Last week I needed to get my eyes examined. Unfortunately, I elected to go to Howard A. Sleeper, O.D., whose office is next door to the Walmart store in Brunswick, Maine.
Here’s how it went. After making an appointment for a specific time, I had to wait 45 minutes for Sleeper to finish with a walk–in. During my wait, I tried to have a conversation with the two older women sitting behind the counter a few steps from me. That had absolutely no reaction at all. These two fat older women were busy talking about recipes and how fat they looked in bathing suits. Somewhere on the door, I thought I saw something about this being a “family” eye care service. Evidently, they were the only ones who were part of the family.
If you care at all about the political views of the people you do business with, it is worth noting that Sleeper’s waiting room is filled with far-right magazines like The Weekly Standard and the National Review. Don’t expect to find more moderate reading material. He also took time to applaud Maine’s Governor LePage, who is a tea party favorite and cutting services to the poor and elderly.
Once I got into the examination room, I discovered how extreme Sleeper really is. He spent half the session railing against college students and the school that I teach for. In fact, he insulted just about every school of higher learning that he mentioned.
Of course, the real problem was not with his political views, but that he failed to provide even the basic information I needed to order a new pair of glasses. The prescription he wrote omitted some of the most important information. I did not realize this until I got home and went to order my glasses. Then I discovered that Sleeper provides almost no way of contacting him if you have a question and need an answer reasonably soon.
He has very limited office hours. Although I left several messages looking for the info I needed, no one bothered to return my calls. I am not even sure the messages were recorded. He has no email address and no web site with more information. It’s like he retired and failed to notify anybody.
My advice to anyone in the Brunswick – Bath Maine area is to avoid this guy. His prices are lower than other, reputable eye doctors, but so are his standards. Next time I will pay more to get a thorough exam, a prescription I can actually use, and an office setting where customers are not treated like pariahs.