It's Not You…errr, Actually,It is You : Dumping your Hairdresser, Pediatrician, Gynecologist or Babysitter

We’ve all been there.  Your once doting hairdresser routinely schedules you along with 5 other people so you get to play musical chairs across the salon, your new babysitter just doesn’t jive with your family, or you’ve waited to see the doctor for 45 minutes for the third time in two months.  It may just be time to say “Au revoir” and move on. So go ahead – gather up your courage and wits and let’s do this.  After all, life is too short for bad hair, long waits and text-addict babysitters.

The Hairdresser

When you’ve found a good one, you’ve struck gold.  A good hairdresser is like a comforting, warm summer breeze – he or she can refresh you in no time and have you feeling fine.  But then, everyone else decides they love her as much as you do and then (bam!), she’s got 400 clients all vying for her attention and appointments.  Before you know it, your time with the hairdresser is not your own.  You’re squeezed in between three other clients and barely have time to communicate what it is you want done to your hair.  The solution – talk to your stylist, try some creative scheduling (weekends, mornings….) If that doesn’t work, it might be time to walk.

Brandi of Hoover had the unpleasant experience of a long wait at a salon more than once.  “Twice, I’ve had a stylist just completely ignore me.  One went to lunch while I sat in a chair -3 ft away from her station- waiting for her.  At another salon, I waited in the lobby for the stylist.  After about an hour, I asked the receptionist.  I was told that I didn’t have an appointment… not like I’d gotten the day wrong.  They claimed not to have me on their books at all — and I’d even taken a half day off from work to be there.  Both times, I just left.”

If you do decide it’s time to jump the ship, think out your approach.  Are you and your hairdresser close – do you hang out at the same park; go to the same church, etc… If so, a friendly call or even a note (wuss) is in line to help to avoid an awkward situation later.  Clear communication now can help you to keep doors open later, should you choose to go back.  Most important- be nice.  They’re doing the best they can while trying to please everyone, so keep that in mind.

The Babysitter

You’ve just gotten a new sitter to come hang out with your wild darling children.  She charges a reasonable rate; lives close by and seems to be fairly confident in how to deal with any hairy situation your “darling” children can throw at her.  And then, something’s just not right.  Maybe she just doesn’t “click” with your family.

In this situation, the ball is in your court.  You just don’t have to call her back.

But, if there is a specific reason – say, she spent the entire time she was supposed to be playing with your kids on her cell-phone, texting whomever, then tell her why.  You might just do another family a favor; this is after all her training ground for learning about responsibility and employment.  If you feel that letting her go is too harsh, just mention to her that you’d prefer she avoid the phone while on duty.  Because just like the hairdresser – when you’ve found a good babysitter, you’ve struck gold.

The Pediatrician

Picture this: You and your vomity kid have been perched in a chair in the waiting room of the pediatrician’s office for 45 minutes.  After you’ve given the office staff “the stink-eye” a few too many times, you march up (head a little too hot) and tell them enough is enough.  And, ok, you’re not exactly in the wrong here, but things happen that aren’t in their control.  However, if this happens routinely, it might be time to migrate to greener pastures (with shorter wait times).

“When we moved to Alabama, I tried a Pediatrician, where I waited for hours only to realize I had been forgotten. Add a horribly rude receptionist and a hormonal mommy with a sick baby and you get me in the doctor’s office crying my ugly cry. I told him I could never come back but it was no reflection on him just the situation,” said Trish of Vestavia.

First things first, though – communicate, like Trish did.  When you do have your doctor’s attention, explain your problem.  Especially if you love your doctor – because just like the hairdresser and the babysitter….you know where I’m going with this – you’ve struck gold.    Tell him or her that you trust their judgment, enjoy your experience while there, but simply cannot deal with the long waits any more.  It’s valid to express that your time is as valuable as theirs and it’s especially hard to wait that long with a child, let alone one who is sick.  You never know, this might be something that needs to be brought to the attention of all of the office so they can better serve their patients.

However, if your doctor is so rushed when he comes in that you barely have time to greet him, you might have a problem. When offices are overflowing with patients, they have to see as many as they possibly can.  But if this means you are no longer getting the care you should, seek a solution elsewhere.

Again, communicate with the doctor either in person, or with a brief note, explaining that you feel it’s time to move on and thank him or her for the time they have spent with your child.  That note could go a long way in helping him or her understand the office experience from a patient’s point of view.

The Gynecologist

What can I say here?  A good gynecologist is the epitome of striking gold.  It’s the holy grail of your army of maintenance men and women.  Your yearly visit is the absolute height of awkward, so, finding someone who takes a little of the stress out of all that can really be like finding a long, lost friend.  A friend with a peculiar occupation, but a friend nonetheless.

But, as with Pediatrician’s offices, the gynecologist’s office can sometimes leave you wondering “What the hell just happened?”

Rebecca, of Vestavia recalls an incident in which she had to confront the reason why she was leaving her doctor’s office for good.  “The only time I’ve ever confronted anyone about poor service was actually my former OB/GYN.  I was about four months pregnant with my second child and had some wonky test results.  After waiting nearly two hours to see the doctor, she told me I might have lupus, she’d call with the results and she left the room.  I didn’t know anything about lupus, but I remembered a movie I had seen in the 80’s in which a character dies of the disease.  I sat in my car in the parking deck and cried for half hour thinking about my children growing up without me.

As it turns out, I didn’t have lupus and most people who do actually live pretty normal lives.  I was so angry that I had gone through that emotional roller coaster; all that doctor had to do was spend five minutes with me putting her off-the-cuff lupus comment into context and she could have saved me a lot of anxiety. When I switched doctors, she called to ask why, and you better believe I told her.”

But, as we dump, we should prepare for a little awkward, you know, should you ever meet again.  Rebecca found this out the hard (but slightly hilarious) way when she later bumped into her dumped doctor.  She didn’t seem to know who I was at first, and I didn’t bring it up.  At the end of the evening, though, she said, “Oh, hi.  I’m so sorry.  I didn’t recognize your face.”  Obviously a poor choice of words for the doctor and I imagine an embarrassing one too.

The Bottom Line

It boils down to this: don’t burn bridges.  Communicate openly with the people you deal with.  You are paying them, so it makes sense they’ll be open to listening.  Keeping those doors open allows for a re-establishment of the relationship later – should you choose to do so.  People change, so do situations – hairdressers move to other salons, doctors open their own practices…

Take note of what happened and do your best to avoid it in the future.  How?  Get recommendations – lots of them.  Ask at least ten of your friends where they go, if they’ve ever had any problems, etc…. Then take a look at those 10, if one name pops up over and over, you’ve probably found a good one.

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