Fun with Rebates, Part I

Dear Mr. CooperVision,

Thank you for offering me a $100 rebate for purchasing an entire year’s worth of daily contact lenses my ophthalmologist handed to me after my exam as I left her office. That was mighty swell of you.

What I think was less swell were the hoops of fire I had to jump through to mail everything required in order to receive said rebate.

It was a $100 rebate, so of course I was going to follow all of your commandments and do all that you asked of me. For a $99 rebate? Not so much.

In return, I’d like to share with you my experience of what can only be compared to navigating a corn maze at midnight on a foggy September night underneath a cloud-covered sky in my quest for the elusive rebate:

My pupils were still dilated and I couldn’t find my reading glasses which made it difficult for me to read the instructions printed in teeny tiny font on the forms that I was required to follow. (Please see Exhibit A-1 and A-2):

Exhibit A-1
Exhibit A-1

Exhibit A-2

Exhibit A-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Had I not been capable of understanding all the steps involved in the rebate process I would have had to hire a CPA, costing me more than the rebate itself.

As a college graduate and mother of two adult children, anxiety forced my pulse to quicken as I began to doubt my competence to fill out the information correctly.

Gasping for air I began to fear what could happen if I made a mistake. Would you refuse to send the rebate? Would you come to my house and repossess my contact lenses, including the ones in my eyes? (Please see exhibit B):

Exhibit B
Exhibit B

Between my lack of clear vision and the vagueness of the instructions on the paper with font so small a hawk would need to be clutching a magnifying glass in its talons to read them, it was difficult to decipher whether I was required to mail you the proof of purchase for only four boxes, or all eight. Lest I seem delinquent I sent all eight panels and prayed on my knees I wouldn’t be penalized for sending more end panels than necessary, but it was a chance I took. (Please see exhibit C):

 

Exhibit C
Exhibit C

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to the boxes once the end panels have been removed and your customer, who by then has contracted a migraine and is attempting to keep a steady hand on the cool washcloth she has slapped onto her forehead and is seriously contemplating whether or not the $100 rebate is worth a panic attack, (Please see exhibit D):

 

Exhibit D
Exhibit D
 

 

Since I wear contact lenses with specific prescriptions for each eye I wouldn’t have been able to just throw all of those loose strips of lenses into one big, giant Ziploc bag all willy-nilly and call it a day. I knew I would not feel like playing a blurry game of “find the correct lenses” each morning.

In order to keep the two prescriptions separate, I devised two strategies from which to choose: I’d either have to use tape to seal the ends of all eight boxes back together which seemed like an arts & crafts project my brain was too exhausted by then to execute; or I could use two 2-gallon-sized Ziploc bags, labeled left and right, and carefully deposit the left lenses in one and the right lenses in another. (Pease see exhibits E and F):

 

 

Exhibit E
Exhibit E
Exhibit F
Exhibit F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After performing that Rubik’s Cube of a task, I began to wonder if the eight enclosed end panels combined with the War and Peace amount of paperwork would cause my envelope to be heavier than a regular piece of mail. I really didn’t feel like having to go to the post office to have the albatross of the envelopes weighed.

I thought it best to don my glow-in-the-dark Asics gym shoes (with prescribed, laser-cut orthotics) to help stabilize my stance. Then I slightly bent my knees and braced my core muscles, as I do in yoga and Pilates, and lifted the envelope that included all of the required paperwork, the coupon, and the end panels to see how heavy it was.

Just as the muscles in my arms began to shake, like they do when lifting a bar bell, I dropped the envelope like a body builder drops 300 pounds to the floor causing an unpleasant thud that ripples throughout the entire weight room.

The envelope obviously weighed much more than a typical bill, even more than the one I receive monthly from our often-visited orthopedic doctor’s office. No. This baby was going to receive the full home-remedy treatment: an entire roll of self-stick stamps. It probably didn’t require the whole roll, but the last thing I wanted was this anvil returned to me for lack of sufficient postage. (Please see exhibits G and H):

 

 

Exhibit G
Exhibit G

 

IMG_3111
Exhibit H

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most perplexing part of this entire exercise was that as I paid for the contact lenses at my ophthalmologist’s office a notification was sent to you containing all of my personal information, including proof that I paid for eight boxes of contact lenses. Please, Mr. CooperVision, what was the point of having me spend an entire afternoon chasing a rebate the company knew I was owed?

You know what, Mr. CooperVision, if that’s your real name? I don’t think you really want to give out $100 rebates. People with less tenacity might have given up, but not eye. I pushed myself to finish your pointless marathon; I filled out the information you asked for online; I tore off the end panels from all eight packages, thus destroying the boxes; and, yes, I combed my way through the sea of contact lenses strewn about my kitchen table to find the correct contact for each eye and place it in the proper Ziploc bag.

If you really wanted to be nice and give me the $100 rebate, why wasn’t confirmation from my doctor’s office enough? Or, why couldn’t they e mail you a picture of me standing at the doctor’s office holding up the boxes as if I’d won the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes.

I realized that this wasn’t going to bode well for me in the rebate department, so I didn’t publish it on my website until I received the card credited with $100 you claimed would take at least six to eight weeks to process. Just a reminder: I did all of the processing in one afternoon.

Now, on to the next order of business: attempting to mail in a rebate for “Composure,” my dog’s anxiety medicine. I think I’ll chew on a few of them myself before getting started.

Meet the Chases

I was the last of three children born to my parents. My sister, Beth, and my brother, Paul, were born blonde-haired, fair-skinned angels who looked as if they were descended from Scandinavian Royalty. I was born looking like I had been birthed by an orangutan.

On January 7, 1961, I imagine my mother said, “Oooh, Normie! I think I’m in labor. I felt a teeny tiny twinge.” My father probably said, “Let’s get you to the hospital, Lorraine, before you have to endure another excruciating twinge”.

My mother was given the magic elixir given to women in labor back in the day that made her fall asleep after a few more twinges. Knowing my mother, I’m sure she woke up several hours later wearing full make-up, earrings, and an exquisite peignoir set my father had purchased for her at Bonwit Teller. She probably smiled at my father, happily anticipating the moment she’d lay eyes on her newborn baby. It must have felt like a dream come true.

Until the nurse brought me in to meet my mother who must have thought she was in the middle of a horrific nightmare.

Legend has it the nurse gave my parents a viewing of me and then carted me off to the nursery so my mother could rest. But before she drifted off my mother began to cry and whispered to my father, “Normie! They gave us the wrong baby!”

Apparently I had dark skin and a Jew-fro before Jew-fros were fashionable. (Wait, were they ever fashionable?) My father checked with any and all nurses and doctors he could find and was assured I was their baby.

My parents viewed me every day and dined on filet mignon and lobster tail every night. On the seventh day my mother and father reluctantly acquiesced that they had to leave the hospital to go home and that they had to take me with them. They had to come to grips with the fact that although I looked different I was, in fact, their child. The name on my birth certificate was officially Leslie Jo Chase, but my siblings took one look at me and called me Wild Boomba.

Blonde Beth 001
Angelic Beth

 

Blonde Paul 1 001
Perfect Paul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

scary little leslie
Wild Boomba

 

As I grew up I realized that Beth, Paul, and both of my parents were accomplished artists, musicians, and singers. I was asked to mouth the words so as not to cause the dog to howl whenever we sang around the piano, and given crayons and old scrap paper to draw with while the rest of them painted still-lifes with oils on canvas.

But eventually, after spending many years being raised by my birth parents, it became apparent that I was indeed their child. I had a “Chase” nose, and I began to sweat in sub-zero temperatures for no apparent reason. My entire family sweats. All the time. It’s a Chase trait and I had it, and that’s when my parents really most sincerely accepted me as one of their own.

When I was in grade school my family and I finally found common ground. We were all good dancers. I was able to demonstrate my ability as a dancer not only in the tap classes my mother taught, but in Modern and Jazz, too.

When I was 12 my mother officially changed my date of birth from January 9th to the correct date, January 7th, after remembering she had paper-clipped the free “Our Baby’s First Day” pamphlet to the back of the dog’s rabies certificate.

The pamphlet had somehow been discovered in her purse when she came home with me from the hospital. It had been delivered on a brown tray absorbing the condensation beneath a Dixie Cup of ice chips while she was in labor. My baby pamphlet was last seen in my parents’ basement in the mid 1970’s. I hope to find it someday.

My sister has a normal baby book and my brother – the favorite – has several baby books, folders, documents, laws passed by congress that he wrote in his spare time as a child while potty training, and envelopes full of hair leftover from haircuts he’s had over the years.

Paul’s baby books and their attachments are kept in a six-drawer fireproof file cabinet in my parents’ basement, and everything but the hair has been backed up onto an external hard drive kept in the safety deposit box in the vault at the bank and, of course, on Carbonite’s Secure Cloud Backup.

Now that I’m in my 50’s people often ask me if I’m related to my sister because there’s such a strong family resemblance. So, Mom and Dad, I’m pretty sure I’m yours. Thanks for paying for college and everything and treating me like one of your own even though I know the truth because Paul told me. He said you adopted me after I was born in a toilet somewhere in Chicago.