Sometimes It Really Is Us Doing Something Wrong…

I have an older Accu-Chek Compact meter that I use at work. This meter uses a “drum” of 17 test strips. There are a few reasons that I don’t really like it, but I don’t hate it either. It’s a good meter to have at work, and I have a TON of strips for it, so I may as well use them up.

One of the things I don’t like about it is the noise. The thing is very mechanical, and there is a lot of racket that happens as it spins the cartridge and pushes the next strip out. Another thing is if you bump the “eject” button on the side of it, and the cartridge drops out, it has to “find” where it left off. It takes a long time for it to spin and check, spin and check, spin and check, spin and check, spin and check, spin and check – to FINALLY find where it left off in order to spit the next strip out for you.

The battery door is also a bit loose on mine, so the batteries fall out often. It sucks because it then looses it’s date & time. Annoying.

What I considered to be the last straw was that when I would press the button to turn it on, it would only come on one out of ten times! It would really irritate me! I just want to do a test – I don’t want to fight with my meter to turn it on!!!

I told my co-worker “this thing is a piece of crap, and I’m going to call and get a new one!!”

So I called the 1-800 support number on the back. I tried for days. The first three or four times I called, I heard a message indicating that my estimated hold time would be greater than 5 minutes, and it suggested some other times of the day that are typically less busy for them.

I finally got through to someone, and she was very nice and professional. She asked the standard questions (name, address, meter serial number, etc). I explained my problem with pressing the power button, and not getting any response.

She calmly explained that this particular meter was built such that if the power button is not pressed directly in the center that it disables the power button for about 10 seconds. This is so that if the button is pressed accidentally, say while in a bag or something, it wont turn on and waste a strip. “Aha!” I exclaimed! I told her that I would pay better attention to where I was pressing the button, and see if that makes any difference. Sure enough, being sure to hit the button in the exact center, it has worked flawlessly since.

Old Accu-Chek Compact
Mine did not have a cover…

I’m not going to go into the design theory here – Well, Ok, maybe a little bit. The button is frickin HUGE! It’s the biggest button on the entire device! If you want to make it less likely to accidentally turn the thing on, make the button smaller! Anywho, that’s not the point of this post.

The point of this post is that I assumed that I knew this meter well enough to turn in on – it couldn’t possibly be something that I was doing that was causing the problem. I automatically assumed it was a mechanical problem with the product, and I was determined to get a replacement.

But, as it turns out, it was something I was doing wrong. I should note, that this important information was not clearly available in a very quick scan of their downloadable user manual or FAQ (which, of course, I did not look at until just now).

So, next time you’re on the line with a support person, be patient with them, answer their questions to the best of your ability, and be willing to try any suggestions they may have.

Sometimes it really is us doing something wrong.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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