Appointment Times 🕰 When did the culture change?

When did it become ok to arrive late to your scheduled appointment?

Having worked in service industries for many years, it is something I have seen develop or unravel more and more often as time goes on. People are now arriving later to their scheduled appointments than ever before and then behave as if it is the Service Professional’s fault if treatments have to be cut short or rescheduled.

It would seem that as our society becomes more insular, more aggressive and people become more self righteous, consideration, politeness and common courtesy is becoming … well … less common.

I was always taught that it was polite, professional and respectful to turn up for appointments, job interviews and invitations at least 5 minutes early to your scheduled time. You are showing respect for the inviter so that you are prepared and settled as soon as they are ready to begin the reason that you are there.

When you attend a performance at the theatre you are given a starting time that you must be there before they lock the doors. Out of respect for the Professional Performers, late-comers are locked out of the opening number or scene. You have to wait for a predetermined, less distracting and more considerate time of entry. You miss some of the service but you pay the same amount for a ticket.

Many Health and Beauty businesses run to a tight schedule so it is not only polite but expected that you should arrive on time. Planes don’t wait. You are encouraged to get to the airport early to check in and get all your incidental bits done before take off. Trains don’t wait for your tardiness. They have to get to their next station (appointment) at the expected scheduled time.

Consider this: When you are rushing to a medical, beauty or hair appointment – you know, something that is more of a hands on service – when you arrive exactly on your appointment time or even a few minutes late, your technician, health professional or hairdresser, beauty therapist or Brow Artist now have to contend not only with your distracted state of mind and flustered repartee but also possible shortness of breath and tensed muscles – which may have needed to be in a relaxed state for best results. Then there is the sweatiness, clammy skin, body odour or excessive radiating heat from rushing – which is not only unpleasant for the operator but can also hinder the effectiveness of the oncoming treatment.

Moisture, heat and body oils all have a direct impact on every wax, cream, physical or chemical treatment hair and beauty technicians perform. It’s like going running before your podiatrist appointment and then presenting him with hot sweaty feet. There are many more factors at play here than your self-indulged and poorly managed time.

Also worth mentioning is stale cigarette smoke which has travelled inside with you – in your hair and clothing – without you giving it time for it to dissipate. Could you also use a mint?

Arriving slightly earlier for your appointment gives your body time to relax, fall back into place and cool down to a sense of ‘reset’ before your Being can react in an expected fashion to the treatment at hand.

Anecdote: Parking the car right on appointment time believing you’re on time.

I recall the conversation with a client who mentioned that she thought her previous service might have been a little rushed. I agreed that it was, as she had arrived late to her appointment and the following client had arrived on time for theirs. She stridently retorted that she was always on time for her appointment. I politely informed her that this was not always the case and that she was actually frequently a little late. Shocked she responded

“I was on time today for my 6pm, wasn’t I?”.

I coyley shook my head to politely indicate “no”. In disbelief she responded

“I looked at the clock when I was parking the car and it clearly said 6pm”.

I paused at that last statement and could almost see the light flickering on in her eyes as she realise that there would also have to be walking time from the car to her actual appointment location.

•••

As professionals in our field, our time is valuable. Rushing the service has a domino effect. Not only does it mean that you may not be performing your fully intended service, it can make us potentially late for our next client and possibly the one after that. It is selfish to assume that your time is more valuable than the next client – or indeed your paid Professional.

Being notoriously late; Ignoring courtesy late calls; Arriving 20 minutes after your appointment has started but with a freshly poured barista-made coffee in your hand and then expecting the same full service when you have finally arrived; Arriving late and still expecting a full service and also insisting that you are needing to leave early to get to another appointment or to pick up the kids from school – This kind of shared or projected stress is now making us look incompetent. We know how long our service takes. This is why we have scheduled appointment times.

Sometimes, in busy salons and studios we might have to cancel a client if they are too late for us to be able to perform the required service, as it then impinges on the following client’s time. As much as we would like to service everybody to make them happy, we also need to be fair to everybody to keep them happy.

•••

Anecdote: Entitlement verses Tardiness.

I remember the time when I first started managing a beauty salon in one of Sydney’s more affluent inner western suburbs. We were doing back to back appointments and running to a tight schedule. Quite often I would have to call a client to inform them that their appointment started 20 minutes ago and as now they were too late, we would have to reschedule. I will never forget the time when one lady responded with

“Yes that’s right. I’m just leaving the house now”.

I’m not sure what the previous culture was in this salon but a few of the continuing clients acted with much self entitlement. It was as if we were to wait around all day for her to graciously arrive and her appointment began when she felt like getting there.

People forget we are running a business here. On one hand, I guess this could be misconstrued as a form of compliment. You might be coming in for a chat and some pampering but we are working and our time is valuable. If common sense prevails, then “quickly” grabbing something to eat, “quickly” going to the bathroom or “quickly” making that phone call should all be done before your allotted treatment time. There are many minutes in the day so why would you choose exactly this time to carry out these tasks? You are paying me for my time. Now you are just wasting it. Your time is no more important than mine and the next person’s money is just as good as yours.

In 2018 I am reading more and more articles regarding salons who have decided to place a ban on clients bringing children to appointments. This is due to the many distractions hindering technicians from being able to perform tasks to their full capacity. Then there is the occupational health and safety risks – but that is a whole other conversation.

Arriving late without a courtesy call is generally deemed as disrespectful. However we do understand that sometimes you just can’t get to your phone – especially when driving. Service Industries are usually populated by creative people with an immense sense of empathy. We’re not all complete “Time Nazis”. We know there are often extenuating circumstances – just perhaps not EVERY time.

The bottom line is: If you are late to an appointment you must expect an abridged service due to the new time constraints you have now placed on your service technician.

We are all professionals trying to give our best professional service.

A little courtesy goes a long way.

•••

Everybody say L♡VE

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Original Vegemite v. Vegemite Blend 17

HAVE YOU TRIED IT? WHAT DO YOU THINK? COMMENT BELOW👇🏼

… MEANWHILE READ MY REVIEW

Vegemite is a thick, black Australian food spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives. It was developed by Cyril Percy Callister in Melbourne, Victoria in 1922.” –  Wikipedia

“Vegemite was invented in Melbourne in 1922 when Australian food manufacturer Fred Walker asked chemist CP Callister to create a product similar to British Marmite. … As overseas travel increased, Vegemite was carried around the world by Australians as a way to reaffirm their connection to home.” –  Vegemite | National Museum of Australia

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Image via the Web

It is a vegetarian yeast extract breakfast spread made from barley and wheat and salt, packed with the goodness of folate, niacin, thiamine and riboflavin. It doesn’t sound too appealing. It’s a black sticky paste so it doesn’t look too appealing either. Infact the taste can be so polarising that people either love it or are disgusted by it’s unique salty flavour. Most Australians would be familiar with the popular TV jingle: “We’re happy little Vegemites as bright as bright can be. We all enjoy our Vegemite for breakfast lunch and tea” … and so it goes.

Many of us ‘true-blue, fair-dinkum, ridgy-didge, dinky-die Aussie kids would have grown up with Vegemite as a staple on the breakfast table. Some may even joke that they were weened on the black, sticky tar-like substance.

Primarily it is used as a breakfast spread, usually on top of buttered toast or on bread in a sandwich or on crackers such as Arnott’s SAO biscuits. It has also been entrenched into Australian kitchens as a dependable cooking ingredient in a variety of applications. It is often used to enrich casseroles, soups and gravies. It is a regular favourite as a quick midnight snack or cure for a hangover in the form of grilled cheese and Vegemite on toast. More recently people are enjoying it on sourdough toast topped with scrambled eggs or smashed avocado. The latter has become a new brunch favourite in Inner-City cafes for many Inner-City Hipsters.

In 2017, the Vegemite brand (No longer owned by Kraft but now owned by Australian company Bega Cheese) has released a new version of its Aussie breakfast classic. They call it “Blend 17.

So, as I have personally considered myself an aficionado of Vegemite in all its various forms since I was very young, I thought I would put the new blend to the test. Here are my observations:

The new Special Edition jar is presented not in the familiar yellow and red label but rather a smaller version in a rather sleek black and silver box and label, making it look like more of a top shelf product. This is a very clever retail marketing device used across most industries.

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Image via the Web.

Once opened, the colouring of the actual product is identical to its predecessor as a sticky black paste. Although I must say that the existing jar of original formula that resides in my refrigerator had a slightly glossier appearance. The aroma was subtle. This was a newly opened jar so the ingredients would not have contacted oxygen since the time of packaging.

Dipping my knife into the jar, the very first thing I noticed was that the new Blend 17 had a slightly softer, more creamier texture. My knife sunk deeply into the jar of product without any effort before spreading evenly and smoothly across the toast. I was taken by surprise because I’m not used to such spreadability from the older standard.

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Image via the Web.

Now for the important stuff: The Taste. On my first bite I wasn’t so sure if it actually had a new flavour. I couldn’t quite tell if I could actually taste the classic familiar Vegemite nuances at all. It was not immediate. It’s in there somewhere. I know it is. Just give it time. A few more chews and … Success! The aroma started to weave its way up through my nasal passages. I discovered that the new product has potentially lost the classic immediate sensorial aroma. The flavour is a lot smoother and less defined. Hardly noticeable at first but with a slow development. It was definitely sweeter but not nearly as sweet as a similar product, such as Promite (which I also love, by the way).

A few more chews and it hit me. Ah! There is that familiar salty sensation that I recognise. The more I chewed, the sharper that special tingling sensation on my tongue became. This lead me to think that the new blend is actually more salty than the original product. It would appear on first exposure an interesting and more subtle Vegemite flavour but with a sharper bite of saltiness which tended to linger on the tip of my tongue after I’d finished consuming my toast.

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Image via the Web

Points of comparison:

1. New Vegemite Blend 17 is smoother in texture and has an easier application than the original Vegemite – the “OGV”.

2. The new Blend 17 has a more subtle flavour; a sweetness and definitely less impact then the original Vegemite which has a full bodied edamame sensation that you experience all over your tongue. The original has a deep richness at the back of your palate which permeates up through your nasal passages.

3. The saltiness of the new Blend 17 left a lingering, extremely sharp salty sensation at the tip of my tongue whereas the original Vegemite spread left my mouth with the sensation of a reasonable amount of saltiness to the sides and a little salty tingle at the tongue’s tip.

4. As Vegemite is traditionally spread on top a secondary, lubricating spread such as butter or margarine, this time I chose to spread my toast first with margarine. When I tried the new subtly flavoured Blend 17, I could not taste the extra product sandwiched between the toast and the spread. However when comparing to the original Vegemite product, I could taste everything – absolutely everything that I had in my mouth. I found this rather peculiar. Especially as I would have imagined the strength of flavour from the original to overpower any other additives. On the contrary, it enhanced the presence of the additional spread.

…but wait!

While I was pondering the fact that these products were packaged so differently yet tasted almost identical, it got me wondering just what was the purpose of having two? So I headed to the packaging itself. To my utter astonishment I discovered that the nutritional information was exactly the same. I checked the ingredients and again EXACTLY THE SAME! So not necessarily saltier or sweeter at all.

Could I have been deceived? Has some clever marketing genius succeeded in influencing my taste buds in such a way that I subconsciously believe that I have been consuming a different product altogether when in actual fact it was the same thing all along? Surely not. There were some physical attributes that I had found were distinctly different. Like the spreadability for example. The ingredients were the same and the nutritional information was exactly the same so perhaps it was all just whipped in a different way.

Vegemite say in their advertising that their new Blend 17 is “Richer and Bolder”. However in an attempt to procure more information as to why it may or may not differ in taste to the original blend, they do not appear to be responding (at this point in time) to any enquiries that I have made either through email or Social Media. So I guess we are left to make up our own reasoning as to why this new product exists and if indeed it was inevitably, just a worthwhile marketing exercise.

In conclusion I can’t say that the new Vegemite Blend 17 will be a stayer on the shelves of Australian supermarkets due to it being not that far removed from the original Vegemite experience. Although much like the previously controversial isnack 2.0 /  Vegemite Cheeseybite spread, it is in Limited release. However I will say that the new Blend 17 may be a gentler, more palatable introduction to the product for our International Visitors or even those folks who might be a little hesitant to try Vegemite for the first time. It may ultimately be more palatable for an export market … but that is only my layman’s opinion.

There is nothing decidedly wrong with the new product but my own personal preference is with the OGV – the original Vegemite. “We all adore our (original) Vegemite. It puts a rose in every cheek.”

Try it for yourself and place your comments below.

#Vegemite #VegemiteBlend17 #SAO

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Ascerbic? Possibly – Opinionated? Probably – Passionate? Always