July 26, 2011

The JBER Optometry Clinic

For those of you unfamiliar with the over-acronymed world of the military, "JBER" is "Joint-Base-Elmendorf-Richardson".

Now that we've gotten that out of the way...

Going to the eye doctor is one of my least favorite things to do.  I've always had weird eye doctors.  Mean ones.  Who tell me I'm not changing my contacts enough.  Contacts are expensive.  It's not my fault that the 2-week disposables don't disintegrate at the 14-day mark.  So now I have to lie about everything when I go to the eye doctor.  It's just easier that way.

It was a rather traumatic experience last year just to get an appointment and a prescription.  Their office hours are very flexible.  You can get an appointment approximately anytime between 9am and 3pm, Mon.-Fri.  

In my effort to not go back there, I decided to order some new contacts from 1-800-CONTACTS so I have a sufficient supply laid-in for the school year.

I knew it would be an easy ordering process as soon as I couldn't find my eye doctor's name on the 1-800-CONTACTS website.  But I decided to give it a whirl and just checked the box that said "JBER Alaska".  I had a copy of my prescription, so I put it in and crossed my fingers.

The phone call from customer service came the next day.  The JBER Optometry Clinic had been contacted to verify my prescription and it was confirmed that I was, in fact, not a patient, never was a patient, and had no file at the clinic.  I didn't exist. 

Awesome, I thought.  I'm really looking forward to sorting this mess out.

I happened to be on base when I got the phone call, so to the clinic I went.  The airmen on duty took great interest in my case by continuing their own personal conversation as they perused the computers for my name.  The Major who then came in to investigate assured me that I was a patient and the contacts company had had my name wrong.  That was the only explanation. The fact that those working at the clinic could not even pronounce my last name did not deter my confidence. 

Good, I told them.  And I was assured that I could contact the company right away, the company would call the clinic, and the clinic would verify my prescription.

I wasted no time.  I hadn't even left the hospital when I re-ordered by phone, telling 1-800-CONTACTS that the mess had been straightened out.

This was around 11am.  At 4:30pm, I was home when the second call that day came from customer service.

JBER had, yet again, denied my existence.

Wow.  It's a good thing they don't charge for their services, I thought. 

When I told the customer service lady that I had personally walked into the clinic to verify, she was flabbergasted.  I said, "I'm sorry the military doesn't know they're doing" and she just laughed.

Then, we came to a solution.  I would scan and email my prescription.  She would mail me my contacts.

I got them last week.

All I really have to say to JBER at this point is "ha".  I win.  I'll see you when my contacts run out.  In a couple of years.

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