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Feeling Ripped Off?

July 6, 2019
Another Way for week of July 5, 2019

Feeling Ripped Off?

I hate feeling ripped off—in this case losing about four hours of time—for both my husband and me. Added up, that makes eight hours, pretty much wasted. I have written about other experiences when we or I were played for the fool—once many years ago when we somehow participated in an offer at the fairgrounds that seemed too good to be true—and was.

This time it was a health screening. A widely advertised company was holding medical screenings in our area. The one for which my husband had signed up was about 30 miles away. We looked forward to the pleasant drive through some scenic areas on our new “both retired” schedule. It was also near a favorite eatery where we would finish off with a nice lunch—him after have an eight-hour fast from the night before. I had made his appointment for 11 a.m. He’d first have time for his morning workout, and we could probably finish the five screenings that were scheduled easily by 12:30. They said to allow 60-90 minutes for all five tests.

Ha ha. We arrived in plenty of time at 10:45 but didn’t walk out until about 2:15.

My mother and my sister (Mom all gussied up for a play she was appearing in).

What took so long? Inadequate staffing, about which the workers who did show up were also feeling really ticked-off. So teed-off in fact that one said if she could punish those who didn’t come for the day’s work, she would. Those who didn’t show up left the others short-handed, and those who came for appointments, waited for hours instead of 15 or 30 minutes to be seen. It appeared that appointments for one set of mostly older men being screened were all at 10 a.m., and another group at 11, and they were still working on the latest guys at 2:10 when we finally escaped. I know, they should call it “Medical Escape Room.” Reading some of the reviews at the Better Business Bureau website before signing up would have warned us.

You’ve probably seen ads for this type of screening, often held in a volunteer fire department facility or at the Salvation Army or other community-oriented place so that it seems like a real community health event. My husband had gone to an earlier one (without me) about three years ago. He didn’t have these problems with long waits and inadequate staffing at that screening center.

What I really didn’t like was all the communication tools they used to get the word out—a barrage of emails, ads online which popped up in my Facebook feed, and paper mail (because of my husband’s earlier experience) that made you think this was a really well-organized professional outfit. Trying to run an event like that without full staffing was no fun or fair for anyone: not for the workers, and certainly not for the victims. Oops, patients. I will doff my hat to all who were there, who tried to treat each other nicely and professionally in less than ideal circumstances. My husband, though seething, hung on to the end.

The day was rescued by a very pleasant, tasty, and affordable lunch at the Hawksbill Diner—not far from Skyline Drive. By the time we arrived it was 2:25 or so, and the noon rush was nearing an end, and we enjoyed chatting to the fine wait staff, cooks and the owner who came out from the kitchen to have their own late lunches.

My daughter listens to one of my mother’s stories. Mom will celebrate her 95th birthday later this month.

We did gain some valuable information from the screening and now that we’ve received a report that says a prior situation had improved, I guess we’re feeling a little less scammed—and my husband will discuss the reports with his own doctor. But there are so many health rip-offs especially targeting older people. Do be aware and try to check out organizations online or with your own doctor before you sign up. Good health is a gift so it is well worth it to try and stay as healthy as we can.


Most of us have times when we–or our parents or grandparents–were or felt ripped off. Share your story or comment here!

Or, get in touch by email at or snail mail me at Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.

  1. The AARP Bulletin came in the mail today. One of the articles I remember skimming was this: “Beware of offers for a free cancer screening” with the subtitle, Crooks may be fishing for your data so they can commit Medicare fraud.

    Not to worry: I don’t think you lost anything but time this week.

    • You’re right: nothing but time although this was a paid screening. Now older and wiser in more ways than one. I do frequently read AARP bulletin and magazine (when it first came to me at age 50 I used to think nothing applied to me but more and more I find useful and enlightening info. Enjoy your day, my blogging friend.

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