Karen or Ken

Why have we become such an entitled society that such terms exist? I would hate to have the name or have named one of my children one of those names. I think it is unconscionable that names have been used to define those that feel entitled. Posts on social media are rife with stories of those that feel so entitled to cause physical or emotional pain or inconvenience to others.

Recently a social media friend made an offer to make a purchase for me from a craftsman that lives thousands of miles from me and whose shop I could not possible visit. She reached out to several other friends to purchase for them as well. My new fiber tool arrived yesterday and it is gorgeous, but I kept it to myself, only letting the friend know it arrived. This particular craftsman does a few events on the West Coast near their home, does online updates of their products where dozens of folks vie to make a purchase when the update goes live, and often offers their products as prizes for challenges for an online group of their followers. Additionally, they provide some of their tools to a couple of their grandchildren for them to sell and learn economics and earn money for big events. The friend that made the purchases and another friend who benefited from her visit posted their new tools online, so I did also. The friend then received a not nice message from someone who felt that it was unfair that they didn’t have the opportunity as well. As a result, we took our shares down from the site. To me, this is just another example of feeling entitled and it was a very petty expression of the message sender as my friend had been invited to the craftsman’s house to make the purchases.

Folks, life isn’t always about you. It isn’t always “fair.” Practice restraint and kindness, it goes a long way to making this a better world.

What is wrong with Healthcare in the US?

With recent health issues in our household, there have been a couple of hospitalizations and a whole new pharmacy on the dresser top. We are senior citizens and have Medicare plus a supplemental health plan and an Rx plan that is supposed to reduce the cost of prescription medications. The Medicare and supplemental plan have prevented any out of pocket expenses so far, though one of the doctor’s from the first hospitalization has billed Medicare for something for which they have already paid and Medicare declined to pay it a second time obviously. It still shows up on our summaries with a zero balance, but shows a declined expense. The pharmacy side is another story. We pay a significant monthly fee to have the medications at least partially paid for by the insurance plan, a three tier system that lets us know what our co-pay is for each med in the tier, but if we ask the pharmacy what the cash price is, it is often half what the co-pay would be. If we use the insurance, we are paying not only the monthly payment for the plan, but double the cost of paying cash on top of it. This just doesn’t make any sense to us. Fortunately, we know to ask what the difference would be and have paid cash for several of the scripts that have been called in.

Also, scripts never have a refill number on them anymore and most, except antibiotics, come in 90 supplies so a large bill every three months instead of spreading it out. To get a refill, you must contact the pharmacy who then contacts the physician for authorization on a medication that you know you will be required to take long term (not pain meds, but maintenance meds to prevent the condition from worsening). If you call the physician’s office, the robot voice tells you to contact the pharmacy.

The surgeon tells you to call and schedule a follow up in 4 weeks and the soonest they can see you is 5 weeks or more.

Our system is broken and we are among the lucky ones to be able to have and afford insurance to cover our issues. I don’t know what the solution is, but certainly not the way it is being done now.

Quality concerns

Just over a year ago, in the midst of the bloated car prices and dearth of available vehicles, we were forced to purchase a car. We had been relying on a 17 year old car with enough mileage to be on it’s return trip from the moon for over a year and because we are very rural, a reliable car was a necessity. We ended up with a new hybrid, paying over $3000 more than the suggested retail price with a very half-assed excuse for why they were tacking it on and couldn’t negotiate it down. And we had to drive to the next state over, about an hour to even look at one, lured by an online advertised price on another car that they had also tacked on the $3000 and refused to honor the advertised price. As it came from a different state, we had to wait for the registration to come with the plates from our state to get it inspected in our state. Well, it has been a year since the inspection and the new one was needed, plus we required the one year service inspection and tire rotation.

We live 16 miles from a closer dealer and more than double that from where we purchased it. We tried to get an appointment at the closer dealer, where everything could be done, and they didn’t have one available for a full month, after the car inspection was past due, so we contacted the farther dealer and could get in within the week, which meant a second appointment elsewhere in our state for the inspection next week. Off we went this morning. Of course, they “found” two other recommended “needs” so the cost went from under $20 to over $100. We agreed to their recommendations, got back in the car and pulled out of their lot to a scraping noise and a noticeable shimmy or bumping sensation. A quick u-turn and back in the service line and a “whatever you did created a major problem.” It turns out that their mechanic failed to torque on one of the tires and it was rattling loose. This could have been a very expensive, even fatal accident if that tire had come off. Though they corrected their error and apologized, we no longer have any trust in that dealership’s service center. Since the car is a year old, and under warranty, we will make appointments closer to home with enough lead time to guarantee our inspection doesn’t expire before they can get to it.

Whatever happened to quality assurance and reliable service.