Why Are People Late?

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Dear Joel,

Why are some people are habitually late?!?! I happen to work in a profession where I take appointments. If a client comes in late it can upset the whole apple cart, and cause all the other innocent victims on the client list to be inconvenienced too. I’m sure those same people are late for church, work, and other appointments. Don’t they realize how disruptive and downright annoying this can be? What are your thoughts on this matter?


There is an old expression that goes, 5 minutes early is on time. On time is late. Late is unacceptable.” There is a lot of truth to that. Many cultures consider lateness a sign of disrespect…because it is. Everyone is late once in a while, but habitually late people are either ego maniacs, desperately disorganized, unrealistically over-committed, inconsiderate, or just flakes. None of those are good things. Have you spoken to your customer about their tardiness or broached the subject of penalties? If that’s not realistic, give them a quick, efficient service with no chit chat – small talk is for people on time. You may just have to work around them. Try booking someone with a shorter service at the same time of their appointment. If they arrive on time they will have to learn what it feels like to wait and if they’re late you’ve kept your schedule moving along. I also would print that saying and hang it up. They might get the idea by reading it on the wall.

Joel Markel

Write to joel@preferredcares.com. His radio show, “Preferred Company” airs Monday through Friday from 8 to 10 a.m. on preferredradio.com and 1160 & 1310 WOBM-AM.

If you or anyone else is in need of home health care, call Preferred at 732-840-5566. “Home health care with feeling.

Joel Markel is President of Preferred Home Health Care and Nursing Services Inc. serving all of New Jersey in adult, senior and pediatric home health care.”