Thursday, February 9, 2012

Billable Hours

Last July I stood with pearly white cavity-free teeth and scheduled my next six-month checkup at the gleaming front desk of my dentist. It was only the second time I had been to the office and the only reason I was there at all was because my long-time dentist had retired. Oh he played it well-- sending postcards to all of his clients informing us that he was cutting back on his hours. I knew then that, seeing as how he was a single practitioner, it could only mean one thing: he was selling us to another practice.

Even so, I decided to go along and see how the new dentist was. My first visit was like time traveling-- the office, the equipment, and the staff seemed at least thirty years ahead of the old-fashioned approach I was used to, and nobody from the old practice was anywhere in sight. It wasn't great, and it wasn't terrible, but it was really really different, yet not so much to make me go out and find myself a new tooth guy.

The second visit was also fine. I found myself building a bit of a rapport with my new hygienist, and the efficiency of everything in this oh so 21st century practice was beginning to win me over. I liked the email reminders and the convenient online confirmation, and I could almost picture myself stopping at the Starbucks a few doors down every six months from now to infinity.

Until today. I awoke this morning with the leaden knowledge that I had slept poorly. The idea of busting out the door right after school to get my teeth cleaned, on top of everything else I needed to do today was overwhelming, and in an effort to prioritize, I resolved to reschedule. I called the office at lunch to politely explain the situation and get another date on the calendar. There was a pause, and then the receptionist told me that ordinarily it's a hundred dollar charge to cancel within four business days. They were waiving it for me this time, but I needed to make a note of the policy.

And I did make a note, right away.  

Find a new dentist.

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