Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pet Peeves II

"pet peeves" def. (mine) any situation or action that elicits swearing, mumbling, or scratching of the head

Here are ten that fit my criteria:

1. Progressive Insurance ads with frightfully cheerful actress Stephanie Courtney ("Flo"). Progressive, sell us insurance, not hype. I've yet to encounter a company that lives up to overblown commercial promises.

2. Reality TV shows so contrived that you wonder "What were they thinking?" Prime example: "Bridezilla." Are they for real? Will these bratty, money-grabbing brides-to-be survive married life?

3. Entertainment programs that masquerade as news programs with "special reports," expert guests, and exclusive interviews on important matters such as Jessica Simpson's weight, Michele Obama's wardrobe, or the "feud" between Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.

4. Doctors' offices where a live person never answers the phone; it's always voice mail. The recording at my physician's office, for example, says "Please leave your name and number and we'll get back to you within 24-48 hours." What if I need to cancel an appointment for the same day? One day I was told, "This number does not accept messages." Huh?

5. Web sites that require you to sign-up when you only want information or to check out its services or products.

6. Cable companies that want you to pay for movies over one year old. You can get many oldies at the library for free. What's the rationale behind charging an additional $3.99 or $4.99 to see a movie anyway?

7. Special "discounts" that are only good when it's most inconvenient.("Monday to Friday until 4:00 p.m.") But, no Sundays or holidays when we're more likely to use them.

8. Companies that won't negotiate a payment plan. If someone can only afford to pay $100 or $200 on an $800 bill. What sense does it make to demand the full amount? Some reps are rude in the process. Hey guys, someone who doesn't intend to pay, won't call to make arrangements. Duh.

9. Customer service reps--at the same company--who provide conflicting information. When I called Humana Medicare's helpline (on behalf of my 85-year old mother) to get information about dental benefits, I was told: three different names for the subcontractor that administers the benefits, the names of three dentists who I found out did not accept the plan, she's not covered, she is covered, she has the wrong i.d. number, they have no record of her. It took close to one month (and about seven long telephone calls) to resolve things.

10. Fitness instructors more intent on showing off their form and bodies than paying attention to the rest of us who can barely keep up. Doesn't the latest fitness wisdom caution that you don't have to exercise to exhaustion to get results?

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Distortions" in Health Care Debate?

Today's post is a follow-up to last week's blog "Can Obama Put the Care Back into Health?"

Link is to "Yahoo News": http://healthcarefactcheck.notlong.com.

Original article is from Associated Press (AP) by staff writer Charles Babington.

Here's an excerpt from "FACT CHECK: Distortions rife in health care debate."

Confusing claims and outright distortions have animated the national debate over changes in the health care system. Opponents of proposals by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats falsely claim that government agents will force elderly people to discuss end-of-life wishes. Obama has played down the possibility that a health care overhaul would cause large numbers of people to change doctors and insurers.