Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Now Accepting New Patients

There is a dentist office a few blocks from my house located above one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants. There is limited parking for the shops on the street and so this dentist has put up signs claiming a few of the spots for his patients and his patients only.

Every time I visit the restaurant (and I'm there more often than I'd like to admit) I think about walking up the stairs to the dentist office and inquiring about his lease. "Just out of curiousity, does your lease include those two prime parking spots in front of my favorite restaurant or is that just something you decided to do on your own?" I've also been tempted to park there and deal with the dentist and his drill if it ever came to a head. But the rule follower in me is not able to do so; I resent the signs, but a sign is a sign and so I obey. Needless to say, the dentist has left a bad taste in my mouth (no pun intended).

Yesterday I was driving by the office and noticed he's got a new sign on the road; a cheap, tacky, knee-high sign that reads, "Now Accepting New Patients". Rrrreally? So, if I had inquired about a teeth cleaning last month I would have been turned away and told that Dr. Parking Space Hog was not "accepting" new patients? Huh.

Granted, I am not in the market for a new dentist, I've been going to Dr. Sowell since 1987 and have no intention of leaving him for a hoarder of parking spots. And just for the record, I'm the kind of patient dentists would love to get their hands on as explained in an earlier blog. But if I were shopping around for let's say, I don't know, a new set of dentures, I would be the one doing the choosing, not the dentist. It would be me accepting a new dentist and not the other way around. I believe this dentist has his dental practice on East Blvd confused with a plastic surgeon's office on Rodeo Drive.

I realize that times are tough and people are probably foregoing their 6 month cleanings and this guy is doing his best to drum up some business. I just think "Accepting New Patients" is a bit much. For a dentist. On East Blvd. In Charlotte. I have nothing against fact, I am desperately trying to cut back on expenses, too, but I would rather have my right hand cut off before missing a teeth cleaning. I love getting my teeth cleaned. If I ever win the lottery - and I realize that you have to play the lottery to win - something I do not do - but if I ever win, I'm going to hire a personal chef, a personal trainer and a personal dental hygienist (if they'll accept me.) So, believe me, I'm doing my part to support dentists.

I stopped at the coffee shop a few businesses down from the dentist office yesterday because I received a coupon in the mail. Clearly the coffee shop owner needs to talk to the dentist about how best to acquire new customers. Coupons = good. Accepting New Patient Signs = bad. Seriously, how would it look if the coffee shop had a sign outside their door that read, "Accepting New Coffee Drinkers."

Like I said, I am not looking for a new dentist. Lately my dentist has been practicing yoga with me at the Y. We've done sun salutations together, so even if I wasn't happy with his work - which I am - there's no leaving him now. Namaste. But if I were in the market, that bit about accepting new patients would not persuade me to inquire within. The only thing that might get me to visit that office is if the dentist gives up the prime parking spots.

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