I Am Your Customer; I Am Not Your Shock Troop Massing During Contract Negotiations

I’ve been receiving letters like this from my insurance carrier this autumn:

We can't reach an agreement with Walgreens.  Waaah!

In effect, Anthem’s vendor Express Scripts is playing contractual hardball with Walgreens over some fiscal aspects of their relationship.

Because Walgreens won’t meet my insurance carrier vendor’s demands, my insurance carrier is coming to me. Ostensibly so I can make other plans, but also so I can complain to Walgreens if I want.

It’s not as blatant as that. Maybe they are trying to keep me informed. But we’re awash in pleas from companies these days to advocate on their behalf when they’re in contract negotiations with another corporation. The classic example is when it comes time for a media company to negotiate with a content delivery company. This fall, Fox Sports channels ran endless commercials about how DirecTV was going to drop the Fox Channels, and maybe Fox Sports channel followers should drop that provider right now and sign up with a DirecTCompetitor.

You know what? To the devil with all of you. I’m your customer, you provide a service to me, I don’t provide one to you. Anthem, you pressure St. Louis-based-and-employer-of-some-my-readers Express Scripts and make them re-sign with Walgreens.

And as for the Fox Sports situation, I knew enough to ignore that because at the last minute they generally sign an agreement (or a day or so after the last minute).

Seriously, I am a consumer. You meet my needs, not the other way around.

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