In my daily stack of office mail today, there was an angry letter from a disgruntled retiree. This is a daily occurance; in fact, I believe that I could create a standard form letter for them to just fill in with the appropriate personal information and then sign. It would save us all a lot of time. It would definitely contain the following phrases:
- I worked for _______ for __ (usually somewhere between 15 and 30) years and this is the treatment I receive?
- I was so disappointed in your company.
- I spoke with _______ (some random person I’ve never, ever heard of…ever…and who clearly does not work for the company) and they assured me that this matter would be resolved soon.
- You have must have no conscience.
- You haven’t even extended the courtesy of…(a phone call, a letter, an offer to reneg on the contract that your union negotiated 35 years ago which I have absolutely no control over)
- At this point in time, we have had to pay over $_____ in medical expenses.
- I need to know immediately when I can expect a resolution.
I realize that right now, I probably don’t sound like I have a conscience. But that’s not the issue at hand here.
The issue at hand is that, as stated above, I have absolutely no control over how your particular union negotiated your retiree medical benefits umpteen years ago. I’m sorry if you’re unhappy with a $500 deductible or an 80% coinsurance rate, but that’s what you have and unless you want to leave our plan for the far less desirable Medicare Part B plan, then I can’t help you. I’m also sorry that you’re incredibly old and therefore have myriad medical problems or issues which, unfortunately, cost money to correct or ameliorate. Furthermore, I think that you should thank your stars that you worked for a company which even offered its employees a retiree medical plan in the first place. There are millions of Americans without any form of health insurance whatsoever that I’m sure would happily trade places with you right now.
Anyway, today’s letter was no exception to the form letter rule above. However, this one came with special little bonus at the end. Clearly, this retiree was a New Yorker reader, because he’d taken the trouble to clip the following cartoon and attach it to the second page of his letter:
Clever, Old Dude. Very clever, indeed.
But what you’ve failed to realize is that instead of alerting me to the fact that you are a savvy, sharp, witty Old Dude instead of just the more conventional, benign, grandfatherly Old Dude, you’ve just pissed me off. And now look — I’m having to vent that frustration on my stupid blog to all of my friends.
I wish that I had the kind of retired Old Dude lifestyle that allowed me to sit around, writing angry letters with baseless complaints to all kinds of corporations and then sit smugly around waiting on a reply. I wish that I had eight hours a day to do nothing but watch The Price Is Right, eat some Grape Nuts, water the lawn and take six naps. But I have a job.
And that job, as easy as it might seem to you, keeps me pretty damn busy and — believe it or not — I actually do answer letters and phone calls and e-mails and juggle constantly to keep things flowing and jiving so that everyone can get taken care of in the best way possible. In fact, my title really ought to be “Chick In Charge Of Putting Out Fires,” in the order and severity in which they occur, of course.
Do you think that just because I work at a corporate office that I don’t care about you? Or that I’m some jerky, middle-aged man sitting behind a desk with a beautiful view of the downtown skyline? Because I’m not. I’m an underpaid, overworked twenty-something chick sitting in a hole of an office with no window, wondering where the fuck her life went wrong. But under all normal circumstances, I would respond quickly and diligently to your letter and rectify your situation as well as I possibly could.
I’m sorry that you got confused between the personnel at the insurance company and the personnel here at your old company’s corporate office and have been waiting on a reply from them that you’re clearly never going to get. But your assy cartoon totally did not help matters. Because, look…now we’re both being dickheads about the situation. If that was your goal, then congratulations.
Oh, and your clever little letter went to the bottom of my Asshole Pile. See ya next week.