In the same week in late October that Wal-Mart said it would stop offering health insurance benefits to new part-time employees, the retailer sent out a request for partners to help it "dramatically ... lower the cost of healthcare ... by becoming the largest provider of primary healthcare services in the nation." NPR, Wedneday, November 9, 2011
Wal-Mart Automated Customer Service: Hello, thank you for choosing Wal-Mart where we value your business and tolerate our employees. Please listen closely as our prompts have recently changed!
New Patient: (Suppressing a wet, hacking cough) Hello? Hello?
WMACS: Sam's Advantage Club Card holders press one. Wal-Pal Rewards Members press two. Little Sam's Savings Klub for Kids members press three.
NP: Please, can I speak to a nurse?
WMCS: For the Automotive Department, press four. Large Animal and Breeding Stock press five. Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery press sixty-eight.
NP: (presses random buttons, gasps for breath)
WMCS: I'm sorry, that isn't a valid selection. To hear this message in Spanish, press twelve. To hear this message in Gaelic, press forty-two.
NP: (drops phone, presses combination of buttons while retrieving from floor)
WMCS: Welcome to Wal-Mart's Hot Picks, your source for great values and money saving deals!
NP: I'm having (pant) trouble breathing.
WMCS: It's buy one get one free Side of Beef Day. These are feedlot raised Texas Longhorns with low-disease metrics and nice marbling. The first five-hundred customers will receive a marrow bone.
NP: (Loudly) I'm sick! I need a doctor! (fingers clinch during racking spasm, depressing several buttons)
NP: Is that Latvian? Please, somebody help me!
NP: (Beats chest with phone to restart heart, depressing sequence of buttons)
WMCS: Please hold for an operator. We are experiencing an unusually high call volume and apologize for any inconvenience. Your call is just as important to us as the welfare of our employees. Listen to some exciting values while you wait! (music fades in, theme from 'Chico and the Man')
NP: (Left side of body goes rigid, peripheral vision fades).
WMCS: Tuesday through Friday, senior flu shots, frozen pudding shots, 12 guage shotgun shells and oysters on the half shell, half off! Reversable men's suits, submersable women's faux Alpaca sweaters, transversable brain surgery and Nails by Felicia all thirty percent off their already low, low price! Don't forget to stop in Sam's Main Street Cafe for a delicious . . . (heavily accented voice breaks in) Thank you for holding, this is 'Jeem'. To better improve service please recite to me the Wal-Smart Hippocratic Oath and Disclaimer Clause.
NP: (prone, eyes fixed and glazed, phone under coffee table)
WMCS: Hello? Hello? Hello? Stupid Latvian's! (click)