Just so you all know, my daughter was constipated and not inoculated with H1N1. Being grateful that my kid is constipated is a first in this household. Pass the Miralax!
We had a new client today- well, let me rephrase. Potential new client. He made it clear to the receptionist that he has interviewed 4 veterinarians already to see who he would choose to spay his dog, and I quote, “none were up to his exacting standards.” He was here for a consultation to maybe do the spay with us. Gratis, of course.
After telling the technician he had no questions for her, only the doctor would do, he kept me in the room for 45 minutes asking me questions about a spay. How long, exactly, is a fast? 8 hours? 12? Is 9 ok? What are the elements of your pre-op bloodwork and what is each component looking for? Is pickup at 4, 5, or 7 pm? What are all the possible complications? That night, can they eat? Half portions or full portions? What percentage of dogs need e-collars? What is our emergency place and what is their consultation fee if the dog is sore at midnight and what are the chances of that happening?
Now don’t get me wrong- I am happy to answer clients’ questions. That being said, he’s not even a client yet. He refused to talk to my technician, who could have answered the vast majority of his questions, and tied me up for 45 minutes while my other clients with appointments had to wait. If he really has been to 4 other places, he would have heard most of the answers already. I went into the room ready to make a great impression and share how proud I am of our clinic and our protocol, but while I was sitting there being interrogated I started to think that maybe I would be happy if I did not fit his exacting expectations either. I mean, if he thought monopolizing me was a reasonable thing to do before he even committed to us, while using a free exam coupon, imagine how he would be after bringing his pet in? I’m having nightmares already.
I think it is reasonable for a person to come in and want to get to know us, to try and find out if we offer what they need and want in a veterinarian. We don’t really get to pick our clients, they pick us. Regardless, we try and keep in mind what personalities we work well with and which doctor in the practice might be the better match for them.
There are also some red flags that might pop up. Some are like little post-its sitting demurely in the background, while others wave like big red PADI flags snapping in hurricane winds. Someone who announces before setting foot over doorstep that none of the other docs in town (good places, too) pass muster is the type of person who will most assuredly have you on the phone for 3 hours each day for the week after the surgery, and will probably find fault in something. Or 5 somethings, since we already know he is like that. I won’t be able to make him happy.
I know in this economy that we need to be grateful for everyone who entrusts us with their pet’s care. This is true. It is also true that there are some people who wind up being more hassle than any amount of money could ever make up for. For that very reason, when he said he would think about it, I breathed a silent sigh of relief. Then he asked if we did surgeries on Fridays, so he could be home on the weekend to monitor his dog. Then I breathed an even bigger sigh of relief because THAT’S MY DAY OFF. Yes, I told him, Fridays are an exceptional day to have surgery.
Good day to you, high maintenance-potential lawsuit-medical board complaint waiting to happen man. I appreciate your thoroughness and determination to get the best care for a pet who is truly a sweet and adorable dog, so please forgive me when I say I hope I didn’t impress you that much.