All posts for the month November, 2014

A Fond Farewell to Goodwill Shopping

Published November 29, 2014 by mindfulofchatter

I love second-hand shops and thrift stores. To me, they are places to wander through in search of treasures and oddities no one else can find (or perhaps want).

I have been a Goodwill shopper for a long, long time. I have come away with countless skirts, tops and shoes. Often with the original store tags still attached. Need a Halloween costume? Goodwill was always there with bits and parts for little money. With a little creativity, you could walk out with a fantastic costume for about $10.

But it seems those days are gone.

This year, I looked at costume bits only to find they were priced at new retail prices. Sure, I want to pay retail for a costume that I need to wash before I touch it. Yeah, think about what goes on at a Halloween party and tell me you are gonna wear that thing without washing it first. Not going to happen in my lifetime.

The last couple of times I shopped a Goodwill store, I came away with empty hands. Why? Goodwill now seems to think it is a retail store selling new items. The prices are that of a brand new item. I looked a sweatshirt style hoodie jacket. Goodwill, a THRIFT store selling USED items, had it marked at $20. I can buy that bad boy brand new for less than that if I shop smart. So why on earth would I spend my $20 on a used one?

Next was a pair of boots. I am a boot addict (there must be a 12 step program for this somewhere), so I always peruse the boots and shoes. This was pair of black boots with a low heel and two buttons up near the top. They were not leather. A look at the sole told me they had been worn quite a bit, but were not run down or scuffed up. The price tag, the Goodwill price tag, made me set them right back on the shelf and leave the store. $40. Forty dollars for a pair of USED boots.

Now I understand the Goodwill thing. They help people by giving them a job and helping them learn a new skill. Or they used to. I used to go to Goodwill and see that a lot of the staff members were people with some sort of handicap. I always thought it really neat. But now, I see no one with a handicap (unless you count surliness) working at the stores. I also see them advertising for help Craigslist. One Goodwill clerk told me I should be happy to be able to buy a pair of boots for only $45. Yeah. I can hit a sale at Fred Meyer and get a new pair of boots for that same $45. The whole point of thrift shopping is to pay less than retail. Not the same. Not more. Less.

And what really makes this whole price increase thing taste even worse, is the fact that Goodwill gets their items for free. How many of you have pulled with your car loaded to the gills with all the things you no longer want or use? Yeah. A lot of us have. We pull up, the clerk unloads the car, you get a donation slip for taxes (should you want one), they sort it, then sell it. With the exception of a clerk unloading my car, this is the same thing that happens in a retail shop. The truck comes in, it get unloaded, the stock is sorted, priced and put on the racks. Except the retail shop pays for that merchandise. Goodwill does not. So why are the Goodwill prices now rivaling retail?

Now I will take my unwanted items to another thrift shop. One that helps out those in need. One that charges appropriate prices for used treasures. And one who isn’t so picky about what they will accept this week.

So after decades of shopping fun and fantastic finds, I bid a fond farewell to Goodwill.

The Often Ridiculous World of Health Care

Published November 17, 2014 by mindfulofchatter

It was decided at some point that the United States ought give everyone health care. Why not? Europe does it, Canada does it, why shouldn’t we?

So now, I have health care! (woohoo!)

The state in which I live (no, not insanity or just plain weird, though I do reside in those places as well) has all kinds of plans with sliding scales so we can all have the health care we need. I can see June Cleaver pitching this ever so clearly in my head.

I received in the mail a multi-page, brochure style thing from which I was to choose a doctor and a dentist. I knew none of the doctors listed, so it was pretty much chucking a dart at the thing and going with whomever got skewered. Actually, I talked to the S.O. and made sort of a choice from that. I filled out the form with my choices and sent it off to the insurance folks.

Not long after that, I received my insurance card with my doctor’s name listed and instructions to make an appointment within X amount of days.

The first snag: the doctor they assigned me was NOT the one I had choosen.

I rang the clinic where said doctor practiced. They mailed me the enormous new patient packet, and told me once I brought it in, they could arrange an appointment.

Snag number two: They were three months out in appointments. Not the specified time frame I was given by the insurance.

Okay, nothing I can do about that. Once I received my packet, I dutifully filled out all the paperwork, medical history, records release, etc. and turned it in. I was told the New Patient Coordinator would ring me as soon as my paperwork was processed. I was also told if I needed anything, the walk-in clinic would be happy serve me until I had an appointment.

This all took place in August.

Because I needed two maintenance medications, I presented myself at the walk-in clinic. I saw a doctor who gave me prescriptions, which I had filled there at the clinic pharmacy.

This all sounds pretty good, eh? It was going okay. I had to go back after one month for labs to make sure my levels were correct (I had most of my thyroid removed in 1969. I take levothyroxin, and have now for 45 years). Everything was pretty peachy.

Until last week.

I had refill my thyroid medication. I rang, I was told they needed to ring the doctor because there were no more refills. Now, in the past I have been given about a years worth of refills on this med. Then I go for a lab, they see if everything fine or needs adjusted and all is well. But this doctor, who required I go for labs twice, only wrote my prescription for three months. I don’t know why he did that. But that’s not what this is about.

The lovely recording on the pharmacy phone told me to wait 48 to 72 hours before picking up my prescription. This was to give the pharmacy time to get a refill from the doctor. I rang in my prescription Monday morning before the pharmacy opened. I stopped in on Thursday to see it was ready.

‘No. We haven’t back from Dr. ___ yet. Are you out?’

“Yes, I am out. It generally doesn’t take this long’

‘We can forward you three pills off your refill. Then we take those three out of your next batch.’

‘Three will only get me through to Sunday.’

‘We are open Saturday. Maybe by then Dr. ___ will have rung us back, but we can only give you three pills.’

(Understand that Dr.____ works only in the walk-in clinic only. The walk-in clinic and the pharmacy share a waiting room. So Dr. ____ can’t mosey 20 feet to refill a prescription?)

‘Okay. What if Dr. ____ still hasn’t rang you back?’

‘Well, he is a walk-in clinic doctor and may not refill this prescription. You may need to see your primary doctor.’

‘I am still waiting to see my primary doctor. I haven’t been given an appointment yet.’

‘Oh. You ought to go over to the ladies at the reception area and find out what’s going on.’

So I moseyed the 10 feet over to the reception ladies. It seem I can’t get an appointment because my old doctor hasn’t faxed my medical records to them yet. I asked what would happen if I had never seen a doctor before? Would I just not get an appointment ever? What happened to the walk-in clinic keeping my all healthy until I got an appointment? If my old records are so important, why did I fill out the endless medical history?

After waiting 30 minutes to get three pills and arguing with the New Patient Co-ordinator, I have an appointment for December 9th. But, they can cancel that appointment if my old doctor hasn’t faxed over my medical records by then. And I have to call them the night before to tell them I am coming, or they will cancel the appointment.

I rang on the pharmacy on Saturday. Still no response from Dr. ____.

As of today, I am out of my medication. I have an appointment next month. I have a clinic doctor who is not telling the pharmacy anything, and a pharmacy who won’t bug the clinic doctor for an answer.

Yeah, this health care stuff is just wonderful.


Living Large In A Teeny, Tiny World

Published November 2, 2014 by mindfulofchatter

All Hallows Eve has come and gone. I love Halloween. I do. I love thinking up a costume and making it come to life. Sometimes it’s a throw together, sometimes I spend weeks making one come to life.

Part of most female (and a few male) costumes are tights or hosiery of some sort. From seamed stockings to striped tights, you can find a wall full of all sorts of leg wear. And almost all of them are one size fits most. This is wonderful if you are 5’5″ (or less) and weigh no more that 130 lbs. I am 5’10” tall in naked feet. It doesn’t take much for me to be over 6′ tall. And I do not have particularly long legs. My legs are proportionate to my body, so while , yes, they are long, they are by no means a 38″ inseam.

I was doing a Dia de los Muertos style pirate. Yes, yes, I know that it not the typical the dia de los muertos costume. But that kinda what I will do. Take something cool from over there, and then mix it something else cool from over there. I had a black skirt, a petticoat and piratey type jacket I found at Goodwill. I had some very cool boots, a sash, and a wide ,black belt. In other words, I pretty much had all I needed to complete the costume. One thing I needed was a hat. I found a tri-corn hat at Goodwill, brought it home and made it better. Well, better in my opinion. And hey, it’s my hat.

But I wanted some tights to complete the look. I saw some with colorful skulls on them. I saw ones with white skulls on them. I saw ones with leg bones printed on them. I saw vertical stripes, horizontal strips, one red leg, one black leg, fishnets, back seams, flowers, spider webs…… I saw tons and tons of pretty cool hosiery.

But it was all ‘one size fits most’. That teeny, tiny, one size that most of us are when we are 13 to 20. Before having kids, or just plain maturing. I saw maybe 2 people shopping in the same store who may have been able to squeeze into that one size hosiery. I even went home and looked online. The same brand of hosiery was offered. The reviews were all the same.

“Too small. Very disappointed”

“I got them on, but the crotch was about 4″ down my thigh. WAY too short!”

“Who can wear these? I am not a big person, and I can not get them on!”

I have to say, this made me feel better. As least my inability to fit into these things was not because I was too fat. It was because the manufacturer is most likely in China , and making them to fit eensy -weensy, teeny, tiny girls. And, well, I am not a eensy-weensy teeny, tiny girl. In fact, as if to prove my point, moms were buying these same tights for their grade school daughters.

So yeah, I’m not imagining this.

There were a few marked plus size. After looking at the package, I could see that their idea of plus size was actually regular size. But not tall. Anyone over 5’6″ was just plain SOL for buying tights.

I never did get any tights with bones or skulls on them. I found some ‘everyday’ tights (in tall) the were a sort of silvery gray paisley. They worked fine. All in all, the tights didn’t show that much, but you know how it is when you get a picture of you want it to look in your head. My costumes came out nice. I was happy with it. My make-up came out very nice (after a couple of fits and false starts). I had fun, and that’s what counts.

dia de los muertos 2014

I keep hoping that one day the clothing manufacturers will realize there are tall people out there. Tall people who are not a size 2. We have hips, thighs and bust lines. In short, we have curves. We shouldn’t have to shop in a special catalog, or have to buy our clothes online only. Seriously, stores have entire sections for petite women. Why can’t they do that for tall women? I know this rant is futile. It hasn’t happened in 50 years, it isn’t about to happen anytime soon.

But I can dream.