Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Scheduling appointments.

I try to be flexible.  I really do.  But at the same time, I feel the people wanting to come by need to be flexible as well.  If you ask me, on Monday, what's my schedule look like for the week, I probably have days wide open and you can have your pick of times.  I may even allow you to come at the crack of dawn, even though normally I wouldn't be up that early.  Why?  Because if I know in advance, I can plan for it.

I have one person who has been wanting to adopt.  They wanted to adopt a chin that was, at the time they emailed, already on hold for someone else.  While the pickup of the chin has not happened yet (should be tomorrow), the person actually adopting the chin has already paid for the chin in full (and some supplies) and I have no doubt I will be seeing them soon.

As for this other person, they seem nice enough, I have nothing against them, but every time I email about when they want to come, they ask if they can come the next day.  Which would be fine, except "the next day" almost never works.  See, I need more notice than that.  The last time, I thought the day was free, but then family plans changed, and it turned out it wasn't.  We never actually scheduled a time for the person to come, but I had to email them and say that we couldn't do that day, and would have to reschedule.

Well, since then, I hadn't heard from this person for a few days.  So I emailed yesterday and asked if they still wanted to come look at the chins.  They said yes, did I have anything available tomorrow (which is now today).  Because I don't sit at the computer and just wait for these emails, I didn't see their email until late at night.  So I replied to it that I will be home until about noon today.

I got up earlier, like 8ish, and checked my email.  Nothing from this person.  So I went about my day.  Checked again at 9:15ish, and I have an email that asked if he could come at 9:15.  Really?  The email was sent at 8:28.

Rather than re-hashing the entire thing, I'm going to copy and paste the relevant part of what I replied so that I can reference it:

I apologize if it seems like we're having difficulty finding a time for you to come by. It's typically much easier though, if you ask for more than a day in advance, because I don't sit at my computer all day waiting for an email regarding what time to come. Had I known more in advance, I would have been up and ready.  

Giving me a 45 minute window between the time you send the email and the time you want to come -- that's fine if I'm sitting there watching for it -- but if in not at my computer or checking my email, that's a very short time frame and it's easy to miss the time with that small of a window.  I was up earlier this morning looking for an email, but then went back to what I was doing and only checked again now. I have a million and one things to do at the rescue, and while adoptions are definitely a priority, nothing would get done if I constantly checked my email for emails regarding adoptions. That's why more notice is helpful, I can be more prepared. 

If you get this soon and still want to come sometime before noon today, please let me know. I will be occasionally checking my email.

So here's the thing.  There's a million and one things that need to be done at the rescue.  There are always cages to clean, chins and critters to feed, orders to fill, paperwork to be done, etc etc etc.  This means I'm usually up on my feet doing something, rather than sitting in front of the computer answering emails.  Though I do do quite a bit of that as well.  And if you catch me while I'm sitting here, then you'll likely get an immediate response if you email about adopting or setting an appointment.  But if that email hits my inbox when I'm not in front of my computer, it may be a few hours.  Yes, I have a smartphone, and I do check it, but I'm more likely to open it up and play Hay Day for a few minutes than I am to check rescue email every 5 minutes.  Why?  Because it wastes time (we won't even get into Hay Day, lol).  No, but seriously.  If I opened up my phone every 5 minutes to check if I have new emails, that would constantly make me stop what I'm doing and check, and then if I was going to immediately respond -- I tend to do longer ones on my computer because I can type faster on an actual keyboard -- it's just not happening.  It would take too much time away from the already-not-enough-hours-in-the-day problem that I have.

And that's the problem with such a short time frame.  45 minutes isn't nothing, I grant you that.  I can accomplish a lot in that amount of time.  But here's the thing.  That's not a lot of time for me to go without checking my email.  And maybe this person thinks I'm being an ass, but I'm not trying to be -- it's simply that there's better things for me to do than constantly check my email.  While adoptions are definitely a priority -- heaven knows -- they won't happen if I don't have animals fed and cages cleaned and paperwork in order -- all that has to happen as well.  And I have to have time to do that.

Another thing -- if no one's coming over, I may not have the rescue swept or things in order. I try to keep it neat, I do.  Because when something gets out of place, and I can't find it, turning everything upside down TO find it doesn't solve much...especially when I can't find it.  I can think of an example from last week when I couldn't find my hobby knife to cut the holes in the hammocks for the grommets.  Searched and searched, and had someone coming who wanted to see hammocks.  At the end, I went through my medical drawer and had a scalpel, which has a similarly small sharp blade, and worked in a pinch to cut the hammocks and let me insert the grommets.  Granted, I made a mess looking for the original hobby knife.  But I never did find it.  I bought another one and the scalpel will be cleaned and go back to the medical drawer.  And.... that person never did show up.

But point is, things like that happen, even without people coming.  If I need a scraper for the pans and can't find it, and I have a box full of random shit, it may all end up on the floor or on a table.  Someone calls 5 minutes later and wants to come -- that stuff's still on the table.  I try my best to clean it up for when people come, but the truth is, I use a lot more stuff at the rescue than what's easily visible when the place is completely clean.  When all that stuff is sitting out somewhere, it looks like a pigsty.  I could sweep 3 times a day and that floor would never be clean of chin poos.  So I sweep about once a week, or, if someone's coming, that day I sweep as well.  So if you email or call and want to come in 10 minutes -- I turn into a chicken-with-head-cut-off and madly start sweeping and cleaning.  Because the reality is, having this many animals is too messy to constantly keep it ready-for-the-public.  It's not bad, don't get me wrong.  There isn't 4 inches of feces on the floor.  It's nothing like that.  But the few times that I haven't swept and people have come by, people have actually accused me of not caring for the animals.  Now, I'm sure, had they actually owned a chin, they would have known that that amount of poo takes almost no time to accumulate.  But without knowing, all they saw was those little chocolate tic tacs littering the floor, and thought "how could she?!??!"  So I try to tidy the place up for people.  But you all give me very little time when you email and want to come right away.

Several friends I have run small animal rescues.  There's not that many of us, so I suppose we all band together.  Anyway, she has a new rule that appointments must be made two days in advance.  For me, I'm not sure that would work, simply because I have a lot of people who come "tomorrow" or "the next day" and it works fine for me.  But the thing is, I can't drop everything and keep checking emails or waiting for someone to get back to me... cause some people never do.

This guy that emailed back this morning -- he just as easily could not have emailed back -- so had I been obsessively checking my email, I could have turned up nothing.  Going along with that, this entire time I've spent writing this blog, I've had my phone in front of me and I've been refreshing the email, in case he emailed back.  He hasn't emailed.  Which is fine, no big deal, but it's different when I'm sitting here, versus actually doing something.  When I get up from here and let the dogs out again and go back to cleaning and organizing and whatnot, if this person emails then, I won't see it.

And he may think I'm being difficult.  But I just can't sit there and obsessively check my email hoping someone emails about the chins.  Sometimes several days go by and I get no chin emails.  Other times I get 20 in a day.  But if I checked every 5 minutes for those days where no one emailed, that'd be wasting a lot of time.  And that's why I told him, if I knew more in advance, it'd be different.  Had I known, last night, that he wanted to come at 9:15, I'd have been up, ready, and he could have come.  But, depending on how I'm feeling, I may sleep in if I'm tired, need some rest, or don't feel well.  Obviously, I can't do that if I have a job, but right now I can.  And if I need to be up for an appointment, I will be up.  No problem.  But I need to know someone is coming to be up and ready.

This all said -- it is different if you've been here 30 times for supplies and you've seen the place a bit messy... which I've allowed because you, at one time, saw it clean.  But new people always come to a clean rescue.  So please, think about what it might involve for me, when you ask if you can come "now," or "soon." 

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