Monday, March 15, 2010

In-N-Out Healthcare Reform


I had the powerfully annoying and mind-dulling experience of dealing with three separate government institutions over the past couple of weeks (feel free to send sympathy cards): The Driver License division of the DMV, the County Court system (umm, yes, because I had the extraordinary good luck of getting pulled over ON MY WAY to the DMV to get my license renewed!), and the U.S. Postal Service (The word Service being a euphemism for massive inconvenience.) —Mind you, I’m not talking about the post office window at our little grocery, where friendly faces know us by name and skillfully take our packages. I’m talking about the big, scary government headquarters where you have to go to deal with bigger issues (Like how the mailman refuses to deliver any mail on your street because the neighbor's dog was out. Or how I went in to pick up a package of prescription meds, but they had already sent it back to the pharmacy...on the same day I tried to pick it up.) THAT post office.

In dealing with all three departments I encountered a similar experience: Big, depressing, dusty, gray buildings. Unnecessarily long and plodding lines, understaffed counters manned by incompetent people with sour dispositions (except for one pleasant man at the post office--at the end of the other line) and endless forms to be filled out. Each entity seemed to have a secret agenda to impede progress at all costs. Each was its own brand of purgatory.

Despite my somewhat liberal leanings, I couldn’t help but ask myself what healthcare might literally be like if the government were allowed to run it. And the thought horrified me...

Big, depressing, dusty, gray buildings. Long, slow-moving lines to see overbooked primary care physicians. Not enough medical personnel employed in order to meet the needs of all the people in line. Grumpy nurses, cantankerous doctors, control-freak secretaries, all performing their tasks perfunctorily while carefully watching the clock. an obsession with Policy. And of course endless forms, endless paperwork, endless red tape, resulting in surgeries and other necessary-but-costly treatments being endlessly stalled. (If they're lucky we'll die first, in order to cut costs!)


Fortunately, I also went to In-N-Out Burger. Twice. In as many weeks. And it was the complete opposite experience: Bright, clean, well-lit and well-designed spaces. Short, fast-moving lines. Plenty of cheerful, helpful, efficient people who are well-trained and eager to serve. Everything sparkling clean, well organized. An emphasis on Quality. Not a single form to fill out, and they take your order information in record time. The whole place fairly beams with freshness, vitality, and progress-in-the-making. The palm trees in their branding even smack of paradise.

So? It’s obvious. I hereby make a move (and a plea to President Obama) to put In-N-Out Burgers in charge of healthcare reform.

Double-double, anyone?

21 comments:

Kazzy said...

I second that plea! And I haven't even been to In-N-Out yet, but I trust your judgment 100 %!

charrette said...

You haven't been to In-N-Out? Not even in California?
Okay, we are officially going there the next time we get together. You'll love it!

LisAway said...

Wow, you just described health care in Poland (yes, socialized, of course), minus the control freak secretaries. Secretaries here don't seem to care.

Love your idea! It seems like it could be doable. . . (yes, double double, please!)

Sandy M. said...

Hmmm. A possible new take on hospital food at least. And everything laid on if that little heart attack that came as a side with your double-double burgers comes knocking. Get Well cards making it to you in record time, (if you could incorporate that department too).

But hey! I used to be a nurse, and I want to know why I don't get to be cantankerous too! Just kidding. I don't really mind if I don't know :)

It sounds like you probably just had a bad day. Or two, or three.

Isn't it nice though that you made a new friend at the post office? :)

xo

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I think you've got the right idea. Why can't ANY service be like that?

Luisa Perkins said...

Yes, but have you noticed the difference between privately maintained roads and the interstate highway system?

charrette said...

There is no difference here. Our roads are perpetually under construction. People call those orange construction cones the State Flower!

Kristina P. said...

If the government starts handing out those disgusting cardboard In N Out fries, I'm moving to Canada.

Marie said...

animal style please!!! :))

Kimberly said...

I have to laugh because I live in a country where the governmenet does control health care to a certain extent. The buildings aren't quite so grey though. More often yellow for some obscure reason. Maybe they think it'll cheer up the sick people... =P Other than that, you've hit eerily close to the mark!

I keep hearing about In-N-Out...maybe I can talk Dedee into finding one for me...

Rebecca said...

Hahahaha. Good post!

Jennifer said...

Okay, I need to go to the DMV for new drivers license, your post has confirmed my worst fears. Maybe I'll stop by In-N-Out before I go...Thanks for coming the other night. We love you guys!

breckster said...

Living the poor student life has us dependent on the government for health care, and if you thought utah government workers were bad. It's worse than you can imagine--you wouldn't believe some of the things that have happened to me.

I'll sign your petition. I'll go to D.C. to march the white house holding a sign. I'm sure it would be worth it.

Cari said...

In-N-Out pretty much fixes any bad day for me. Personally, I love their fries :) And a chocolate shake. Or a Coca. Lots of onions. Mmmmm.

Oh, yeah. Awesome post! Love the idea!

Kateastrophe said...

We have a gas station/convenience store here in Phoenix called QuickTrip. It's similar to In-n-Out in that the workers are paid a bit more than the average which in turn means they work hard and have to be FRIENDLY! You walk in and you are greeted with a friendly "hello" from every worker. The bathrooms are ALWAYS clean. They even sweep and clean the sidewalks and blacktop! It's the greatest. I've always thought government should take their cues from a company like that.

Melanie J said...

Sign me up for a double double animal style. I'm in!

And now I know what I'm doing for lunch today, too...

DeNae said...

Considering that I've decided onion rings are a vegetable, this is exactly the sort of hand-in-glove fit I've been looking for in health care. You are a genius!!

Eowyn said...

I definitely second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth the motion! Faramir works for the government and if you think we have it bad in all the crap that we deal with, you should see the messes that crop up inside the system. I'm a little leery of government control for that reason alone.

And I'm now a fast food snob because of In-N-Out. Those other burgers taste like blather after an In-N-Out.

Eowyn said...

I promise I responded here.

That Google!

I agree totally and am somewhat of a food snob since I went to In-N-Out. I like me a fresh burger!

Heidi Ashworth said...

My parents served a mission in England where they have "socialized" medicine. Many people do die before they can get a surgery date. It's very sad. Even the ambulances have to pay tolls on bridges and if they don't have the money, they have to turn around and go another way! With their sirens blaring! (Fun post, by the way).

Jessica said...

You make such good points here . . . I honestly don't know what to think of the bill, but I have a sinking feeling that you're probably exactly right! I've never been to an In-N-Out, but I think you're onto something!