Latest Blog Posts

Worth Every Penny

January 25, 2008 at 3:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I’m getting a jump start on my taxes this year, since The Wilsons had a few odd changes in 2007 that will make our tax calculations trickier than usual. One of those changes: we finalized our adoption of Robbie. Fortunately, the feds offer some nice tax breaks to folks who adopt, and we’re more than happy to take advantage of those. In fact, my early calculations show that we’ll get a very nice return this year—big enough to pay off almost all of our last two remaining debts (other than the house). If the Senate comes through, we’ll wipe out our small debts completely. That’s not what the feds wish we would spend the money on, but hey, I’ll sleep much better with those debts off my shoulders than I will with a new 40” television in the living room.

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Adventures in Customer Service

January 24, 2008 at 2:51pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I’ve written in the past about some poor customer service experiences. Here is a recent good experience.

For various reasons, The Missus and I are re-evaluating our insurance coverage. One thing we swapped was our car insurance. Formerly we were with Geico. We didn’t have any problems with Geico, but we found a better (read: cheaper) deal elsewhere. When The Missus called, the telephone rep was courteous and she came across as genuinely disappointed to have us leave. But here’s the kicker—she didn’t grovel or mope or kick into high-pressure gotta-get-them-back mode. She said, basically, “we’re very sorry to see you leave, and we wish you the best with your new company”. A couple days later we received a letter confirming the cancellation of our service. The letter, too, was written in a “sorry to see you go, we wish you the best” sort of tone.

I really appreciate that Geico didn’t launch an all-out assault to try to beg us back, and they didn’t try to make us feel like we had made a poor decision. Quite the opposite: they made us feel like we had made a good decision. Now, that might seem backwards to you, but I think it’s great. Rather than leaving Geico with feelings of doubt, uncertainty, confusion, and even anger, I’m leaving ... pleased. That’s exactly what they want. Because when it comes time to review my insurance options in the future, one of my first thoughts will be “Those Geico folks sure were nice…”.

Have you had a good customer service experience lately?

What is Fit?

January 22, 2008 at 3:31pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The Missus and I are going through some insurance stuff right now. According to the insurance company’s charts, I am the perfect man. I know, most of you are saying, “But we already knew that, Mr. Wilson!”. Well, now there’s even more proof.

Actually, my supposed perfection is just based on my height and weight, combined with my medical history over the past five years. Based on that, I probably do seem pretty healthy. (Had they gone back much farther than five years they might have come to a different conclusion.) But wait, what’s this? The feds say I’m overweight! How can my insurance company call me “super-preferred” if, according to the feds, I’m unhealthy?

The BMI is crap, that’s how.

I trust my insurance company’s assessment of my health infinitely more than I trust the government’s take on it. After all, my insurance company’s existence is on the line. The feds? No matter how wrong they are or what harm they cause, they’ll still be around. In fact, the more wrong they are, the more easily they can claim they need a bigger budget so they can get things right “next time”. Bah.

Problem is, now I feel like I’m under all sorts of pressure. What if I gain 10 pounds? What if I lose 10 pounds? What if I stub my toe? Oh, the stress! Well, no, not really. Actually, I feel quite unstressed. Finding out the insurance company likes me was a nice confidence booster. I know that my body fat percentage is a little high. Before, I just worried about it. Now, I’m actively trying to convert that fat into lean muscle. I have begun a strength-training regimen. I even ran a six-minute mile on Sunday. I haven’t done that in years.

Now that I have to take care of all of my insurance on my own, this is becoming obvious to me: American obesity is, in part, driven by employer health plans. Since the costs of health care are “hidden” to most consumers, the financial incentives to stay healthy are all but lost. Many companies are catching on to that and are starting to change, but the damage has been done. If Americans had to pay more out-of-pocket for their chubbiness, there would be far fewer chubby Americans. Financial incentives wouldn’t make everybody cut back on the donuts, and that’s fine. But millions would step up their weight-loss (or anti-weight-gain) efforts, and the effect on health care costs for everyone would be dramatic.

Robbie Blogging

January 14, 2008 at 2:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I haven’t posted any photos of Robbie lately. Here are a few from the past several weeks.

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