Today I found myself in a waiting room. It doesn’t matter what sort. That’s a whole other story. It was just a waiting room where you arrive, announce your arrival at reception, and are instructed to sit and wait until you are called to be seen.

And while I was sat in this waiting room, I had a weird thought: waiting rooms are the same, not only all dentist waiting rooms, or even all GP waiting rooms, or even all out-patients waiting rooms, but ALL waiting rooms. They are all the same. They are the same in Bristol, Exeter, London, Shrewsbury, Telford, Aberdeen and Borth. They might even be the same in France, Germany, Japan and Nauru.

They all contain the same vital components which I will list:

1. Stiff, straight backed chairs which are probably blue.

Waiting Room Chairs

Whoever invented these chairs is very rich.

2. A pile of old, well-thumbed, magazines.

Pile of old magazines

Does anyone actually read these? Where do these come from? Is there a website where companies can buy ‘old magazines’?

3. A busy receptionist.


Where the busy receptionist sits

Don’t dare have a question to ask, or even worse, moan that you’ve been waiting ages.

4. Really awful art in really cheap frames on the wall.

I can’t find a photograph of a good example of this. I wonder why. These images are usually boats, landscapes or flowers. I think they are meant to cheer the patients / clients up. If it is a posh company, the artwork will be abstract without a frame.

5. Advice leaflets and / or posters.

Useful advice

Does anyone actually take these?

6. Something which is described as ‘carpet’ but not something you’d have in your home.

I bet it is full of fleas.

7. People on their phones, people looking sad, people bored.

Yep, I was guilty of one of these three today.

8. A box of toys that mothers tell their children not to touch in case they contain the novovirus.


9. Not all waiting rooms contain this but the ones that do, irritate me: a TV advertising products related to what you are waiting for (dentists are notorious for this).

10. I can’t think of a tenth component but nine didn’t seem enough.

If I had a job where I had to have a waiting room for people, I’d fill it with new magazines, books, chocolate, bean bags and a shag-pile carpet.