The Life and Times of a Former Hoss: The Gift and the Curse

Shocking, another 1L blog. I bet if we didn't collectively spend so much time blogging, 1L may be less stressful. Find my thoughts on life, law, and... something else cliche that starts with an L.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dear Hospital for Joint Diseases

Normally I try to respect people's privacy on this blog and try to avoid using any proper names. However, in this case I will make an exception. The following is a letter I am writing to the hospital concerning their business practices which I think deserve to be exposed.

Hospital for Joint Diseases
Orthopaedic Institute
PO Box 33107
Hartford, CT 06150-3107

To whom it may concern:

I have been fortunate to only have to deal with your institute on only one occasion, yet this occurrence has left me appalled with the manner in which you, or perhaps your employees, see fit with which to conduct business. Perhaps I am a bit naïve in assuming that a corporation has a conscience in that it desires to maintain a positive corporate image amongst the consuming public that it relies on for business.

In October 2006 I was referred to your institute by the NYU Student Health Care Center. After receiving my bill for services, I noticed a few irregularities. Most notably, my insurance information which I had provided at the time of service was absent from the bill. Secondly, I was double-billed for the splints that I received. The bottom of the bill reads “For questions regarding your bill please contact customer service at (800) 237-6977. Or write to: Hospital for Joint Diseases, Orthopaedic Institute, PO Box 33107, Hartford, CT 06150-3107.” Since the drafters of this paperwork decided to use the conjunctive phrase “or,” I assume it was acceptable to either call about my concerns “or” submit them in writing to the address provided. Apparently, this was a novel interpretation. I submitted a letter detailing my questions and providing (for a second time, no less) my insurance information to the address provided. I have attached a copy of this letter for your convenience, since it was apparently lost or never read in the first instance.

Roughly one month later, I received a call from your bill collection department demanding payment for services rendered. I explained to the woman on the phone what I have just detailed above. At that time, I was informed that the PO Box listed was nothing but a “drop box” from which checks are collected by the woman in your bill collection department. This seems to be not only a confusing, but borderline idiotic corporate practice. Why would you entitle the address location as “customer service” if no customer can reasonably expect to receive service for correspondence sent to that location. Perhaps a name change is in order. While the woman could not answer my questions regarding the charges, she did offer to take my insurance information from me and forward the bill to my insurance company to avoid the inevitable delay associated with traditional US post. I inquired whether or not she would be sending me an adjusted bill and at this point she informed me that I could expect to receive the bill from my insurance policy after they had made the appropriate payments under my plan.

On January 27th, 2007 I received a call at 8:00 AM from yet another woman in your billing department who demanded payment on the bill (the choice of the word “demanded” was a conscious one, as the woman immediately started the phone conversation very aggressively and in a confrontational manner). I will not comment on the practice of calling customers’ homes at 8:00 AM on a Saturday. After the woman lectured me about the importance of not ignoring bills and fulfilling my financial obligations, I then proceeded to inform her of my prior dealings with your company. After discussing the problems with insurance, she then told me that your company could do nothing to accommodate me because they only have a 90-day window during which to submit that information. While I understand the need to have a temporal limit on such things, I received treatment on October 7th and submitted my information to you on October 26th via mail. Admittedly my math skills have faded through the years, but I am pretty sure that nineteen is still less than ninety. I was also told that she could not help me because she is in the billing department and does not handle customer service. Certainly specialization has its role in the workplace, but not the extent that a customer with genuine concerns gets deferred and referred from one department to the next, each disclaiming their culpability for the aforementioned event.

Finally, if this were the end of the situation I would probably just grit my teeth, write my check, and regret going to your hospital for service while vowing never to make the same mistake again. However, I received a mysterious phone call around 7:00 PM tonight and upon answering it, the caller hung up. Initially this was shrugged off as merely a wrong number. Yet when I received another call followed by a hang-up at 9:00 PM my curiosity got the best of me. Lo and behold, upon checking my logged caller ID numbers I discovered that both of the calls came from the same reputable woman who had called me on Saturday morning. This sort of childish behavior is to be expected from middle school girls, certainly not from a professional in the medical industry. I am utterly appalled by the manner in which I have been treated and I will be filing a report with the Better Business Bureau in regards to your business practices. Admittedly, I am not expecting a response from this letter since your customer service mailbox is apparently little more than a box from which you collect checks but I pray that you will reconsider some of these atrocious business practices.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Goodbye peeps!

After ragging on BV for never posting on his blog, I find myself wanting to take mine down. I guess I'm getting older and, being faced with applying for jobs soon, I realized that I'm just way too google-able. Since all I really do is use this blog for sarcastic rants about things that bother me, it's probably not the best reflection of me as a person for prospective employers to see. So, this will be the last post on this blog and it will be taken down within the week. Luckily, most of you that read it are just my friends so it's not like you're gonna miss out on the stories. Peace.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Redemption, Thy Name is Civil Procedure

After getting my torts grade I was a little disheartened, but CivPro was released today and it made my night. But I'm not here to talk about grades because, hey, who likes to do that anyway. I'm here to share a story of a pearl necklace:

Flash back to the first few months of law school. There was a social event being hosted at some bar in the city, and like all good 1Ls (or those of us that have just graduated college) we thought it would be a good idea to pre-game at someone's apartment. Well, scratch that. The apartment was the third-level pregaming. First, we crashed the SBA event for their free booze. Then, we went to a sushi place where, if you order more than 20 bucks or so, you get all you can drink white wine and sake. And THEN we went to my friend's apartment. Long introduction short, we were pretty sloshed.

We're all standing around shooting the shit when someone suggests shots. Oh my, this sounds like a wonderful idea, BRING OUT THE VODKA. As the shots are being poured, someone decides a toast needs to be made. Everyone keeps chanting for a toast (a la the Arrested Development episode where everyone is begging for a speech but no one wants to step to the plate). Now, I only know one toast... well, I should clarify. I only know one toast well enough to deliver it while drunk and not mess it up, but at this point I didn't know a lot of these people well enough and was not sure they could handle my sense of humor (read: a 12 year old boy's sense of humor). But, someone needed to step to the plate so I stepped up and delivered.

"A toast to Honor," I declared.
"To honor!" yelled the group.
"Get honor, stay honor, and if you can't come in her, come honor!"

As you could expect, most of the guys erupted in laughter while the remaining girls stared at me in stunned silence (I still think they were fighting to hold back the laugher). But, one woman spoke her mind.

"Oh God, you aren't one of those guys that aims for the hair are you? Man, I absolutely hate that. It gets all sticky and even when you try to shampoo it out, the water makes it stick in there even worse. It is soooo annoying."

At this point, the silence of the room was deafening. All of us are looking around awkwardly and then decide to find refuge from the awkwardity at the bottom of our shot glasses. Now, these sort of comments are generally shocking but when it comes from someone of these, errrr, ummmm, well, let's just say she has a nice personality. Except that she doesn't..... Anyway, this particular girl has since acquired quite a few nicknames including White Stripes (this is not a reference to the Crest product) and Cruella Deville.

Fast forward to today: While sitting in class, one of my classmates (a girl who was present on that day) leans over to me and says, "I have to tell you something, and it's very immature, but I can't hold it in any longer and I know you'll appreciate it. Look around the room and see if you notice someone wearing a particularly appropriate accessory."

I scanned the room for about 2 minutes and then I found it: the pearl necklace.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Christmas came 4 days late this year....

And on that day, the Gamecocks won our bowl game and Clemson lost theirs. What a marvelous day in our household and Gamecock nation. There is a certain feeling of pride the next day when you are out and you see all the alumni or fans wearing their Gamecock gear and chatting them up about the game. Plus, Clemson also losing to a bad SEC team made this all the more sweet.

Clemson lost before our game began, and my girlfriend, knowing how foul I become when USC loses its games, asked me if Clemson lost and we lost, if it would make it okay? It doesn't, but it certainly helps. So, when they lose and we win it is doubly sweet. Also, maybe our rivalry is starting to get some more national attention. The announcers of our bowl game got a hint of it. They were like, "This morning there were a lot of cheers erupting in the lobby of our hotel as if the USC game had just started and we couldn't figure out why it was so loud. Then we got down to the hotel bar and we saw that Clemson had just lost. Man, there is some kind of hatred between South Carolina and Clemson." Damn right. We also got a shoutout in the Charlotte Observer in the list of top 10 sporting events in the Carolinas (ranked even higher than the Duke/Chapel Hill basketball rivalry). Now that we've got Spurrier, I'm predicting a new winning streak for the Garnet and Black.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Home Is F'n Sweet

I haven't been doing much of anything these past few days and it has been absolutely fantastic. Christmas came and went and since then, I have pretty much been sitting on my (increasingly) fatter ass and watching TV and playing Tiger Woods golf and poker. I just want to be able to do absolutely nothing for the next few days. The USC bowl game is coming up on the 29th and that is pretty much the higlight of the next few days.

B (@ UVA) has been telling me that he already has grade anticipation, which isn't really too surprising. Everywhere you turn it seems like someone is mentioning grades. Even in Charlotte, I am not surrounded by anyone who goes to law school but my parents don't even help. These will be fairly typical conversations.

Me: "Yeah, we don't even find out about our grades til February.
Dad: "Really? February? After all that time you put in studying you don't find out til February?!?"
Me: "Yup."
Dad: "Wow, that really sucks."
Me: "Thanks for reminding me."

Me: "Interviews for our 2L summer job happen before the start of our second year."
Dad: "So, you won't even have any of your 2L grades yet right? So, pretty much everything rides on your 1L grades... wow."
Me: "Yeah, no pressure though, right?"

At the same time, I've been able to keep the grades off my mind. Exams are over, me thinking about them certainly isn't going to change anything, so why would I waste my time. That's why I was surprised when B said a friend of his had IMed him asking, "Have you heard anything about grades yet?" Are you serious? Hit up the alchohol a little harder and just forget about it buddy. It's winter break and law students everywhere should be enjoying their time off. Hope everyone's holidays are going well.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

This old dog learned a new trick

For the incoming 1Ls next year:

When you're tired and need a quick pick me up (and don't feel like doing an eight ball like some of your classmates) quickly down two cups of coffee (for the dumb ones entering the class, it may be smart to wait for the coffee to cool) and then take a 20-30 minute nap. You will wake up feel super refreshed and ready to take on the world.

Now it really is the FINAL countdown

So, less than 8 hours away from my final final now and today has started off with a bang. Yup, it's 6:15 am and since I've already cooked and eaten breakfast that puts my wake-up time around 5:45 am. I had some awful dreams last night that ended with me waking up feeling kind of anxious and nervous. First, I had an odd dream where I went to my exam and sat down to take it and it was a multiple choice question. So, I knock that out in like 45 minutes but since we have four hours for the exam I really feel like I shouldn't leave so I wait for other people to start finishing. After going up to turn into that part of the exam, then we are given 6 long essay questions that we're allowed to do at home but for some reason I take it into my head that, even though this test was supposed to end at 1:30 technically we "had four hours" for the exam so I bring back the essay questions and decide I'll just take a nap for a bit instead. Of course, I end up sleeping through the 1:30 deadline and end up arguing with the school about how I didn't use my four hours because I was sleeping. I think finals just need to end.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pop quiz hot-shot: Can I learn all of contracts law in 2 days?

I guess we're going to have to find out. I felt like I didn't know shit about contracts (it was a class that I was kind of excited about at the beginning of the semester, but then became disinterested in) but now that I have been going through some commercial outlines and my notes/outline, I feel like a lot of it is coming back to me. If I can just keep my nose to the grindstone (or whatever it is you're supposed to keep your nose to), I feel like I have a shot at not screwing the pooch on this one.

On a related note, I need to stop thinking about my torts exam because I keep realizing things that I screwed up. I'm pretty sure I completely messed up a damages question and have only been comforted by the fact that it was only 1/3rd of a 40% question, so what is that, like 13%? That's not too bad, and surely I must have said something in there to get some points. But I'm pretty sure I screwed it bad... so, onward and upward we go.

For some odd reason, I woke up at 5:30 this morning unassisted by an alarm (which, granted, was set for 6:00 but I didn't see the need for those extra 30 minutes of sleep). Unfortunately, I agreed to run stairs with my workout buddy which kicked my ass. Walking back to my apartment I felt lightheaded, nauseous, and like I was going to vomit. So, instead of getting an early start to the day I literally passed out in my bed for about an hour, until some needy girl called and woke me up (no, I'm not talking about my girlfriend). I get a call from an 803 number that I don't recognize and I decide to answer it (which is risky, because the last time I did that it turned out to be an crazy ex's number that I had deleted from my phone and then forgotten it was her number... she was not happy, but then again, she's psycho). It turns out to be some little girl with cancer asking for blood donations. I would have been more sympathetic, but she woke me up from a nap so it looks like it up to someone else to save her life. Not it!