First, I went to the Pentagon barber shop for the first time today. Now, let me just tell you that going to the Pentagon barber shop on the Monday morning following a 4-day holiday weekend was NOT the best idea I've ever had. It was very crowded. All the seats in the waiting room were taken and there were people standing out in the passageway, too.
The red numbers on the wall said they were serving number 39, and I drew ticket number 54. However (comma) they had like 10 barbers working like mad to keep the business flowing, and the line moved quick.
Heads-up: You need to be on your toes! They assume people have taken tickets and then left for some reason, so they call out the numbers FAST. It was like, "FortyNineFiftyFiftyOneFiftyTwoFiftyThree..." You have to ANTICIPATE your number is coming and JUMP out of your seat holding your ticket up over your head and assertively shout back your number as soon as they call it or they were gonna leave you in the dust.
Note to self: Don't get any ideas about taking a number and then doing some shopping in CVS next door!
After the lady called my number, I hopped in the chair. She flung the apron around me and said, "Taper or Block?" I don't think the "ta.." in "taper" had left my lips before the electric razor started flying around my head. She was quick. She also seemed annoyed with how long it took me to pull my wallet out of my pocket. She was in her groove and I was rockin' the boat.
I was a little nervous about the quality of such a speed-cut. When I got back to the office, I asked one of my JO's how the haircut looked, and he gave it an "8 out of 10." As for me, I can never really judge a haircut until I take a shower the next morning and then try to comb it.
On a positive note though, you can't beat that price - $7!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Second, I had my first medical appointment at the DiLorenzo Clinic (the medical clinic on the first floor near the North Parking entrance).
Well, this doesn't exactly qualify as "gouge," per se. I don't want you to draw a trend line or make a sweeping generalization of the medical clinic in the Pentagon based on my ONE experience. Let me just offer up my experience as a data point, and if you talk to other people and gather more data points, then you can draw your own trend line.
I needed to renew my prescription for allergy meds. Each time I tried to schedule an appointment (which you have to do like 2 to 3 weeks in advance), I would end up having to cancel the appointment because some other crisis would prevent me from going to the doctor appointment. Finally, when I called to cancel the last time, the lady on the phone told me to just come in to sick call and they'd "take care of me."
Yyyyyeah, not so much.
The people were annoyed with me that I was there for sick call when I wasn't sick, and they recited the clinic policies that they don't do prescription renewals at sick call.
So I made yet another appointment.
This time, I made a concerted effort to GO to the appointment. It was scheduled for 1520 (3:20 p.m.). Here's how my afternoon went down:
3:10 Arrive in the clinic, check in at front counter. Sit down to wait.
3:23 Nurse calls my name and takes me to an examination room. She takes my vital signs, asks me some questions, and enters some data in the computer.
3:30 Nurse leaves me in the examination room to wait.
3:50 A different nurse opens the door and asks me to come with her. She leads me to another examination room, asks me to have a seat, and tells me the doctor will be right with me.
4:00 Announcement on the 1MC - it's medical stuff that I don't entirely understand, but from my nuke training, I assess the gist of the announcement was, "Conduct watch relief."
4:05 Doctor finally comes into examination room. Doesn't introduce himself. Grumbles about the computers being slow. Washes his hands while he's waiting for the computer to come up.
4:06 Nurse sticks her head in the door and asks the doctor if he needs radiology or if they can go home for the day. The doctor gets annoyed and tells her he doesn't know yet because he JUST sat down with a patient (i.e. me), and if HE has to work late then THEY have to work late (that roughly translates to, "suck it up").
4:07 Doctor introduces himself and proceeds to ask me my life history. This is my first time in the clinic at the Pentagon, and it's my first time with this doctor, so he wants this to be sort of a welcome aboard check-in initial interview (that's understandable, no problem).
4:10 Nurse sticks her head in the door and says another patient that was waiting to see him HAS to leave RIGHT NOW. Doc is visually annoyed with the nurse, but walks out of my exam room to go take care of the other patient before she HAD to leave. (Not like I was gonna miss a bus myself or anything).
4:12 Doctor returns to exam room and finishes a basic physical exam and enters my prescription in the computer.
4:20 Doctor is finally done with me, I head to the pharmacy.
Thankfully, the pharmacy was pretty quick. I was able to get on the 4:45 shuttle back to Crystal City and on the 5:17 bus home.
On a positive note, I like the doctor. He was friendly and pretty laid back. I think he seemed as frustrated with the overall business operation of the clinic as I was.
Again, I don't want to make a sweeping generalization about the clinic overall, but at least plan ahead. I went in foolishly hoping that I would be done by about 3:45 so I could catch the 4:15 bus home.
Yyyyyeah, not so much.