Of our many assets, time is undoubtedly the most valuable. Unlike material things, it cannot be duplicated or replaced and should be respected as such. Disrespecting time—mine and yours—is the ultimate insult, and should never be an option.

I am still fuming from a recent situation, but rather than simply vent I decided to use it as a lesson for all. I had a 9:00 AM spa appointment. It’s not my usual spa, but a friend introduced me to the place in an effort to help his friend, who is the owner. I have been a couple of times; not overly impressed, but it was workable. On this morning, I arrived at 8:35 AM, and sat in my car out front answering emails and text messages. The therapist arrived at 8:40 AM, only to learn that the receptionist or person responsible for opening the spa had not yet arrived.

Now, their on-line scheduling allows for the selection of appointments and service providers, and then follows the appointment with several confirmation and reminder emails. Perhaps one should have been sent to the receptionist or person charged with opening the doors. By 9:00AM, no one had arrived, and I left. The therapist was apologetic, but it wasn’t their fault.

At 9:12AM, I get a call on my cell with the cheerful comment, “Ms. Dumas? This is ____ from ___ . We just missed you!” I responded, “No, you didn’t miss me; you were not there on time.” While she apologized, she said “We usually are here at 9” to which I told her “What you usually do has no bearing on what you didn’t do today.” She also said that it was “Still around 9.” To that, I said “I have a lot of watches and none of them say ‘around’ anything.” I proceeded to tell her that this not how a business is operated, and that there is not an excuse for being late. If she had encountered an emergency, there should have been a back-up plan and person, and the therapist at least should have been notified.

With the endless means of communicating with each other, there is absolutely no reason for anyone not to be given the courtesy if someone is running late. More importantly, if the person has planned properly, there is no reason to be late. I have a standing practice: I arrive 15 minutes early for my appointments, and refuse to wait longer than 15 minutes for someone who is late and has not called or notified me of their delayed arrival. I am responsive to calls, emails and texts and expect the same in return.

With increased competition for business at every level, it is imperative that a viable attraction and retention strategy be implemented, the basis of which is built upon being on time, responsive and delivering quality service. If you can’t do that, then take down the shingle.

My comments must have been too much, because she hung up on me. Two days later, I got an email apologizing and offering me a free massage. No thank you. I don’t want free services; I simply want the service I pay for to be delivered on time. And, I apologize if that is too much to ask.