It’s a commonly known fact that sometimes all you have to do to get a discounted price is ask. I have to admit not putting that knowledge to the test as often as I probably should, but last week I managed to pull that off at a place that I would usually have not thought to request it at: our veterinarian’s office.
Here’s the scoop: until about 9 months ago or so, we would have said that our two Lhasa apsos are pretty healthy. Ha! First of all, never say that. You virtually guarantee that the hand of fate will come knocking at your door. A series of unfortunate events this year has completely blown that idea all to hell.
First our younger dog (6 years old), in her enthusiasm to inhale a dental bone, managed to get a huge chunk of that bone lodged in her esophagus this past April. That was a scary 14 hour ordeal that involved multiple x-rays, two different vet’s offices, an emergency procedure, and finally bills from the two vet’s offices totalling over $700. Needless to say, our dogs no longer get dental bones these days!
Second, we have always boarded our dogs at kennels when we go out of town and it has never been a problem. However, somewhere along the way last winter our dogs picked up two kinds of parasites (Coccidia and hookworms) and we think it was probably there. Thus began a long journey to getting rid of the damn things. I’ll spare you all the details! Suffice it to say that after more than 7 months of battling parasites, four weeks ago was the first time that we were able to say that both dogs were free of both kinds of parasites.
Anyway, so you could say that we have spent our fair share of time at the veterinarian’s office in the last year. We have gotten to know every vet in the office and the people who answer the phone know exactly who I am when I call them (which I have decided is never a good thing!)
So when I called the vet’s office a couple weeks ago to schedule a dental cleaning for our older dog (who at 8 years old is the sweetest dog ever but has TERRIBLE teeth), I was a little put off when I was informed over the phone that I would first have to make an appointment to come in for “a meet and greet” so the vet could look at her teeth and determine if any needed to be pulled. Really?? We’ve spent umpteen hours and easily over $1500 at our vet’s office this year. Is it my fault that over the course of all these vet visits nobody bothered to look at her teeth? I expressed my dissatisfaction about this and mentioned that we are there all the time (this happened to be a new hire answering the phone, so she did not know me), and I asked if the “meet and greet” visit could be done without charge. She put me on hold and after a few minutes she came back and told me that there would be no charge for the “meet and greet” and that we would be able to schedule it for immediately before the procedure to minimize trips. Booyah!
I think the vet’s office felt bad about upsetting me, because the actual bill after the procedure was markedly less than last year’s dental cleaning and they ended up giving us a lot of discounts ($125 worth of discounts, to be exact). Last year’s doggie dental cleaning bill came to $375, and this year’s bill was only $250. Granted our poor little doggie had to have 8 teeth pulled last year and this year she “only” had to have 5 teeth pulled (despite the fact that we have now become canine tooth brushing Nazis), but I think the price difference had more to do with the fact that I asked for a discount and expressed my dissatisfaction over the extra visit/charge.
The moral of the story: pet ownership can be expensive! And don’t hesitate to ask for a discount at places that you regularly patronize, including the veterinarian’s office.
What do you think? Have you ever paid less by asking for a discount?