November 12th, 2009


Not So Family Friendly Policy

Today I decided to set up our (mine and my husband's) optometry appointments, since if we don't use our benefits by the end of the year, we'll have essentially paid for a whole year of insurance for nothing (we are allowed one visit per calendar year, with either glasses or contacts).

I call the optometrist where we've been going for the past three years. We always set up our appointments on a Saturday, and always one right after another. We have one car, both of us work during the week, get in late at night, so the Saturday appointment is a necessity and we do everything all at once to make it the most convenient for us.

Except when I called to set up the appointments, I was told that their new policy was that family members could not be seen on the same day. We had to set up two separate appointments on two separate days. I asked if she was kidding and she said no, they've found that if families set up appointments together then cancel, the doctor is out for more than one visit on the day so they've instituted the new policy.

I asked if they charged a cancellation fee for cancelled appointments in the event that someone pulled a no show and they said no. It was this or nothing. Well that made no sense to me that they would do opt to put in place a rather inconvenient policy instead of instituting some kind of cancellation fee policy to compensate the doctor if someone didn't show up. I understand that it can be inconvenient for them if people cancel, but we have never have bailed on an appointment in the past and have been good customers, so that really made the whole thing rather annoying.

It was only when I said to her that I would have to get back to her and check our respective schedules, that she said she would check with her supervisor if they could make an exception. I told her to please check, because if we had to set up separate appointments on separate days, there was a good possibility they would be losing two customers because of the inconvenience factor. She put me on hold, came back, said that she saw we had been customers in good standing, and that they would make an exception for us, but not to tell anyone. That's definitely good service on their part, but I still think they original policy makes for bad service. I wonder if they do this is if a parent wants to come in with a child and be seen together?

So what do you think, is it a weird policy and have you heard of anything like this before? I never have, which is why it took me very much by surprise.
  • mephron

This is going to take a while... may want to go have a drink.

About a year ago, my cable connection started getting kind of messed up. Massive lag, ten minute outages, that sort of thing. Since my cable company, Cablevision, also handles my phone, I'd also get no dial tone. This is, as they say, somewhat of a problem.

I called for service, and the cable tech comes, checks it and says, "Yeah, there's a problem." He goes outside, comes back about twenty minutes later, and says to me, "The bad news is, there's a place in the apartment complex crawlspace which is also very obviously a small-mammal nest, and it looks like they've chewed your line up. We'll have to rerun the post line. I'll call it in and they'll come back and take care of it."

A few days later, someone comes by, and goes poking around and redoing some stuff and says it's fixed. OK, I say, and go on about my business.

Flash forwards to a month ago. "Hey," I say, "My cable's getting as useless as it was this time last year!" I call to report, but I'm going on vacation before they can get a guy out here, so I tell them to make a note of my complaint and I'll call back when I get back.

Today I'm home from work sick, and my cable is pretty useless. I call Cablevision again, and they were able to actually get a tech out here today! In fact, it's the tech who was here the first time last year!

He does the same thing, and when he comes back, he says, "I'm really sorry about this, but apparently the jackasses didn't actually re-run the post line, they just cut the chewed-on part and patched new cable in. They didn't even do a good job of it, so it's going bad again."

So yes, the people that Cablevision subcontracts their line-running to cut corners, and now I have to have this taken care of all over again, and hope they don't just screw around this time and I have to deal with it NEXT YEAR all over again.

(On the bright side, the tech called into the depot, said I was irate and wanted something done about this fast, and he said I should get some kind of compensation for it as well (in his opinion). So the tech was really good about things, and I called in to make sure he got complemented for his good work, because the bad_service wasn't HIM, and as much as we bitch about bad service, when someone does a good job, I think they deserve a complement.)