The Corey Story

My random wanderings and things I find entertaining

Etiquette Awareness — It’s About Choices

Posted by Corey Kaster on May 3, 2010

It’s 4:00 in the afternoon and I am standing in what feels like my second home, the physical therapy clinic. My oldest son has been rehabilitating his knees, then an elbow, since last October. While there has been some underlying muscle injuries, the bottom line is he grew so fast (6″ in about five months) that his body just didn’t stretch properly to keep up. As he is an avid baseball player, we have been working hard to get and keep him physically ready for the season.

Today’s visit was for a new problem — he had banged up a knee in a recent game. As the physical therapist looked at the amount of swelling still present 11 days after the injury occurred and noted the tenderness, he told me he felt we should have it looked at by our friendly — and familiar — orthopedic surgeon.

Knowing that we were only five minutes away from his office, I made the call, hoping, yes, seriously hoping that we would be able to go straight over for an x-ray. We live about 33 miles away from the medical office and as these visits need to be made after school, we fight some of the worst traffic to get there and back; I didn’t want to have to make this trip twice.

The staff in the office has always been extremely friendly and helpful, so you can imagine my surprise when, after briefly explaining my request and dilemma, I received a curt “No” in answer. That was it; no explanation, other than “I will transfer you to the nurse’s voice mail.”

I had a choice at this point. Leave a message on voice mail, expressing my frustration and concern about my son, and wait for the nurse to call me back, or deal with it. As I am not particularly good at waiting, I chose to deal with it. Again, a choice to be made. Do I deal with it in the same manner at which was directed towards me, or in a more professional, friendly tone?

I chose the latter, and when I was able to reconnect with the same receptionist, I explained that I would like to make an appointment to have my son seen, etc. Within just a minute or two, she was over her curtness and I was once again receiving the friendly, courteous service I had been accustomed to — and we had an appointment for the next afternoon.

As for Colby’s knee, he’ll be ok with some rest and of course, more physical therapy. Home again.


Sometimes it takes an extra effort to be polite, especially when you are unexpectedly — and for no obvious reason — met with rudeness.

People are more inclined to be helpful to those that are friendly and courteous and by taking the high road you will often feel better in the end. Keep in mind that something or someone else may have been the trigger for the other person’s irritation; unfortunately, you are the one who gets to deal with it. The option of how to respond is yours.

You always have a choice.

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”


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