is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Vice President of User Experience at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. You can reach him through one of the services below.+
To those uninitiated in the vagaries of medical care for pets, suffice it to say that veterinarians’ bills can get pretty expensive pretty quickly. So for years I’ve paid for a pet medical insurance policy for my dog, Mister President. It sounds a little silly, I know, but it’s been worth the money.
After my dog, Mister President, passed away last month, and after I picked myself up off the floor, I somehow found the wherewithal to submit insurance claims for all of the bills we incurred in diagnosing and treating his cancer, and for the euthanasia and cremation processes too.
This week I got the benefits check back in the mail. On one of the schedules, there was a line item with a diagnosis code of 1090, described as “Miscellaneous: with deepest sympathy.” It also had a “Reason Code” of 173, and an explanation that reads:
“We’re very sorry for your loss. Everyone at — understands the special human-animal bond and knows how difficult it is to lose a cherished pet. Please accept our sympathy on your loss.”
Actually, I’m not even particularly offended by this nondescript handling of this emotionally delicate matter. (On the whole, I’ve been pretty pleased by the insurance carrier for this policy — I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to other pet owners.) But I wonder why they even bothered? This seems about as unhelpful a condolence message as anyone could ever receive. Oh well, corporations will be corporations, I guess.+