If you have ever bought something, brought it home, only to find an essential part is missing, I feel for you.

Imagine buying an expensive new flat-screen TV. You’ve done your research, found it at a great price. Made the purchas. Brought it home. Unpacked it. Set it up – and wait – where’s the power cord?

You’re missing the most essential part of your purchase – without it – you have just bought an expensive knick-knack.

The other day I was at my endocrinologist for my usual three-month check-up. I was chatting to the nurse about blood glucose meters. How mine was old and sometimes I felt I couldn’t trust the readings. She told me the most important thing you can do to insure the accuracy of your meter is to test it with the control solution. She said they do it everyday for the meters they use in their office. She even offered to give me a brand new meter, which I graciously accepted. I’m not sure why I felt like a kid on Christmas morning, but I couldn’t wait to get home to open it up.

I unpacked the meter and spread the instructions on the floor; unfolded it was as big as the Led Zeppelin poster I had on the wall of my college dorm room. I proceeded with the set-up – time, date, etc. The kit came with 10 test strips and 10 lancets to get me started. I then got to the step “Preparing you meter for its first use”. The instructions then directed me to use the Control Solution to run an accuracy test.

Um. Ok. Where is it?

I looked through the open box, the little nylon carrying case – nothing.

Seriously? You’ve provided me with a meter, test strips and lancets – but nothing to ensure the meter is accurate?

So I called customer service. I explained my situation to a very nice person who told me there was a few ways I could get the solution – go to a pharmacy – and pay full price; get a prescription from my doctor and have it covered by insurance, or; they could send me one – free of charge. Of course I took the last option. After giving the customer service rep all of my information I asked why they didn’t include the control solution in the box. The rep informed me that they didn’t include the solution in the package because it expires after three months.

I thought that was kind of odd – everything nowadays has an expiration date on it – even beer. And if you can get the same solution at your local pharmacy – I can’t imagine they are doing it for safety reasons – it’s baffling.

So now my meter sits and waits for the control solution to come in the mail. I have to next to my TV, which thankfully came with all parts included.