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10.08.2013

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE INSUFFERABLE






There are unique things about where I live.  Some are grand and speak to that deep place of wildness that is a big part of who I am.  Nature, breathtaking beauty and harsh ruggedness, big blue skies by day, night skies full of stars, and the untamed wind are just some of things that are unique and grand here.  They don't seem to get old to me.


There are though some frustrating parts of living in this area.  It exasperates and exhausts me sometimes. One is the availability of things.  There is not a lot of choice for shopping, for purchasing things.  Stores have what appears to be a more scaled back variety of offerings of products.  Things I have come to love from back home you just can't get here. 

I suppose in all reality none of us need that many choices.  We all still have far more than most people in other parts of the world will ever have.  I do though sometimes say to my husband when embarking on a shopping trip, "Honey, let's go to town for supplies - a 50 gallon drum of laundry detergent, a 50 pound bag of flour, and a side of beef!"  It's a drive to "town"!

There are not that many stores here either and the big named stores; JCPenney's, Bed/Bath/Beyond, Home Depot, Target, Pier One and Kohls are small mini versions of what you might find in a more non-western part of the country.  Seriously I think the JCPenney [not a shopper there really even living back in the Midwest] has literally 4 men's shirt styles and colors available.  I have only ventured in there out of sheer clothing desperation since there is really no other options.


Most definitely the most frustrating part of living in this part of Arizona is the customer service.  There is absolutely none.  It really doesn't matter what sector you are needing customer service in, it just doesn't exist.  I've yet to figure out why this area is horrible at any kind of customer service.  Thinking it was just me that has had some negative experiences in the customer service arena, I asked others who have lived here a long time about it.  They concur what I have experienced is the norm.  My dander has gotten raised on a regular basis from everything to my regular interactions with the Pharmacy employees at CVS, to contractors, to lab phlebotomists, to a great many restaurants and store clerks.

Case in point; when living back in Elkhart, Indiana the CVS pharmacist would call my name out loud as I walked up to the counter.  He always claimed he knew my name because I was one of his favorite clients.  I think he knew my name because he cared.  I knew he cared about my health.  Those prescriptions that keep me alive were not transactions to him but connected to a live person who mattered. 

My first experience with the CVS here was horrible. They didn't have the medication I needed, sent us on a wild goose chase to another CVS 30 minutes away (there are only two in a region with a population of about 52,000) that was closed by the time we drove the 30 minutes.  They have filled things wrong consistently, not had the medication I need monthly or have billed my insurance incorrectly literally EVERY time I go in.  Last week I spent an hour picking up a prescription I had reordered the day before for pick up the next day.  They had once again not filled it correctly, billed my insurance wrong and then debited my HSA card with the wrong amount, re-credited it and then were unable to access the funds because of the stall of the re-credit. 

It's a bit disheartening at times, and frightening, for someone who has some chronic health issues that require medication to stay on this side of the crematory [my wishes are cremation!].  In exasperation one day, after yet another life-sucking experience with CVS, I declared to my husband, "A sick person could easily die out here in the wild west!" 

I do so miss my pharmacist from CVS in Elkhart, Indiana who cared about my health, good customer service that is just that-all about the customer, the availability of products, and  choices on somewhere else to go if you want to escape poor customer service!

Yesterday I went to have some labs drawn from an order my doctor back in Elkhart, Indiana had written for me.  There was not a sole in the lab - waiting room or behind the counter.  I stood patiently at the counter.  Eventually (about 5 minutes later) the phlebotomist appeared looking disgusted and asking if I had signed in.  I replied that I had not because there was no one in the lab when I walked in (while standing there waiting a couple came in).  She proceeded to scold me for not signing in several times and said she did not like to take people who "say" they were here before someone else.

Oh my ire flew into full swing.  [Really lady, I am going to make up a story about standing here for 5 minutes with no one else in the lab JUST to budge in front of someone!] I explained which labs I wanted to have drawn then (the non-fasting ones) and that I would come back after I had called my doctor to get an order for a cholesterol test (a fasting lab draw) I needed for my insurance health screening.  She looked at me with irritation and responded with terseness, "Well why don't you just wait and come back and do them all at once then?"  I explained again that based on the emptiness of the lab, how busy they are in the mornings when I need to be at work, I was choosing to do the non-fasting labs today and come back another day blah, blah, blah, blah - repeating again the reasons including the fact that I did not have the one test order yet.  She got short and ill-tempered about it again stating again what she thought I should do.  I told her that is not what I needed to do and could she do the labs now that I needed or not?  There was absolutely no reason she could not do them other than she was just a disagreeable person.

Now those that know something about me know I just don't put up with shit like that.  I will give you grace till the cows come home to a point, then I am just done.  It's a simple interaction.  It's not rocket science.  You are there to draw blood from people who either have insurance or the ability to pay cash.  People come there with an order for labs because of some sort of health reason or other. Do your damn job!  Do it well and not half-assed will you! 

I will not go back to that lab ever again.  When you have health issues you sure as hell don't need flack and bad customer service to further solidify the fact that you HAVE to rely on these systems due to chronic health issues.  It just digs the knife in even deeper.  I have since found out that many have had the same experience with that lab as did I. 

Why are service based industries so horrible out here?  I have yet to figure that out.  Neither have those that have lived here a lot longer than me.  It sends me over the edge and is a point of great aggravation in daily life here.  It could be that they are holding you captive - the supply is very limited but the demand is great.  Where else are you going to go to get what you need.  They have you over a barrel!

As I left CVS, after an hour of waiting to correct the error yet again this month, I drove toward Mingus Mountain and my heart began to calm down.  I had wanted to eat the Pharmacist for dinner, but held my appetite for fury at bay.  I was saving it for next month's prescription refill debacle that I have come to know will be there!  I've got at least enough of my life-sustaining medicine till next month.  It's a gamble after that!

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