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Just plain old nasty people


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I work at a local health department. Since COVID everyone in the office has been working like crazy .... 80 hour weeks for some, no weekends off, that type of stuff.

With most of the calls we get people are nice or at least understanding. Others .... not so much. 

One woman called today. She is 85 years old and wanted to know when she could get the vaccine shot. I told her the state regulations are for First Responders, Long Term Care Facilities and Healthcare Workers. She would fall into the next round of vaccines, which is from February to April. Her response? "Wow, you guys are slow!"

It really irks me when people say stuff like that, especially given how hard we are all working. When I said to her "Well, you may think we are being slow but I can assure you we have been working 80 hour weeks since this all started in March." 

Her response was "Let me break out the violin for you." 

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Another woman called and reported a law firm that had COVID. According to her they are doing nothing about it and exposing everyone. We called, went over their protocol and it turns out they are just fine with what they are doing. The woman was so upset that we didn't PHYSICALLY go to the law office that she called 7 times in one day to keep complaining. I kept telling her that we do not need to go into an establishment, that COVID does not glow, we wouldn't see it all over the walls, and going into establishments does not gain us anything. She then said we were not doing our job. 

Sigh.

 

 

Edited by Home'scool
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This just makes me so mad and frustrated on your behalf.  Why do people have to be mean.  Some people just suck.  No way around it. 

Thank you for all you are doing.   I can't imagine how hard it is to be working at the health department during a pandemic.  It is challenging enough during normal times.  

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They both were incredibly rude. Hopefully they thought more about their behavior and went to sleep horrified.

I've asked full-on adult goofballs more than once, "Would your mom be proud of you right now?"

Thank you for your service @Home'scool!! Remember there are people out here that dearly appreciate the work you're doing.

Wendy

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85 yo lady might have dementia. Younger lady calling about the lawyer office sounds like she’s in a bit of a panic.  I agree with others who say that people are frayed and losing their cool a lot lately, especially after the unrest of the past week.

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25 minutes ago, MissLemon said:

A lot of people have never learned how to manage their emotions. 

And others, like my mom, don't give a darn about anyone save for themselves. Case in point: My mom walked into a nail place to have a basic toenail cut. Given the condition of her nails she was told (and for good reason) that soaking and such would have to happen. My mom's response? "Go to hell." This is who she is. She is the person who berates a waitress because there is no Splenda on the table. She is the one who uses foul language and truly rude name calling for anyone she doesn't care for. She is a nasty, horrible person who thrives on conflict and making others angry.

OP, I'm sorry this happened.

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I'm sorry you have to deal with people like that, too.  The ugliness I see in people really gets me down and upsets me, but I don't have to deal with or work with them.  Thank you for the work you are doing!  

 

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15 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

And others, like my mom, don't give a darn about anyone save for themselves. Case in point: My mom walked into a nail place to have a basic toenail cut. Given the condition of her nails she was told (and for good reason) that soaking and such would have to happen. My mom's response? "Go to hell." This is who she is. She is the person who berates a waitress because there is no Splenda on the table. She is the one who uses foul language and truly rude name calling for anyone she doesn't care for. She is a nasty, horrible person who thrives on conflict and making others angry.
 

 

Wow, that's awful!  

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Well, I think the lesson learned is that these sort of people can't be reasoned with. When the older woman said y'all were slow, the new response could be: "Our apologies. Is there anything else I can help you with? No? Goodbye."

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6 minutes ago, alisoncooks said:

Well, I think the lesson learned is that these sort of people can't be reasoned with. When the older woman said y'all were slow, the new response could be: "Our apologies. Is there anything else I can help you with? No? Goodbye."

They really can't be reasoned with. They also are good at pushing all the buttons to try to keep you engaged with them.  It's really hard to keep from getting sucked in.  Most people that work in customer-facing jobs don't have any kind of training on how to accomplish that.  We've all been trained with the idea of "Keep the customer happy! The customer is always right!", but there's zero training for "The customer might be unhinged, drunk, or high". 

 

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Last week, I asked a grocery store clerk how she was holding up.  She said that people were being so mean about masks that she had to leave her shift early one day that week because she was crying so uncontrollably.  I felt so terrible for her...I just wanted to give her a hug (but I didn't).

OP, thank you for the work you are doing.  I hope you can keep your spirits up. 

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3 hours ago, annandatje said:

My guess is that the employee was upset because, while employer has appropriate covid policies, they may not be enforced.  Of course, you are doing all you can at your end. You're not the covid police.

 

Technically, the health department is the Covid police...Public Health Orders are enforced by Health Departments.

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I get it. Sometimes as healthcare workers, we just get sooooooo sick of the snark. We take little bits all day, every day. We laugh it off and play nice. It is when the accusations get personal that it gets irritating. When people try to accuse me of doing something to them personally....that is when I get defensive. Some people just love accusatory banter and to try to make others squirm. They are bullies and like to watch others feel uncomfortable. That sense of control on thier part, is what it is all about. They want to make others change what they are doing, and since they are impotent themselves. they are trying to get you to do it for them. Like healthcare workers are thier personal marionettes. 

Because of this, when people get snarky, I imagine them as impotent puppeteers. LOL Week little people sitting on the floor playing with toys because they have chased everyone else away.  They are feeble, powerless people who are trying to pull my strings and play with me like a toy....I don't let them. I find that silence is the best way to fight them. Since everything I say will be wrong, I don't engage.  I just stop and look at them without talking (or give them the silent treatment on the phone).If they ask me what I am doing, I tell them I am listening to them. Most puppeteers want you to fight them, if you give up and are quiet, they lose interest.  I let them finish speaking and give some space before I answer. Once the awkward silence is over, I say "take care.... Goodbye" and hang up or disengage and walk away.

((((hugs and Thanks for all you and your team do!))))

 

Edited by Tap
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21 hours ago, Home'scool said:

Another woman called and reported a law firm that had COVID. According to her they are doing nothing about it and exposing everyone. We called, went over their protocol and it turns out they are just fine with what they are doing. The woman was so upset that we didn't PHYSICALLY go to the law office that she called 7 times in one day to keep complaining. I kept telling her that we do not need to go into an establishment, that COVID does not glow, we wouldn't see it all over the walls, and going into establishments does not gain us anything. She then said we were not doing our job. 

Sigh.

I agree that many people are unreasonable in the best of times, and those who typically are not are finding themselves frazzled right now.

AND

What is the recourse of an employee, or even a client, if they go into a place of employment and find that people are flouting the legal COVID protocols?  If the department of health is supposed to be in charge, should they not investigate those instances?  It is quite possible that the person you spoke with at the law firm was lying, and the woman-caller is right that they are doing nothing and exposing everyone.  What is the public supposed to do if the responsible government agency will not investigate and enforce?

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53 minutes ago, Amy in NH said:

I agree that many people are unreasonable in the best of times, and those who typically are not are finding themselves frazzled right now.

AND

What is the recourse of an employee, or even a client, if they go into a place of employment and find that people are flouting the legal COVID protocols?  If the department of health is supposed to be in charge, should they not investigate those instances?  It is quite possible that the person you spoke with at the law firm was lying, and the woman-caller is right that they are doing nothing and exposing everyone.  What is the public supposed to do if the responsible government agency will not investigate and enforce?

Your second option assumes that departments of public health health might have both the authority & the staffing to investigate those instances. Per the first article I posted above:

"The departures accelerate problems that had already weakened the nation’s public health system. AP and KHN reported that per capita spending for state public health departments had dropped by 16%, and for local health departments by 18%, since 2010. At least 38,000 state and local public health jobs have disappeared since the 2008 recession."

And those working in the field now have faced death threats, aggression, vandalization of personal property & overall hostility. It literally can/could be personally dangerous for them to investigate. My own state Health Director resigned after people were actively picketing (24/7) her HOUSE...and she has young children.

This is the end of a decades-long effort to cut / weaken any form of government. *Many* people in this country think that any & all government is bad. The fact that our now-even-more-shredded public health system will be even less able to handle future pandemics doesn't seem to occur to them.

Which means that clients and employees are on their own. Most unfortunately.

 

Edited by Happy2BaMom
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What is the recourse of an employee, or even a client, if they go into a place of employment and find that people are flouting the legal COVID protocols?  If the department of health is supposed to be in charge, should they not investigate those instances?  It is quite possible that the person you spoke with at the law firm was lying, and the woman-caller is right that they are doing nothing and exposing everyone.  What is the public supposed to do if the responsible government agency will not investigate and enforce?

If it is an establishment that is flouting the protocols we can go in and work with them through education, etc. In the case of the law firm their website listed out a whole procedure for doing business (they handle real estate) .. you text when you get to the parking lot, they come out with a clipboard and clean pen, with masks, and handle paperwork that way. After speaking with them and hearing and reading their protocols we were satisfied. I don't think people would be able to make all that stuff up about fogging their offices and cleaning protocols without actually doing all of it.

I received two phone calls today from people telling on their neighbors. They state that they know someone in the next door house is COVID positive but they have workers and delivery people going in and out .... that we cannot do anything about. We do not go into private houses for that. And frankly I am shocked at how much neighbor turns on neighbor in this situation. Some people would love nothing more than to be the COVID police and turn people in. They literally want us to PUNISH them. UUgh

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3 minutes ago, Home'scool said:

If it is an establishment that is flouting the protocols we can go in and work with them through education, etc. In the case of the law firm their website listed out a whole procedure for doing business (they handle real estate) .. you text when you get to the parking lot, they come out with a clipboard and clean pen, with masks, and handle paperwork that way. After speaking with them and hearing and reading their protocols we were satisfied. I don't think people would be able to make all that stuff up about fogging their offices and cleaning protocols without actually doing all of it.

I received two phone calls today from people telling on their neighbors. They state that they know someone in the next door house is COVID positive but they have workers and delivery people going in and out .... that we cannot do anything about. We do not go into private houses for that. And frankly I am shocked at how much neighbor turns on neighbor in this situation. Some people would love nothing more than to be the COVID police and turn people in. They literally want us to PUNISH them. UUgh

Honestly, if they have active COVID and are purposely interacting with others then they DESERVE to be punished. 

Just like the courts have ruled with HIV, people knowingly spreading a deadly disease should be stopped and criminally prosecuted.

Criminal charges for spreading HIV
A person can be charged with criminal transmission of HIV when "he or she, knowing that he or she is infected with HIV: (1) engages in intimate contact with another; (2) transfers, donates, or provides his or her blood tissue, semen, organs, or other potentially infectious body fluids for transfusion, transplantation, ...https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/hiv-transmission-it-crime/2002-06
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Honestly, if they have active COVID and are purposely interacting with others then they DESERVE to be punished. 

Like I have said to the caller, no one has any idea what is happening in other people's houses. Perhaps they tested positive but have informed the people coming in and out. Perhaps the neighbor is wrong and no one in the next door house has COVID. Perhaps they are all family members and they are willing to mingle. I do NOT want to live in a world where someone calls about something I am doing in my house and all of a sudden someone is knocking on my door and questioning me.

Can you imagine? "Ma'am, who have you had to your house today? Why were they here? We will need all their names for questioning...." 

And who does all the checking? The police? The police with a nurse? It quickly would get out of control.

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28 minutes ago, Home'scool said:

Like I have said to the caller, no one has any idea what is happening in other people's houses. Perhaps they tested positive but have informed the people coming in and out. Perhaps the neighbor is wrong and no one in the next door house has COVID. Perhaps they are all family members and they are willing to mingle. I do NOT want to live in a world where someone calls about something I am doing in my house and all of a sudden someone is knocking on my door and questioning me.

Can you imagine? "Ma'am, who have you had to your house today? Why were they here? We will need all their names for questioning...." 

And who does all the checking? The police? The police with a nurse? It quickly would get out of control.

People used to be arrested and detained for violating health department ordered quarantines or other public health orders. Typhoid Mary is the most famous/infamous of those cases. Yes, police have been used in the past to enforce public health orders for the greater good of the public health. 
It hasn’t been necessary or the norm since vaccination and good sanitation became widespread, but it is not out of the question in serious situations. 

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