Was Medicare-less About Getting That Card

, , , , , | Right | May 10, 2021

I overheard this exchange while waiting in line at the pharmacy.

Pharm Tech: “Sir, we weren’t able to fill this as we don’t have your current insurance on file.”

Customer: “It’s Medicare. I have Medicare.”

Pharm Tech: “We need to see your insurance card to be able to fill this. We don’t have anything from you or them about this.”

Customer: “I don’t have a card. But I’m on Medicare. I should automatically be on it.”

Pharm Tech: “Sir, you need to contact them. If you don’t have a card or statement from them, we have no way of knowing anything about your policy and we cannot fill this without insurance.”

Customer: “But it’s automatic. I don’t need a card!”

He continued to complain as he walked away, saying he didn’t need any proof because it should be “automatic.”

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They Have Some Ter-mighty Expectations

, , , | Right | May 6, 2021

I answer the phones for a pest control company. It’s fairly common for customers to call in who just want to have some quick questions about local pest issues answered, so I’m trained and certified to that extent, but I am not an expert and will refer people along if I can’t help them.

Customer: “Do you handle termite inspections?”

Me: “Not personally, but I can schedule an inspection for you.”

The customer laughs condescendingly and keeps that tone for the rest of the call. I try to remain polite, but I know my voice gets strained by the end.

Customer: “Oh, no. Not you. Your company. Does your company offer termite inspections?”

Me: “Of course, sir. We can provide a free estimate for treatment or a state-certified report for the sale or purchase of a home.”

Customer: “It’s for a sale. Can you have someone out today?”

Normally, same-day inspections are our policy. However, it’s 3:00 pm on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. On top of that, we’re short-staffed and we’ve been booked full since just after we opened this morning.

Me: “I’m sorry, but we’re booked out for this afternoon. The first opening we have would be Tuesday after the holiday.”

Customer: “Can you get someone out tomorrow?”

Me: “We don’t have anyone certified for the report you need working tomorrow. Our earliest availability is Tuesday.”

Their tone now passes condescending into full dripping sarcasm.

Customer: “Thanks. You’ve been sooo helpful. I’ll be in touch.”

Me: “Have a great weekend, sir.”

It started pouring rain and thundering less than half an hour after he called, so I doubt he was able to find anyone to come out on such short notice elsewhere.

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Back Pain Sufferers, There Is Hope!

, , , , | Healthy | May 6, 2021

I’m twenty. For the past few months, I’ve been getting experience in my major field by working long hours in a lab, counting out microscopic worms on Petri dishes. It’s not difficult or too taxing, but I’ve noticed lately that the way I have to sit to reach the scopes has triggered some lower back pain around the center of my hips. I try to ignore it for about three weeks, as my father just laughs when I mention it and I’m worried that my doctor, the pediatrician I’ve seen since birth, will do the same because of my young age and lack of strenuous activity.

It gets to the point that I can barely walk and every few seconds, a shooting pain jumps down from my back to the front of my knee. It’s beyond anything I’ve ever felt, before or since. The spasms keep me at night, and when I wake up one morning to discover that I can’t lean forward or backward more than a few millimeters, I finally go in to see the doctor. As my main doctor isn’t in that day, I’m paired with a new doctor in the practice I’ve never met before. She’s much younger than the others I’ve seen and is incredibly pleasant.

Doctor: “So, I’ve heard you’ve been having back spasms?”

Me: “Yeah. I know, I know, I’m too young to have a back problem. I haven’t had any big jolts to the system or anything, nothing more stressful than sitting in a lab all day, but no matter what I do, I can’t shake this. I didn’t want to bother you guys during the flu season with what’s probably just a stupid pulled muscle but I haven’t slept for two nights now. Laying down or sitting up seems to make it worse, and the over-the-counter painkillers don’t put a dent in it.”

Doctor: “Hey, it’s no problem at all! In fact, I wish you had come in a bit sooner! Back spasms can be really serious, so let’s see if we can figure this out.”

The doctor chats with me about what I’ve done so far to ease the pain and what showed any improvement or made it worse and puts me through some simple range of movement exercises

Doctor: “Okay, I’m going to do a few little tests that should confirm my suspicions about this. I’m going to be putting my thumbs at those little dimples you get at your lower back, okay? Just tell me if it hurts, and which side hurts most.”

I feel something akin to a nail being driven into the area she’s touching.

Me: “Holy moth— Left! Left side! Haha, ouch, Doc.”

Doctor: “Sorry! Sorry, just one more. Pop up there, lay down, and cross your right ankle over your left knee.”

When I lay down, my entire pelvis should be an inch closer to the ground than it is, and I mention it to her.

Doctor: “That’s normal if this last one gives us a positive sign. When I push down on your right knee here, is there—”

Me:Pain?! Yes. Yes, there is.”

Doctor: “Positive sign! With how long you’ve let this go, it may be too tight for me to fix this here without you doing some home stretches first, but I’ll give it a shot if you’d like?”

Me: “Please, yes. Anything. Feed me to a lion if it would make this stop hurting so much.”

The doctor moves my left leg off the table to hang down the side and shifts my body so my hip also hangs off and instructs me to push up against her downward force on my left knee. My pelvic area makes an ungodly loud cracking sound that can probably be heard in the lobby as it feels like my entire pelvis drops down that missing inch. I fully expect extreme pain.

Me: “AAAGH— Oh, hang on.”

I sit up without difficulty.

Me: “Holy crap. It’s a little sore, but holy crap! You’re a miracle worker! What did you do?! I could kiss you right now!”

Doctor: *Laughing* “I put your sacroiliac joint back in alignment. It’s common for women to have problems with it, though it’s usually after childbirth or an impact accident like a car crash.”

Me: “Yeesh, no chance of that here, and I’ve never been in a wreck.”

Doctor: “Well, it’s unusual, but long periods of sitting in some positions can stress the ligaments and allow the joint to move out of alignment bit by bit. Please, if it ever starts to flare up again, don’t wait so long to come in! It should be manageable with targeted stretching exercises, and I’ll grab you our printout of the ones that should help, but don’t let it get this out of control next time!”

The next day, after a very good night’s sleep, I wrote two letters: one to the head of the clinic commending the doctor for her quick diagnosis and solution, and another to the doctor herself thanking her profusely for taking me seriously right off the bat and being so delightfully friendly during the whole appointment, despite it being a last-minute walk-in. I delivered them with snacks and chocolates for the staff and thoroughly enjoyed showing them how I could once again move without pain. I had to leave their practice once I aged out earlier this year, but I’ve never had a better experience with any other doctor.

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The Customers Don’t Want Your Two Cents

, , , , , | Right | May 4, 2021

Usually, when a customer tells me, “I have the change,” I’ll joke with them by saying, “Just don’t make me count out [number] pennies and we’re golden!” Typically, they laugh and say something along the lines of, “Oh, I would never!” or, “How terrible would it be if someone did that?!”

Me: “Your total today is going to be $11.32.”

The customer hands me a $20 bill.

Me: “Out of $20?”

Customer: “Wait, I think I have the change!”

Me: “Perfect! Just don’t make me count out thirty-two pennies and life’s good!”

Customer: “Excuse me? If I want to give you thirty-two pennies, I will, and rightfully so! It’s legal tender!”

Me: “I apologize ma’am. I didn’t mean—”

Customer: “Ask me that again and I’m giving you the entire amount in pennies! You can’t f****** tell people that they can’t pay with f****** legal tender! This is America!

Me: “Again, I apologize.”

Customer: “Give me my $20 back.”

Me: “What?”

Customer: “Give. Me. My. Twenty. Dollar. Bill. Back.”

I hand her back the $20.

Customer: “Since you apparently aren’t comfortable counting, I’m just going to use my card. And maybe you should use your brain, little girl.”

I finished the transaction talking to her as little as I possibly could. Thankfully, that was my only “problem customer” of the day!

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Lack Of Computing Does Not Compute

, , , , | Right | May 1, 2021

Our store is moving. All our signage is down. There’s a note on the door explaining. The front room is completely empty, except for our front counter. It’s been taken apart and stacked in a corner. The door is unlocked because the owners are on their way back to pick up another load to take to storage. I’m in the back room, cleaning.

Woman: “Hello. Hello.”

I peek out the doorway to see an older woman standing in the empty front room, holding a box. She sees me step out in shorts and a tank top, covered in sweat and dust from the back room.

Woman: “Oh, hello. I’d like to ship this.”

Me: “Ma’am, we’re closed.”

Woman: “Oh, but your door was open.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, but there was a note on it. We’re moving the store to a new location.”

Woman: “Oh, okay.” *Long pause* “So, can you ship this for me?”

Me: “No, ma’am, all my computers are already packed away.”

Woman: “Do you need your computers to ship this?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Woman: “You know, in my day, we didn’t have any computers. We had to do all the calculations in our head.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Another long pause.

Woman: “So, when will you be able to ship this for me?”

Me: “If you go to our new location when it opens, we can ship it for you then.”

Woman: “But not today?”

Me: “No, ma’am.”

Woman: “Because your computers are down?”

There is another pause where I reject the idea of explaining again.

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Woman: “Do you know where I can ship it out today?”

Me: “If you take it down to the post office, they can probably get it out for you today.”

Woman: “Are their computers working?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I believe so.”

Woman: “You know, it would really be better if you learned how to do the calculations without a computer.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I’ll let the owners know. You have a great day.”

Woman: “You, too, dearest. I hope your computers come back up soon.”

She left. I glanced around the empty room, questioning what had just happened.

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