German punctuality is overrated
I am pretty sure that if you ask anyone in the world to give you one cliché about the Germans, there's a pretty good chance that "The Germans are always on time" or "The Germans are very organized" will come up more than once. In any case, that's what French people would say.
And after two years and some living in Germany, I must say that this is rather true. Except for one thing. Doctors. Seriously.
I never really go to the doctor to start with, so I have little experience with wiating rooms altogether. To top that, my parents have enough doctors friends for me to have always been privileged and able to get a consultation between two other patients, or after hours. But still. In a country where punctuality is erected as a national sport, I can't believe the time I have been losing in the past few weeks in doctor's waiting rooms.
First, there's the doctor that follows up on the baby. I think he's the worst. We have an appointement at say... 8.30 in the morning. It's the first appointment of the day. Still, we never enter the consultation room before 9.15, at the earliest. I's not even that the doctor stays stuck in trafic or anything of the kind. Nope. He just is late. So we tried the middle of the day. Appointment at 15.30, got in at 16.30. One hour right there. The end of the day. Appointment at 18.00 you get in at 18.45. The problem is, even if you know that, you can't really arrive half an hour later, because then the next patient will have been here before you (i.e., you're considered "late") and they'll be seen before you. That's the Ordnung (the order) talking. You just don't go before someone who was here before you, whatever your appointment time is.
So I thought it was just this one doctor. But it's not. Went to the nose-ears-throat doctor, same thing. Even better actually. They told me I could go between two people (it was an emergency, my nose was bleeding like a fountain). So I sat there, and waited, thinking I woudl have to wait 5 minutes. Nope, there were 5 people before me. Insane. So I went again and came back with an appointment this time. I only waited an hour and 15 minutes. That one was tricky though, because they had two waiting areas. One waiting room, with magazines, and then the waiting corridor, where you have to wait another 20 minutes. And see someone who arrived after you actually enter the consultation room before you.
Two doctors could have been a coincidence. But I went to a third (yes, you'll notice that having a baby is a very doctory thing altogether). Same story. I would either
get an appointment two weeks from now (again, for something that should really not wait),
or come tomorrow between 10.00 and 11.00. Which I did. The waiting room was minuscule and stuffy, and after 40 minutes waiting there, I just felt sick and had to go. Fortunately, that one doctor is across the street from our appartment, so when the receptionist told me "You're on in 30 minutes", I said "ok, I'll come back then". Which I did. To wait another 10 minutes in the entrance and yet another 10 in the doctor's office. Incredible.
Needless to say that in the past few weeks, I have read lots in waiting rooms, and if I have learned one thing, it's that Germans are not all always on time.