Monday, May 19, 2008

Big-Box healthcare

I had some reservations before my eye exam last Saturday. Spoiled as I've been by LensCrafters, I worried that the Wal-Mart Vision Center would deliver sub-par care. Additionally, I just hate eye exams in general - glaucoma tests rank up there with cleaning the sink strainer on the list of Things I'd Rather Not Do.

The experience was mixed, but on the whole I was satisfied. There were all the hallmarks of a Wal-Mart experience - lack of personal attention, ugly and uncomfortable surroundings, employees who don't know and don't really care. On the other hand, the optometrist was professional and reasonably friendly. I got what I needed - a new contacts prescription - for a decent price.

There's plenty that isn't so great about Wal-Mart, but it's not "evil" like some people make it out to be. There are people in this region who might not be able to afford eye care at all - an impersonal but efficient exam is better than none. Same thing goes for the pharmacy - I'm pleasantly amazed every time I pick up my birth control prescription at the whopping cost of $2. If you're genuinely concerned about economic and social change, railing against Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers isn't the way to go. They provide goods and services at reasonable prices - just like any other company.

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