Got Fired Today

Apparently, I really offended my dentist, Dr. Adam Still, (or his operations manager, Stacy Markle), of Laurel Manor Dental. Offended enough that they no longer want me (or Mrs. Major) as a patient. Here’s what happened:

About a year and a half ago, Dr. Still recommended that I replace the crowns on teeth 18 and 19 as they were beginning to “leak” and I would begin to get cavities underneath them soon. He gave me a treatment plan for the two crowns at $2200. 1Actually $910 per crown and $195 each for buildups…so it’s really $2210. I have this minimalist dental insurance 2It’s The Retiree Dental Program for retired military which we pay for. It doesn’t cover all the costs and for crowns there is a max per crown that is very low. They only pay 50% with a max of $350 per crown. that was already maxed out for last fiscal year, so I tried to negotiate with the doctor on the price. He pretty much laughed me off.

I waited until the beginning of this fiscal year and attempted to renegotiate a better price for the two crowns. He refused. When my perodontist also recommended that I get the crowns replaced, I began to shop around to see if a local dentist would do them for less. The good folks at Royal Dental concurred with Laurel Manor Dental’s diagnosis and agreed to replace the crowns for $699 each. I requested that Laurel Manor Dental send my x-rays to Royal Dental so that they could do the work. Which they did for the agreed upon price. They did a great job, too.

A week or so later, I got a letter from Stacy Markle stating that Laurel Manor Dental was sorry to see me leave and was wishing me the “very best in your future dental care.” I called Ms. Markle several times but was unsuccessful. The last time I left her a message on her voicemail stating that I was not changing dentists. I just wanted to save $800 on my crowns. Other than the price for the crowns, I was completely satisfied with Laurel Manor Dental.

Yesterday, I received a “Dear John” letter from Ms. Markle. I quote it here:

As referenced in my letter to you dated July 20th 2009 it is my understanding that you have chosen to seek dental care elsewhere. You indicated such to us when you requested your radiographs be forwarded to another office in order to have your treatment performed there. As a practice policy, we do not assume responsibility for treatment received outside of this office when we have diagnosed treatment and established a relationship with our patient. Therefore, as stated in my letter, we regret your decision, however, wish you the very best in your future dental care. 3I can’t help it. The punctuation in the first sentence is amiss. And one doesn’t diagnose a treatment; one prescribes a treatment.

A nice, friendly letter making it seem like I had abandoned our relationship. Figuring that a business manager would be loath to loose two valued customers in these tough economic times, I called Ms. Markle. I was astounded that, indeed, I was fired as a patient. They had cancelled my appointment for a cleaning for Wednesday.

I guess we’ll have to find another dentist.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Actually $910 per crown and $195 each for buildups…so it’s really $2210.
2. It’s The Retiree Dental Program for retired military which we pay for. It doesn’t cover all the costs and for crowns there is a max per crown that is very low. They only pay 50% with a max of $350 per crown.
3. I can’t help it. The punctuation in the first sentence is amiss. And one doesn’t diagnose a treatment; one prescribes a treatment.

Inflation

Last month Comcast changed their bills to full color. This month they raised their rates. 1Perhaps to pay for the full color. I guess they figure if they look cool we won’t notice the rate increase.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Perhaps to pay for the full color.

Another Trillion

A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money. 1Paraphrased from the original Everett Dirksen quote

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Paraphrased from the original Everett Dirksen quote

Not What They Seem To Be

Does anyone think that fake pricing is not only annoying, but also immoral?

Now, airlines regularly sell seats at a price, but tack on other fees not mentioned therein. For example, we recently bought airline tickets to fly from Orlando to Miami for $89 (including taxes, tags, license, and union dues). We were encouraged to pre-purchase baggage tickets 1to check the bags to save money and ensure our bags would be on the same flight as we will be. I did that today on the Internet. The cost? $55.00. That’s over 61% of the ticket price.

Travel agents are famous for this, quoting one price for a vacation or a cruise then in tiny print reveal that the price does not include government taxes and other fees. Is this materially different from the bait and switch tactics of retailers who advertise an item at a bargain price but have only more expensive items in stock?

What other examples of this kind of fake pricing have you encountered?

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. to check the bags