A re-write of the most horrifying Thanksgiving story ever told. EVER told. Emphasis on EVER.
Today’s tale has all the elements of a great story – romance, family, a villain, a military hero, death, horror, and home-made cranberry sauce. Before you read this, know that when I say it is a great story I do not mean it is good literature. It is a great story in that it is a great one to tell after a few beers.
When this happened, I was in my early twenties. In my twenties, I was a lot like middle-aged me, except that young me was more mild-mannered than older me. People who know me well would tell you that I can be reserved sometimes. If you wanted to calculate who I was when this tale occurred, simply deduct thirty-something years of experience and confidence from a low-key middle-aged guy. Read the rest of this entry »
A little over a month ago, I had a particularly bad bout of allergy problems. I fought as hard as I could. The allergy symptoms eventually got the best of me. So I headed off to a MinuteClinic in a local CVS Pharmacy. Little did I know that this was the start of an ordeal that would cost me far more than a minute.
I’m going to be fair and tell you that things went very well during my visit to the clinic. The nurse at my MinuteClinic carefully diagnosed my problem, prescribed some medication to get me some relief and even made sure my flu shot was up to date. I had my prescriptions in hand in a flash and was on my way home for the first good night of sleep I’d had in days. And then…
The Odyssey Of Minute Clinic Customer Service
There’s so often an “and then” in life, isn’t there? You deal with someone who is really on top of their game…and then. MinuteClinic’s “and then” isn’t in the clinics themselves, it is after the cure takes effect.
A few weeks after getting relief for my allergies, my wife and I were on vacation. She received an email from American Express that a charge on our card at CVS, hundreds of miles away, back home. This was of great concern to us. We’d just been through getting a new card after our old account was compromised. A call to American Express didn’t help us figure out what the charge was and we had to put an alert on our card to make sure there were no further potentially fraudulent charges.
I had a theory that the charge was somehow related to my MinuteClinic visit, so I made my first of many calls to the third circle of hell that is the MinuteClinic Customer Service line. I got someone on the phone inexplicably fast, given what I’d later experience, but she was not much help. After asking a series of questions, the first person I spoke to at MinuteClinic customer service said to me “yes, you did go to the clinic on October 3″.
Optimist that I am, I thought that was her just letting me know that she found my record. It wasn’t. That was the full extent of the information that she was able to give me. I already knew that I’d been to the clinic. I explained my plight again – I was on vacation with a credit card that was nearly impossible to use because of a potentially fraudulent charge at CVS MinuteClinic. She told me that was a question for the billing department.
“Great”, I said, “go on and connect me to billing and we’ll get this ironed out”. She wasn’t able to do that since the billing department was only open Monday through Friday and this was Saturday. Wonderful. They bill on Saturday, but the bill-er’s are inexplicably not present. So, because of CVS MinuteClinic, we were stuck in Florida with a credit card that was only good for picking door locks.
After we returned home, I made nine different calls trying to reach the MinuteClinic billing department. Here is what I learned from those calls – I learned that my call is important to them. It isn’t important enough to actually answer my call, but I must put off an aura of importance that they value because they told me over and over how important it was that I called…each time the recording told me to continue holding. For seven of those calls I was not able to hold long enough to speak to a representative. On each of those seven calls I was on hold for more than forty-five minutes before I surrendered.
On the eighth call I got a different recording that instructed to call back when the billing office was open from 9-5, Monday through Friday.
I’d dialed them at 3p.m. on a Wednesday.
I decided to try the social media route. I posted a gripe about the “call back when we’re open” message and got a rapid reply. “Please send us your name and email, we’ll have someone get in touch with you.” Foolishly, I thought this was the beginning of the end of my battle. Eighteen hours later, I’d not received an email or a call. I’d have to fight on.
And On The Ninth Call, A Miracle Happened
I decided to let CVS Minute Clinic have one more shot at getting this right.
After one hour and six minutes of listening to hold music and being reminded how important my call was, I heard someone come on the line and ask if she could help me. I opened by acknowledging that I was sure she heard this complaint all day, but I thought she should know that being on hold for an hour and six minutes didn’t make me feel important. Now, when I said that I didn’t expect that she’d say “I’m sorry, it’s all my fault” because it probably wasn’t.
I did expect her to say something more than “yeah, it’s bad”. Restating the obvious sometimes only magnifies it.
So I explained my situation. That’s not true, I told her that their hold music sucks and then I explained my situation.
Four minutes. That’s all it took. She was efficient in the way that I’d hope that someone who I’d spent six hours of my life waiting to talk to would be. The charge was finally confirmed as legitimate and my CVS MinuteClinic Customer Service ordeal came to an end. I thanked her for her help and let her move on to the next person who, I’m sure, would start their conversation with “do you have any idea how long I’ve been on hold?”
Sometimes, I look back on situations and ask myself what I’d do differently if given the chance. In this case, I’d have to say that I’d be more resistant to allergens. Also, I’d have put my headphones on and listened to better music than that stuff CVS chose for their hold music.
I wonder if CVS MinuteClinic ever wonders what they could do to make situations right. If they do, compensating me for my time would be a nice place to start.
Today, I opened the door to take out the recycling. There was a baby on my doorstep.
Not a real baby. Well, wait. It was a real baby, just in a photo. The picture was under the edge of the doormat as if a person placed it there – under the mat enough to keep it from blowing away, but far enough exposed to make sure that it would be seen.
I have a history of doing things to mess with people, so I looked around to see who put the picture there. It seemed like something I’d do to someone else. There was no one around, so I picked the baby up and brought it inside. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m taking on a delicate subject. I find that when I’m touching on delicate subjects, doing so in a gentle and soothing way is best. This is a tale of things that should be handled gently, handled in a way that is anything but gentle.
After a long day of travel, I wanted a few minutes of peace before enjoying a visit with my son at his university. I’d selected a Comfort Inn for my stay. I checked in, dropped my luggage, plugged in my iPhone and walked in to the bathroom to take some relief which I really should have taken miles and miles sooner.
I told you this was a delicate subject.
It Gets Worse From Here, Hang On
So after that relief, I reached for the toilet paper. A tug at the end of the roll got the amount of paper I needed. My finger tips told my brain that this was not my usual grade of toilet tissue. My brain was too focused on the task at hand to listen to my fingers. I went on and did what we all do with toilet paper.
Not only was this not my usual grade of toilet tissue, it was nearly as harsh as my usual grade of sandpaper. Read the rest of this entry »
On my way to Raleigh. Tomorrow is my son’s Senior Day performance with the NC State Marching Band, his last show in front of the home crowd.
It’s been a long time since he got his first horn in middle school. Here is a piece I wrote about that horn during his freshman year at college (you’ll have to hit “view original” below to see the whole thing) . It’s been a great ride.
And it turns out that rent-to-own isn’t always a sucker’s bet. Usually, but not always.
Originally posted on Blurt:
The Best Money I Ever Spent sits quietly in a black hardshell case in a closet.
In the right hands, it can be assembled and ready to go in moments. It is quiet and dark in the case. When those hands open the case and carry it into the light, it sings again. I’ve smiled anytime The Best Money I Ever Spent sang a note.
View original 337 more words
Today’s work is over at Long Awkward Pause. Go on over for the sad tale of the joke that nearly was.
Originally posted on Long Awkward Pause:
I have had a goal for a long time. It hasn’t been my only goal. I’m working toward other important goals, like owning a blimp and having my own mariachi band. What I’m talking about is my most important goal.
I want to be part of a bar joke.
You know the jokes I’m talking about, right? Someone, or a group, walks in to a bar and the joke lies in their interaction with the bartender. For example: A guy walks in to a bar. He’s carrying jumper cables. The bartender says “you can stay as long as you don’t start anything”.
On Friday night, I was close. So stinkin’ close.
The Joke Sets Itself Up
My wife and I went to our favorite Italian…
View original 568 more words