Normally, I’m a happy kinda guy, and for good reason. Cool weather has chased the gray and black cat from the window sill back onto my lap. She takes up residence there during the winter when I write.

Our big black lab with the big black nose is acting like a puppy once again. Not bad for a puppy who’s 88 in human years.

And after 13 years, The Wife, she still loves me. I know; it doesn’t make much sense to me either, but she does. For this I’m eternally grateful. So what could possibly upset our perfect, happy little world?

In a word, our satellite has gone out. I guess another leaf blew in front of the dish.

Okay, so that’s more than just one word, but the results are the same. The Wife, she’s no longer happy.

Now, I know that in the times of economic meltdowns, weekly stock market crashes, and the ongoing housing crisis, this event may not rate at the top of the list of any world leader’s concerns. But around our house, no satellite means no Project Runway on Saturday mornings. No “Project Runway” and The Wife’s not happy – hence the crisis.

It’s almost as much of an emergency as running out of coffee or forgetting to pick up the evening’s chocolate. Something I make sure never happens. This could be the reason why The Wife has kept me around for so long.

Wednesday morning the satellite went out. I had until Saturday morning to get it fixed or my happy little home would no longer be. When called, the nice folks at the satellite company gave me two options: I could sit at home and wait for them to show up sometime between 8 and noon or sometime between noon and 5. Which would I like to do?

I told them, “Neither.” Then I gave them two options.

First, I could sit at home between 8 and 5 waiting for them to show and not make any money.

Second, they could come out after 6 in the evening. That way, I could go to work and earn the money so I could pay them.

Otherwise, I’d have to cancel my subscription resulting in no “Project Runway,” The Wife not happy, and quite possibly, my life ending as I know it.

The satellite company saw it my way.

While we’re on the subject of waiting for all the utility, cable, and satellite companies out there, here’s a little education in customer service.

The second word in customer service is service, not waiting. Having an appointment means showing up at a certain time, like 3 in the afternoon – I know, I looked it up. A range of time from 8 to noon means, “I’ll just show up whenever it’s convenient for me.” This only leaves the biggest reason why people have to wait.


Last time I had a doctor’s appointment, the wait was over two hours. I don’t think I’d have gotten so irritated if they’d simply said, “Just come in. Sit from either 8 to noon or noon to 5. We’ll get to you when it’s a good time for us.”

So for all you doctors out there, here’s a quick lesson in customer service. My time is just as important as yours. Actually it’s more important – because it’s my time.

You’re the one that made the appointment in the first place. If you can’t keep it or you’re going to be two hours late, you should have the courtesy to call 24 hours in advance to reschedule — just like you make me do or you’ll charge me. If you don’t, then I should be able to charge you.

Besides, the last time I checked, I’m kinda important to your business. Remember me? The patient? And patient I am not when I have to wait on you for two hours because you overbooked again. I’m the guy who’s paying all of your bills. The least you can do is be on time.

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, has been a firefighter for more than two decades and a columnist for The Citizen since 2001. His email is saferick@bellsouth.net.]