For what it’s worth…

As a follow-up from my earlier blog post “The Good, The Bad, and The Feminine Hygiene Products”…some mook in the marketing department at CVS is owed a pink slip today. Just Sayin’ Hope everyone had a good Valentine’s Day!


discoballLet the liquid diet begin!….Just got word from Anthem, big props go out to Amy the Customer Service Rep for actually doing what she said she would do. I know sounds simple right? But I have been constantly surprised that she has done exactly what she said she was going to do all along the process. Somebody needs to give her a raise! And not more than 5 minutes after I hung up with Anthem, Bev from Summa called me and also gave me the news that we were ready to fire up the disco ball. I go next Monday and give them the rest of what I owe them and we start talking about surgery dates. Hopefully we can still shoot for early mid-April. That will give me a good jump on getting into my Speedo when summer hits…Ha…like that would ever happen! Maybe by next summer :) . So next up, the date needs to be set and I need to start my 6 weeks of Optifast.

Can’t Wait!

The good, the bad and the feminine hygiene products…

I had the opportunity to visit my nearby CVS drug store over the weekend. Basically I was revisiting the scene of the crime where I last saw my mother of the year candidate.  Figured if I was lucky I just might hit the quinella and find a father of the year award candidate this time around….no such luck this time.  However, I am not writing this blog post for nothing!  So I pop into and am there to buy only 3 items (though 4 make it to the counter.) These items include: a Valentine’s Day card for my lovely wife, nasal spray, toothpaste and sugar free gum.  Now you must admit, these are some pretty random items that I have carefully picked out for purchase.

So after showing my rewards card and swiping my debit card to pay for the items the cashier says “ooohhh, looks like you got some coupons coming!” as my receipt starts to print out. Now this was said in kind of a high pitched voice and delivered in a manner that you though that something very special was happening. The first thing I begin to notice is that the receipt that is coming out of the printer seems to be never ending. By the time it stopped printing the receipt was almost 3 foot long…now I know what you are thinking…come on, 3 feet?!? Really? Okay…you got me…I was using the male measuring system, the same one where we try to convince women that 5 inches is actually 8….oh never mind…I am starting to digress and this is going way off track…So in actuality this receipt was closer to 16 to 18 inches based on the imperial measurement system we use here in the United States. For those of you in the Ukraine, this is the same length as 4 regular sized cans of borscht set end to end. It really doesn’t matter how you want to measure it, the damn thing was for 4 items and I got a receipt that is longer than when I go to the grocery store and buy 30 different items. For every item I purchased there was 4″ of receipt space allocated. Now in reality the four items fit nicely in about a 2″ of space on the receipt. So if the four items could fit neatly in just a fraction of the space, what was the other space being taken up with you ask? My super special coupons that I received of course.

Now I am a big fan of marketing, and I am always in awe of when things are targeted directly to me and it is like they are reading my mind.  So lets take a look at what the business intelligence analysts and the marketing department at CVS figured out based on my purchases that I should get special coupons.  Now I am more than part geek, and I have a Bachelors degree in marketing, so this type of stuff is like geek porn to me.  I am not saying that there is action in the the lumberyard, but it does give me a tingly feeling. You know what I am saying…not quite the same feeling that goat porn has for my Ukrainian brothers, but close.  I figured that since every time I make a purchase at CVS they scan my rewards card to collect marketing data.  You know the type of card I am talking about, it is one of many you have floating around on your keyring. (that is a rant for another day.)  Now with all of the data that they collect based on my shopping habits I figure this is how they know what super special coupons they should give me.

So the first coupon on the receipt is for a 10% discount on any vitamin or diet nutrition purchase, so far I am more than a little has been awhile since I bought some protein shakes here, but this is on target for me at this given time.  Unless of course they had a scale embedded on the floor in fron of the cash register and they made that determination based on my weight.

The second coupon that prints on the receipt is for $2 off a cosmetics purchase of $10 or more….now whoa Nellie, are you kidding me where did this come from? Okay maybe it is an anomaly, just a fluke in the the algorithm that spit out this random coupon or maybe they figured out that I am married based on the Valentine’s card I purchased. And these super smart marketing guru’s are using this information to get me to buy some new lipstick for my wife. Note to you guys out there. You can score major points by knowing what shade of lipstick your wife or girlfriend uses. For the record my wife likes sugar maple by Estee Lauder.

Okay back to our regularly scheduled blog post. So now comes the 3rd coupon, $1 off any feminine hygiene or sanitary protection product. Now just what in the fuck is this all about!?!?!?…$1 off on feminine hygiene products? What data set were they using to get this outcome? All I know at this time is either they need to fire someone in the marketing department, or they are way beyond super smart and they are just letting me know that my vision of my romantic Valentine’s Day plans are about to be royally screwed up! Now I don’t wish bad luck on anyone, but here is to hoping that some pretentious mook in the marketing department is getting his pink slip this week! Because I got some plans for this Thursday and they DON’T include feminine hygiene products! Just Saying!

Worst fears not quite realized….

I was right…I should have bet more that 811 Hryvnia’s that I would not get an answer today from Anthem. Here is the latest as I know it. So this morning I woke up feeling pretty good…reasonable nights sleep, not the best and not the worst. I went into the day with the glass is “half full attitude.” Anthem is 3 hours behind me so I knew if I was going to hear anything it would not be until later in the day. About noon I figured I would first ping my trusty financial contact Bev at Summa. I shot Bev off a quick e-mail asking her if by any chance she has heard anything. It only took about fifteen minutes to get a reply, Bev let me know that she spoke to Manuel at Anthem and no determination has been made. Okay…it is still early, only 9:00AM west coast time, so there is still hope. My day was busy with work and I figured that if I didn’t hear anything from my girl Amy at Anthem by 4:00PM I would give them a call. (I did this yesterday only to be told after waiting on hold 18 minutes it was still not approved.) What do you know at 2:50PM Eastern Standard Time my phone rang and it was Amy from Anthem on the line. I knew immediately she didn’t have an answer. I was pretty quick to pick that up as she started the call off by saying “hello Sir, I am sorry, but I am not calling with good news.” My heart sank immediately…were my worst fears actually going to be realized? Amy caught herself and said sorry, I mean I just don’t have news yet, meaning they have not made a determination. Thanks Amy…thanks for that little tease and kick in the stomach. So now I can breathe a little relief…and honestly I was expecting this. I was nice to Amy and let her know that this news while I found disappointing, it was expected and I by no means am going to shoot the messenger on this. Amy was very professional and furthered her information to me…apparently since the company I work for is part of a national PPO plan the time lines for making a decision were up to 15 days and not 7. So that means that I could not have a determination for at least another week and a half aaaaaarrrrrrrggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…. Now the only, and I mean only ray of sunshine in this whole fucking mess…(Yeah I went there….I dropped the F bomb…I just took this blog to NSFW status.) Is that Amy said due to the fact that they were not giving here the correct information to give to me she was trying to escalate this and get an answer earlier. Okay…did you just hear that intake of air…that was me holding my breath waiting in anticipation and starting to count the minutes till she calls with news…..NOT

So the saga continues folks…stay tuned in

Get your bets down…

The wait on approval is killing me…I actually dreamed last night that I was declined and that I was going to have to go through all of my testing again. Arrrgghhhh…when stuff like that happens then I need to find something to take my mind off of it. I know I am supposed to hear by tomorrow…but I am a betting man, and if I could wager on this I would bet a $100 (For the Ukrainian readers that is 811.40 Hryvnia’s at today’s current exchange rate. On the black market it may be more.) that I wont have an answer tomorrow and have to sit through the weekend being frustrated. Any takers…#betmeabenjamin

Yes Virginia!…there is a Santa Claus!

The customer service representative made me a believer, she did call me back yesterday and let me know that there will be a determination made by this Friday (2 days from now.) She even went so far as to tell me that she would check tomorrow just to see if they got to my case early and would call me and let me know. As well she opened up a case number so if I want to call I have something to follow up with. Isn’t this how it is all supposed to work? Instead we always tend to expect a level of service that falls somewhere between non-existent and disappointing. I find it odd when I am actually helped and treated in a respectful manner. Other companies need to take a hint form Anthem.

Where’s the Borscht!

Arrrrggghhhhhh……Okay…so I got that out of my system. I just got off the phone with Anthem and they let me know that they needed to request more “critical” information from the bariatric office last week. Not sure what the hell that meant! Fortunately they did tell me that the office responded immediately with the info…I mean honestly, what other “critical info” could they need about me. Maybe they needed to know what I had for lunch every Tuesday for the past year or how many times I went through the drive thru at McDonalds since 2009.

This process is frustrating…I know it takes time….I know the process is daunting…I know I need to be patient…I keep telling myself these things…but I just want to get on with the show. I am feeling like I am in a rollercoaster line in at an amusement park….you know the kind of line that snakes back and forth in a serpentine fashion…. and every time you think you are getting closer to getting to the front, the line makes a turn and you go back the other way heading in the opposite direction. line for Millennium Force Okay…for my Ukrainian readers…this would be the equivalent of standing in a never ending line to get a bowl of some piping hot borscht, you can smell it (not sure that is the most appetizing smell), but you never get to taste it (that is probably not a bad thing either).

The customer service rep I spoke with at Anthem said that she would follow up with the nurse that is reviewing my file and would let me know what she finds out. She even went on to say that if they told her it would take another week for a decision, that she would follow up with them daily checking to see when they make a determination and then call me immediately. Okay…I am going to treat this like Santa Claus. I want to believe this is true…but until I see it happen then I am not getting my hopes up.

So the clock keeps ticking…I am still hopeful that I can still make an April surgery date, but I need this process to move a little faster for that to be a reality.

Quick Update

hoopJust a quick update. I am still waiting to hear back from the insurance company whether or not they have everything they need in order to approve me for my surgery. I did verify yesterday with Bev at the Bariatric office that indeed all of my paperwork has been submitted. So now I wait for a pencil pusher some where to decide whether or not I have to jump through another hoop. Waiting for this approval is definitely taxing my patience. #fatandfrustrated