Monday Motivator: If You Must Snap, Snap at the Right Person

Friday, I was in line at Target pharmacy to pick up a prescription. So was the woman in front of me. Something had gone wrong, and her medicine wasn’t there. It turned out that the doctor’s office made a mistake, and it couldn’t be fixed until the pharmacist was able to reach the doctor, something that she’d already tried to do that morning.

The woman in front of me was livid. I know this because she announced in a very loud voice, “I am livid.” She then proceeded to share this anger with the pharmacist and her assistant for several minutes, berating her doctor and the doctor’s staff, yelling about how much time she’d wasted on this, and how she needed her medication because she was about to go on vacation. She seemed to think that her tirade was okay since, as she said several times, “I’m not mad at you.”

I did what any good person with British genes would do. I stared at the floor and pretended that this embarrassing encounter was not going on in front of me. Still, I couldn’t help but think about what a complete waste of time this was.

Sure,  the woman had a right to be upset. But the pharmacist had done nothing wrong, was doing everything in her power to ameliorate the situation, and couldn’t actually do anything else until the doctor’s office called her back. Nothing was being accomplished here except the woman’s getting to vent and my getting a topic for the Monday Motivator.

I am not a fan of snapping at people, but if snapping is going to be done, and let’s face it, it is, then at least snap at the right person. This woman could have felt just as good by making a call to the doctor’s office and venting her feelings there, with the added benefit that these were the people who could actually resolve the situation.

Someone once told me that anger should never be expressed unless all of the following criteria are met:

  • It’s directed towards the right person.
  • It’s at the right time.
  • It’s done privately.
  • It’s done to solve a problem, not to get even.
  • And if you get even the least bit of pleasure out of making the other person feel bad, then don’t do it.

It makes sense. So here’s hoping for a snap-free week.

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