So I’m stuck with this bi-pap machine that may fill me with air but does not fill me with joy. Acknowledging its existence is bad enough, but actually reinforcing it is beyond the pale. However, as a responsible adult, I do what I must. And if that means buying replacement parts for the damn thing, then so be it.
The closest place to get those parts to my knowledge is down in Mason City, where I was introduced to the machine itself. Back in October, when I went to get the machine, I thought the staff of the Mercy Home Therapy Shoppe would be better off in a DMV – their levels of patience and service were a bit iffy. And the place looked halfway to a Hoarders episode, with medical crap haphazardly stacked everywhere.
The respiratory therapist was a half hour late for our appointment. I think I sat on a toilet chair to wait for him. I hope it wasn’t reconditioned.
Anyway, there are pieces parts of this steampunk elephant bi-pap apparatus that I’m supposed to change once a month. And I haven’t. But being a responsible adult, I finally decided to do my duty. I got to the Mercy Home Therapy Shoppe (and isn’t “shoppe” a colossally annoying way to spell “shop”?) on a Monday afternoon a half hour before closing. They were not happy to see me – they were already plenty busy hating on other customers.
They were wretched. Utterly wretched to an elderly woman begging to have her transaction canceled because it cost too much. When she asked when she would receive the item she clearly couldn’t afford, the clerk shouted at her. “One week? Two? How the heck should I know?” The woman was horribly embarrassed and left with her head bowed.
Next in line was a younger couple that had been referred and had a piece of paper that said what they needed. First off, the Shoppppe didn’t have what they’d advertised, but the clerks supposed that this couple should already know that. And should already know when they’d get more. And should know everything about this “free health screening” they’d been referred for. More shouting. C-a-r-e-f-u-l s-l-o-w s-h-o-u-t-i-n-g designed to humiliate rather than educate.
There comes a point when you start looking around for a Candid Camera because you can’t believe people could really be this rude. This was that point.
And then it was my turn. I got the less competent clerk, who had no idea what I was talking about but thought it would be fun to insult me anyway. Ummm…. no. In a word, buh-bye.
Two weeks later I still want to smack the smirks off their faces. Home health care shoppppe customers are usually plenty traumatized already: finding out that dad’s gonna be on catheters and guess who’ll be changing them? Or that your kid is going to need equipment to function. Nobody wants TED hose, for crap’s sake. Or colostomy bag refills.
The point is, these people are tender. And watching staff that clearly enjoys bullying them was more than I could stand. So I wrote a letter to their manager. Here it is. I’ll let you know if I hear anything back.
On February 6, I had the misfortune to both witness and receive thoroughly unprofessional service at the Mercy Home Therapy Shoppe. For the last two weeks I have tried to set it aside, but someone needs to be told in order to improve things for your future customers.
The two women who were on staff both had their I.D. badges carefully turned inward, so I don’t know their names. One (who had noticeably dyed hair) was clearly more competent than the other, but they were both openly rude and condescending to your customers. Since this is the same behavior I witnessed the one other time I was in your store, I can only surmise that disrespect and a lack of compassion is the accepted culture of Mercy Home Therapy Shoppe – at least when no one is looking.
However, I was looking. And I left without making a purchase because no one deserves to be treated so shabbily – not the elderly woman in front of me who was forced into making a purchase she could not afford, and not the couple who arrived for a health screening and were ridiculed for their lack of knowledge. I, too, was insulted and laughed at, but I had the wherewithal to leave.
When I started to write this letter two weeks ago, it was more than four pages long and filled with minute-by-minute detail, ripe with indignation and a battle cry for compassion for the sick. But the point of the whole thing is really very simple: your staff was mean. Unconscionably mean to the frail people who look to them for assistance.
Unlike the bewildered elderly woman or the confused couple, I am well aware of my options and will not be returning to the Mercy Home Therapy Shoppe. When I called on February 7 to get the name of the store manager, the respiratory therapist was very nice, and shipped me what I needed that day. In spite of his professionalism, though, I will not be back. I can find what I need on the internet and avoid the 40-minute drive. And the stress of dealing with staff who are clearly far more interested in humiliating than helping.