Last year, our AARP Medicare had a plan that included free over-the-counter drugs we could order online. This included things like aspirin, Tylenol, cold and allergy pills, vitamins, wipes, and other things old people need. Any time I hear the word "free", I listen up, sign up, and rejoice. When I got our new medicare plan for 2020, I was happy to see they were still offering that perk, but on New Years Day, I couldn't sign into the website I used last year to order. I called AARP Medicare customer service and learned they were using a different company to take care of that part of the plan this year. I was given the phone number that goes directly to that company. The person who answered that number had a heavy accent, I thought Mexican. They had gotten a little behind, and it would be January 20, I was told, before I would receive my card and catalogue.
Nothing came, however. I made calls, sometimes as many as four a day, trying to get answers and, hopefully, someone I could understand. I mentioned this to my oldest grandson's wife, and she said, "Oh, you can ask them to speak to someone with no accent. It's the law, they have to transfer you if you ask."
The last call I made to them in mid-January, the lady had promised I'd get my stuff from them after February 1. Today I called them for the first time in three weeks. What I do is call the AARP Medicare line, talk to someone who speaks clearly, and then get transferred to the OTC people, many of whom I can barely understand. Today, though, after they transferred me, I remembered what Heather told me: If you can't understand them, tell them you want to speak with someone who has no accent. I was braced and ready for the runaround I've been getting that ends with nothing to show, except my anger.
I had to ask the lady twice, but finally she transferred me: The person on the other line this time spoke slowly and clearly in a barely discernible southern accent. She sounded like somebody's grandmother. Clearly, she told me it was a huge problem for thousands of people; her guess is that this is a new company, and apparently they had no idea at what they were getting into. The situation is improving. Some people are actually getting their cards and catalogues now. Oh, and the people dealing with their customer service are in the Philippines On and on she talked, and as she did, her voice was oil on the troubled waters of my past experiences.
But that wasn't all: She told me about another service they offer at no cost: one of those "I've-fallen-and-I-can't-get-up" buttons; I can choose as either a bracelet or a necklace. What's this? Free? I'd never thought about this before, but at that moment I really needed one of those, and now that I think of it, so does Cliff. Mine will be here in a couple of weeks, since the most popular model is the one with GPS and it's on back order. I'll order his later.
So I didn't get the results I'd hoped for with the OTC meds. But a lady with a sweet-sounding voice talked me through my anger and gave me free stuff afterward.
My day was transformed by a voice and a freebie.