I Am Not a Commodity

I’m not sure when this started happening, but one day I went in to see my dentist. The hygienist that I’d known for a long time cleaned my teeth as usual and then a different dentist (other than my regular) did the examination.

“Okay,” I thought. A little unusual, but fine. He wasn’t unprofessional or anything, although he didn’t introduce himself, so for all I know, this was a student poking around in my mouth.

Now, I’ve been with my current dentist for nearly 10 years. Not a huge amount of time,  but I always had the same one. I’ve had problems with my teeth in the past and am sensitive to any changes.

When I went out to book my next appointment, I inquired who would be the dentist, and I was advised that it would be this guy that just examined me. I was told that it was “customary” for the examining dentist to do the follow-up work.

I was stunned. When did I become nothing more than a commodity? It could have been a butcher picking another piece of meat to slice into tonight’s roast.

Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but the dentist is my least favourite place to go. They don’t sell any product so you go to your dentist to buy… therefore it’s a SERVICE industry and while it may be “customary” for the examining dentist to do the follow-up work, its unprofessional NOT to introduce yourself; NOT to advise me AHEAD of time that this dentist will be doing the follow-up work; and NOT to ASK IF I MINDED.

Coming from a profession that is supposed to be at the top of the etiquette chain, I think the teaching institutions need to start teaching SERVICE etiquette because they don’t appear to have this acumen.

The terrible thing is that this is not the first time this happened to me.

We’ve always had pets, usually cats. We were going to a vet that we rather liked. They were close to our home, they were polite, and the served only cats. Then one day, we had to take my little guy into the vet and it was no longer a “Cat Veterinary” and there was a big sign on the door saying “All animals welcome.”

Fine, I thought. I won’t stop anyone from making more money if they truly need it, but I should have been forewarned that the business was changing. And not only did they change from cat only, but the vet that we liked sold the business and left without telling us. They just assumed that we would stay with the new vet.

I’m sorry, but when looking for a service profession, I stay with the PERSON, not the building and they should be obligated to advise me of change of management.

I took my cat to this new vet ONCE. He took him behind doors (I wasn’t allowed to stay with him, unlike other visits), and when the nurse brought him out, he had two big chunks of fur missing from his neck, as if he was being held in a death grip. She showed it to us and asked if it had ever happened before. “No,” was my answer. “Oh, well it’s common when the animal gets stressed.”

Number 1, don’t lie to me. The marks on the neck were in the exact place that thumb and fingers would be.

Number 2, why didn’t the vet come one and explain this to me? That’s HIS obligation.

Number 3, why didn’t the vet even INTRODUCE himself… again… standard, business practice.

Needless to say, we’re no long with this vet.

As we age, we want to stay with services we’ve known. We know how they work and we have a history with them. But as these new “professionals” emerge from schools that don’t teach common courtesy or etiquette in place of advocating the “money first philosophy,” they’re all destined for failure.

Seaghan Hancocks

Mr. Seaghan (pronounced shawn) Hancocks works as a professional broadcast Line Producer. Between gigs he writes for his growing web clientele.

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