Recently we’ve experienced the fall-out from a process gone wrong. A no-process, a nocess, if you will. At the dentists.


We like our dentist – he is not at all pushy and does not recommend unnecessary treatments or procedures. The practice sell all kinds of tooth care paraphernalia at pretty much cost price, broadcasting the message loud and clear that we clients are paying for their time and expertise, not helping them make a quick pound or two on a box of floss.


The Onswitch teeth are whitened periodically – requiring the purchase of a particular product from the practice, where the dental surgeon has always been required to authorise dispensation. So as we were about to go away and needed fresh supplies without a trip to the dentist due any time soon, we called the practice to ask if they could provide a couple of tubes for us to collect in a day or two.


Apparently not.

The receptionist told us that she was not sure if there was stock available.

She did not offer to find out, or order some if not.

She did not know the price (classic fail – ALWAYS have prices of common items and procedures to hand).

But it transpired that the reason she did not know the price, was because each dentist at the practice manages their own stock and charges their own price. Which strikes us as:

  1. Not something clients should ever be told
  2. A really rather ridiculous process

At what practice meeting did everyone sit down and agree that a commonly-used item would be ordered, stocked and dispensed by each dentist, at prices determined by, and known only to them? We’d have loved to have banged some heads together at that one!


To make the whole process even more complicated, the system requires that when the receptionist does manage to extract a tube from the client’s own dentist, and has given the secret handshake to find out today’s price, it can’t just be put aside for the client to collect at a later date.

Oh no.

The receptionist has to call the dentist the moment the client is at the desk, hands extended expectantly towards the magic tube, so that he can authorise the transfer in the manner of some illicit drug deal. Interrupting the dentist as he works wonders on another paying client. Why on earth can’t this be pre-authorised? Just crazy.


Anyhow.. At that point we went online, and discovered that the exact same item could be bought for around a quarter of the price.

No drama, no prescription, no dentist’s authorisation required.

So guess what, we bought several tubes.

Onswitch Ltd