My desk has been invaded by vast quantities of soft contact lenses in half-empty boxes and cases. I can only guess where they came from, when they arrived and what I should do with them. Therefore, I have decided to throw them all—every single dried out blue cornflake wannabe—into the trash. 

Please don’t tell my wife. 

Why can’t I stay ahead of this junk? It’s like roaches and ants; they replicate faster than I can stomp ’em. One day, my desk has neat little stacks of paper (which are, admittedly, largely also a mystery to me, but at least they are all the same size so my desk looks organized). The next day, I am swamped with lenses that tore after two and a half weeks (“Aren’t these monthly? Must be defective!”) and half-empty boxes from patients who “only wore three pair” before they decided they hated bifocal contact lenses after all. 

What should I do with them? I guess I should fuss at my sales rep until he trades them in or gives me credit on our account. 

Do you think the fact that I have no clue whose they were, when they were ordered or why they expire next week should have any impact? Unless they cost me a couple hundred bucks, I think it’s more cost effective to toss them than to send them back, which takes time away from what is important in my office—reading the obituaries. 

I often think I should get this whole system more organized. I used to have designated employees whose responsibility included dealing with wayward contact lenses. They became experts in spending 30 minutes looking and then announcing, “I can’t find this invoice.” It’s probably our complicated filing system’s fault. It’s a system none of my staff members has ever had any real experience with: the alphabet. 

So, I finally gave up and told my assistants I would deal with them. This has changed my perspective so very much, as you assistants can imagine. I have become humble and, yes, totally incompetent. This has helped us bond as a unit. In fact, we have changed our office motto from “The Area’s Finest Eye Care Office” to “We Have No Clue Where Your Contact Lenses Went.”

There are a few problems with trashing the lenses all over my desk:

  1. If my office manager/wife finds out, I am in deep doo-doo. It would actually be better if she found out I am having 12 affairs than to lose one $42 refund on a box I was supposed to send back. Anybody can have affairs, but in her opinion, that $42 is her $42. She wants her dang money.
  2. As soon as I trash them, someone will call and say they decided they loved the lenses they returned after all and need them back because they are leaving for the beach tomorrow. They want to order a ton of boxes and, well, I almost always forget to write the parameters of the lens on the chart, so I am in a mess. Now, computers have helped immeasurably, mainly because I can blame the computer for losing the information and not appear to be the nincompoop I actually am. 
  3. If I trash all the boxes on my desk, I will uncover all the ICD-10 stuff that I have been dreading. 
In the end, I made the decision to pitch the whole contact lens cesspool into the trash, no matter what the cost or fallout. Well, I did keep one half-empty box. After all, it was close to my prescription! My wife gave me a 10% discount.