Who’s the Boss?

Own your own business” was penned by a dyslexic. “Be owned by your own business” is reality. Giving up the benefit of a regular paycheck by a benevolent employer means you’re first in line (in your mind) to get paid, when the reality is that your creditors and employees come first.

Some of you are old enough to be on Medicare. That calls for a secondary insurer. However, that doesn’t cover medications, which is a third coverage. A December 7 deadline was approaching for signing up for prescription coverage, which I’ve had with “H” for 10 years. Suddenly I’m being besieged by offers from companies saying they can now save me money. I received an offer from my secondary medical coverer (A), who encouraged me to call now for convenience and savings. After three tries at navigating a telephone system that takes me to a disembodied voice that tells me they’re busy helping other customers (at 0230? You’re kidding.), I decide to maybe wait for another offer. One comes as a phone call while I’m on the way to a job, and company H, whom I’ve been with for those 10 years, wants me to order from a warehouse and save gigamillions.

They have my list of meds, they’ll figure my savings and email it. Two days later, they do. It looks roughly like this: Their (who, I don’t know) price: $5 for 90 days of pills.

Our price: $10 for 90 days. You save $5! Since that looks a bit wrong, I send a copy to the friend of a friend who’s “in the business.” He says it looks right to him. I think he needs glasses, but I’m tired of thinking.

Last July I applied for a corporate parts discount from a big supplier. In addition to copies of tax numbers, addresses, etc., it wants a copy of my business license, which this municipality doesn’t issue, electing instead to tax boaters, who then take their boats and my work elsewhere. I told them just like that. Yesterday I got an email saying my application had expired, please resubmit—and don’t forget the business license. You would have been proud of my patience. I told them I was not resubmitting, that I was going to find someone more intelligent to work with. I received a reply from the manager. He researched my application and found the reason it had been rejected (thought you just said “expired”) was that I’d left the letter “g” off my email address, “gmail.com.” Please resubmit—and don’t forget your business license. This time I just said “no.” Then I added, “If I left the ‘g’ off, how did you email me?”

The insurance travesty took about four hours after dinner, dishwashing and a glass of pre-ulcer cabernet. Can’t do it while working in a bilge, gotta do it at night instead of snuggling with The Nurse. Can’t check my email during the day, gotta do it after-hours.

This morning, on the way to deal with a client who’s owed me several hundred bucks for over 90 days, I was stuck behind a tractor-trailer with “Be Your Own Boss!” emblazoned on the back door. Now I think I know where roadrage comes from.

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