We’ve been visiting the same dentist since forever. A private dentist, mind, so goodness knows how many pounds have been extracted from our purse in the name of whiter teeth over the years.
The Onswitch dental routine features regular teeth whitening, using a product that we have always bought from the dental surgery, as it requires a prescription.
So recently, when our tube was running a little low, we called the practice to advise that we’d be dropping by in the not-too-distant future to pick up another tube. No problem, the receptionist assured us brightly.
So, we were a little frustrated to find that having made a special trip the next day to collect the said tube, there was no stock. Nor was our regular dentist in, and then to top it all off, we were told in no uncertain terms that only he could issue the required prescription. The surgery seemed to raising barriers at every turn – all we wanted to do was buy a simple tube of whitening bleach, but we left empty-handed and more than a little riled.
Obviously we did the only logical thing for a busy Onswitcher in search of essential items to do next, we went online.
Typing in the name of the elusive item revealed that, contrary to what we’d been told by our dentist for years, we could actually buy an identically formulated product online, without a prescription, and at a quarter of the price. Which left us fuming – all those years of loyalty were undermined in a second by the realisation that we’d been had. Because that’s how it feels – we’ve unknowingly paid over the odds for years for a product that we were led to believe was unavailable via any other route.
And it got us thinking about all those dog chews and leads on sale at almost every practice across the land. Almost always at a premium price. When owners visit the vets, it’s for care and expertise that they simply can’t get elsewhere, it’s not to buy Fido a new collar. And we all know that the same item is available online or at a pet store near you for a better price.
Maybe it’s time to ‘come clean’, to ‘brush off’ the misapprehension that we’re helping our clients out by selling them over-priced pet neckwear (No more dental puns, honest!)
Maybe the time has come just to concentrate on doing what we do best – providing excellent care to clients and pets alike.
Because when customers have other options, other places where they can fulfil their retail needs more conveniently and less expensively, most of us will do exactly that. Just as when we know that our vet, or our dentist, is making money out of us on one small thing, we’ll start to wonder how much they’re making on the big stuff.
Because ultimately, if we don’t respect our clients, they won’t be our clients for long.