:  I have talked to others before, but this happens quite a bit less than half the time.  If someone is reading a book and I catch the title or if I see a religious symbol of some type, I might say something.  If the response is unenthusiastic, I am not married to the idea of engaging in a conversation.  At the moment, I cannot think of many/any times a fellow waitee has started a conversation with me.  If so, it was likely based on the person eavesdropping on me attempted conversation.  So, something in my failed conversation served as a catalyst for the “new” conversation.

I am sure there are other rules that apply, but I intersected with none of them today.  A little advice during checkout,,,if you say “yes” to any of their recommendations (rotate tires, change bulbs or change filters), ask for a discount.  I used an expired coupon today and received $20 off of the air filter.  Saving money almost makes knowing the problems of my fellow waitees mother worth while….

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