We who deal with the public have to try and be polite even when the person we're dealing with is not. But that doesn't mean we don't have an inner monologue taking place that doesn't match the words that are actually coming out. Hey, it helps! A recent patient encounter of mine:
Young female customer picking up refill prescription (non-essential, I might add) for which she is paying cash price:
Has the price gone up?
My Inner Voice: I have no idea. I don't set the prices. I don't know who you are or what you paid the last time.
My Actual Voice: Well, it could have. Our prices are set by the head office in response to increases in what we pay for the drug.
Customer, sourly: Do you send out letters to people without insurance when your prices go up?
My Inner Voice: Sure, lady. Right you are. We actually mail out thousands of letters every week to all our customers who we've determined don't have insurance to let them know of price increases. In fact I just finished putting the stamps on myself.
My Actual Voice: No, unfortunately we don't have the capability to do that.
Customer, rolling her eyes: Well, that's convenient.
My Inner Voice: OK, you have now crossed the threshold into snottiness. Do you want the damn thing or not?
My Actual Voice: Well, we can hold the prescription if you would like to price-shop around.
Customer, sourly again: Well no, I need it.
My actual voice: Thanks, have a good day.
My Inner Voice: Go away now.