When Your Life Literally Depends on Wal-Mart

In college, the only real store in town was the Wal-Mart Super Center. It was the only place for college gal on a budget to get groceries, towels and cleaning supplies (her roommates weren’t terribly tidy!). The Wal-Mart was pretty nice.

Where I live now…. I avoid Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart nearest my home draws the crowd of people who missed out of manners day in kindergarten, don’t frequent the deodorant aisle at Wally World and have serious personal space and pick-up-the-pace issues.

Unfortunately, about once a year, I need Wal-Mart to survive. That inevitable time of the year when my insurance can’t figure out which end is up and that I paid a crap load of money to reach my deductible and I find myself utterly out of test strips. That time of the year hit this weekend.

You see, my brand name test strips that go with my OmniPod PDM cost about $1.54 per little tiny strip… which means the a box of 50 strips that might hold me until this gets figured out (I test 9+ times a day friends) costs more than $75.

The name brand strips for bright pink meter the hospital gave me at diagnosis cost about $1.37 per strip, which isn’t exactly acceptable to pay out of pocket for either…when you know the insurance is supposed to be covering them at 100% now that I’ve emptied my HSA into my bum pancreas.

This is where Wal-Mart comes in. 

Wal-Mart’s private-label diabetes management equipment seems to have the corner on the market of staying alive while not going bankrupt. I keep a basic, ReliOn meter in the drawer just for this purpose. I couldn’t tell you how much the meter cost because Brad picked it up for me the day I came home from the hospital (don’t send a girl home barely out of DKA with only 10 strips, okay?). The test strips though are a major bargain at just under $36 for 100 strips… just under $0.36 per strip if you didn’t want to do the math. I can stomach $4 a day on Wal-Mart strips to stay alive while this issue gets resolved.

The ReliOn brand also has the market on alcohol wipes. I’ve searched high and low for them at a reasonable price and found nothing that beats $0.01 per wipe… not even on Amazon.

So if my life didn’t depend on Wal-Mart, I would not have gone to the hassle of finding a parking space where I didn’t think my car would get doored, witnessed two separate arguments (one customers the other staff), put up with disorganized aisles, walked behind slow aisle-blockers, attempted to maintain my personal space while being stared at by fellow shoppers and “helped” by rude and inattentive employees.. only to have to actually tell the driver in the lane beside me to please stop leering at me when waiting to pull out of the parking lot.

If you’re curious:

I put the ReliOn brand head to head with my Freestyle Lite which are both Consumer Reports “Best Buy” meters, even though the Freestyle had a higher score, the ReliOn performed well. (source)

5 thoughts on “When Your Life Literally Depends on Wal-Mart

  1. Always wondered about the Walmart brand. Good to know that they are rated so high should I have to use it! Keep up the great blog – I enjoy reading it 🙂

  2. For the most part, I hate WalMart too. It just makes me question humanity every time I enter the store, and it’s always an awful experience. But once in a while, when money is tight and I simply can’t afford things elsewhere, the Mart is there to make my wallet a little less angry. Glad they help you too! As awful as they are otherwise.

  3. I hate Wal Mart too, but I do keep a ReliOn meter on hand for the same reason. I have a Contour NextLink and even though the strips cost 0.80/strip, Wal Mart still wins when I only need a small handful to get me through a day or two until my next shipment comes in. I do prefer to use the NextLink because it hooks up to my pump, but the pump is useless without blood sugar information when I run out of strips because my insurance is cheap and doesn’t think I need to test the 10+ times a day that I do.

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