Archive for September, 2006

I love my staff…

Posted in From My Brain, From My Job on September 29, 2006 by TodaysAddiction

Josh is our little “counter boy/apprentice/slave”. The kid has had it rough. He grew up with a single parent who has been in and out of jail for drug abuse, he doesn’t know his Dad. His childhood was spent taking care of his Mom. No one has ever had any expectations from him, no goals, or given him sense of “tomorrow”. Currently he is living with friends, paying rent for the sofa. He works for us for tips that only come out to a couple of hundred a week.

He came into work today, not feeling real well. His stomach has been hurting since yesterday and he hasn’t been able to eat. We sent him to the ER where he listed the shop as his contact person. The hospital called to let us know they were taking him into surgery to remove his appendix and they called again to let us know he was out of surgery and doing well.

My staff just left the shop and are going to try to get up to his room to see him tonight. A few are going back tomorrow morning, I’ve got tomorrow afternoon. We decided to pool together some cash to get him through the next week or two, so he doesn’t have to stress about getting by. I’m trying to get him to stay here for a day or two until he gets back on his feet.

We all started getting a little weepy talking about him being in the hospital, alone. I don’t think any of our kids have ever been in an ER or hospital without a parent/sibling/spouse being there with them. His Mom is in the State Hospital right now under a police hold for a psyc eval… she’s the only family he has… and us.

Anyway… I just love *my* people… rallying around, gathering a few dollars and making sure he isn’t alone. Of all of the people I know, Josh deserves these most basic gestures of love.

**Update-9/30** I picked Josh up from the hospital today and tucked him onto the sofa at his place (where the video games are). When I arrived to pick him up, #1, who works admitting at the hospital was waiting there with him. We picked up his prescription, some juice and bottled water on the way home. He was lectured about mixing alcohol and the pain meds (and life in excess, in general), about taking better care of himself (because if he doesn’t, who will) and instructed that if his roomates want him to share his pills, to give them the stool softeners. A hug and a verbal smack up side the head… and I was outta there.
I think I’ve just adopted another kid…

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You know your losing it when…

Posted in From My Brain on September 27, 2006 by TodaysAddiction

You know you’ve lost it when that little voice inside of your head says “shut up already, you’re ahead” yet you just keep right on ranting.
You guys *do* hear that little voice too, don’t you?
~
I left Walgreens this morning with #5’s insurance paid Rx, an apology and a $20 gift-card for the inconvience…

The insurance ‘prefers’ to use OTC’s for ulcer treatment. I ‘prefer’ that she take what the doctor (as opposed to an insurance suit) wants her to take… All the pharmacy had to do was call the insurance company, and then they paid. Did they explain that to #5 last night? No. They couldn’t give her back the Rx paper because one of her medications was filled but she couldn’t afford the full price of the other because she was expecting to only have a co-pay, they said she could have had a pharmacy in her home town call and they could have transferred it today, but did they tell her that? Nope. They could have partially filled the Rx last night, charged her for a few pills and helped her straighten it out later in the week, during a time that works, but did they do that? No. They could take down the damn “pharmacy open 24 hours” sign… but no, the hand written note located on the pharmacy door at the back of the store was all of the information that middle of the night ER customers really need…

While I was questioning them about these things, they actually asked why *she* didn’t inquire about any of these options, when I responded: “Look, she is a dumb kid (sorry honey), in pain after spending the entire night in the ER… I mean really, it’s not like she was there for state paid methadone, the pharmacist should have given her some choices.” (no offense to anyone on methadone, I hear it’s great stuff) That’s when the gift-card bearing manager showed up. I knew it was time grab her pills and finally shuddup before I said something *really* stupid.

I doubt that telling people they are idiot’s is the best way to teach them compassion, but I took that route anyway…

Walgreens…

Posted in From My Brain on September 27, 2006 by TodaysAddiction

So #5 has an ulcer. She’s been having GI problems for a couple of weeks and went to the Doctor today, who sent her to the hospital for lab work and a GI series. Of course the wait was long because it wasn’t an emergency per se… but she was in a fair amount of pain.

Walgreens didn’t help.

Late tonight, she and her new little husb, with cash, prescriptions and insurance card in hand went to the only open pharmacy in town. The kids were told that the common medications prescribed were not covered by our insurance (blue cross/blue sheild, who covers everything except expermental medications and a few of the more expensive protease inhibitors… The co-pay can vary for $10 – $25, but she *has* coverage). They were charged $80+, but should have had a co-pay of no more than $30 for these meds. Distraught, they asked for the RX back so they could fill the prescriptions closer to their home (some 50 miles away) in the morning. The pharmacy told them they had already filled the prescriptions and disposed of the “paper” so they have no option but to return within a week. I told them I would drive across town and pick up the RX (and argue with the pharmacy about our insurance tonight and they could come by tomorrow and pick it up from me at a time that worked for them). Walgreens sign, ad and web site says the pharmacy is open 24 hours at this location. We arrive at 12:04 to find that they don’t have a “night pharmacist” any longer, so they close at midnight, posted at the pharmacy window deep within the bowels of the store. Grrrrr…

So the kid in pain is 50 miles away, has to drive another 100 miles round trip tomorrow and be charged full price for medications that our insurance covers (per their formulary, I checked), had the pharmacy even bothered to verify with the formulary, they would know that, but they either didn’t have the time or desire to deal with the insurance and thought “they are just dumb kids” and won’t know the difference (and the kids would have had, but they only had $60 thinking that because they had double the normal co-pay, they would have plenty of cash for the RX), or they try charging full price claiming that it’s not covered (to the dumb, desperate and painful) and then go back in and bill the insurance, keeping the difference, because they are the only place open late (not 24 hours), the customer has no other options if they need the medication right away. Oh and, she is supposed to work in the morning at 10am, so to get the medication, she will have to take a day off from work now for forgo the medication for another full day.

Don’t they realize that they are dealing with people who are sick and cranky (and that’s just me, imagine how #5 feels)? And then there is the sign out front that says one thing, to find that this huge corporation can’t afford the staff (or appearently to change their sinage), but not until you are on the inside?

I’ve only had “one nerve” all day. And Walgreens jumped right on it… but hey if it is easier for the pharmacy and they can talk the customer into paying full price rather than having to wait for the insurance to pay, if they bill insurance after the customer pays full price and they keep the difference… if they are the only pharmacy open at night (not) than I guess it’s all good. Hey I know all of this is helping #5’s ulcer…
Bastards.

(there, I feel a little better now… I’ll be all the way better after I write the Walgreens Consumer Relations Department)

Sleepy?

Posted in From My Brain, Quizes and Tags on September 25, 2006 by TodaysAddiction

Stolen from Sasha:

What Your Sleeping Position Says

You are calm and rational.
You are also giving and kind – a great friend.
You are easy going and trusting.
However, you are too sensible to fall for mind games.

What Does Your Sleeping Position Say About You?

Bored?

Posted in From My Brain, Just For Fun on September 24, 2006 by TodaysAddiction

Check out some of these urban myths and truths!

7 Tube Tagger Game

Posted in From My Brain, Quizes and Tags on September 22, 2006 by TodaysAddiction

What’s the game about?

List 7 songs you like, list them up and then tag other 7 people you know. (except I don’t tag… so of course I need 7 people to tag themselves!)

Keep the game going!

I was tagged by Carol

1. Who says you can’t go home. Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles

2. Ooh La La. Goldfrapp

3. Hide and Seek. Imogen Heap

4. Get out the map. Indigo Girls

5. Bananna Pancakes. Jack Johnson

6. Tin Cup Chalice. Jimmy Buffett

7. Your Man. Josh Turner

There are more, but I was going alphebetical by artist. It’s hard to just pick 7! Thanks for the tag Carol… now I need 7 “volunteers”.

Parking cars

Posted in From My Brain, From My Job on September 21, 2006 by TodaysAddiction

So here’s the quick timeline…

(warning: it’s not quick… read this only if you are looking for stuff to put you to sleep)

Downtown, for years, was erroding. Large buildings sat vacant, windows broken, small shops struggling to maintain. Years pass, and the pendulum swings. Our little downtown is growing, buildings are being renovated. There is are new businesses beginning to spring up and old ones are sprucing up. Every Wednesday one street is blocked off during the day for a farmers market where fresh produce, flowers and art can be purchased. On the first Wednesday of each month, businesses are open later, many offer special events and the sidewalks are abuzz with street performers (good ones) and pedestrians. Often you can hear a guitar, singer or a sax playing a tune. Yes, growth.

A pride of downtown is that we offer free parking. Part of our recent growth has involved building a hotel/conference center downtown. It has a private parking garage for hotel guests, but events at the conference center can occasionally make street parking congested, even though there is a free parking structure across the street. Many people hesitate to use the structure as they are a bit run down and are not regularily partrolled. Three businesses of an “in and out” nature were concerned with parking at “their end” of downtown because of the conference center, they went to city council and on several blocks near the conference center, a two hour limit was imposed. The rest of downtown remains uneffected by parking changes. The limit at one end of downtown however has drawn the interest of the city who wanted to do an independent parking study to see if parking changes were needed for the uneffected areas. My business is in an area affected by 2 hour parking.

The city is offering zero options for longer term parking for customers (people who work downtown are required to purchase permits for long term parking for the unkept parking garages, such that they are not taking up customer parking, which overall is a good thing as staff are not using parking that is already viewed as being in short supply).

The parking garages are city maintained with money that downtown merchants pay in the form of a parking tax. That tax also pays for the maintainence of free on-street parking. Currently, the city is in arrears of over 4 million dollars in defered parking maintainence. The city used “our” parking money else where and never did the required maintainence.

The parking study basis it’s recommendations on something called an 85% rule. If 85% of the spaces, on average are taken, customers circle the block looking for space or leave the area. Our weekday average is 70some%. It was found that on average, parking places had a turn over of about 1.5 hours. It is proposed that if a city is at or over 85% that changes need to be made. Per the study, we are fine.

If you isolate three blocks of downtown and only look at the lunch hour (between noon and 1) disregarding the rest of downtown, we sit at about 88%.

The city has decided to use the 88% figure and institute a two hour parking limit all across downtown Monday through Saturday from 9am to 6pm.

Some of us are upset as we have customers doing legitimate business that takes longer than 2 hours (us, hair salons, day spa’s). Some don’t want to give customers the message that we want them leave as opposed to having the option of an afternoon of shopping, having lunch and catching a movie. Some are concerned about shoppers that come from outlying area’s that will no longer be able to spend the day shopping and running errands. Remember that on average customers are turning over in less than two hours anyway… so the limits won’t apply to the average customer, but it cuts out the longer shopping trips, the people who tend to spend several hundred dollars per shopping trip.

Anyway, I’ve been going to meetings and have joined a couple of downtown specific groups… one is a neighborhood association for downtown residents and business owners, the other is a newly formed group to present a unified political voice for downtown. Parking is a major issue. Getting city council to listen to us is a major challenge. My personal theory is that two hour parking will do two things for the city. It will generate funds (parking tickets to penalize shoppers who overstay their welcome) and it will justify having paid the independent consultant to do the study in the first place. So the city is vested in making these changes regardless of the concerns of downtown business owners and customers.

The city will vote on this issue on Oct 23. It is looking like we will be holding a rally and marching from downtown to the city council to demand that the voice of downtown business owners be heard as any changes will greatly affect our customers and our businesses.

Yep… I’m (we, #2 is representing her work place as well and has been attending these meetings with me) are rallying, marching and storming city hall during the council meeting… *this* is going to be fun!

I think the “little guy” might just win this one after all.