Go inside any McDonalds and there is a huge, backlit sign showcasing their complete price list. You know what you are getting yourself into financially when you supersize the fries (not that I have ever done that).
Wanna buy a car? The sticker price is for the base model and if you want to heat up your buns, you’ll pay more for the built-in seat warmer.
Telling people what they are going to pay for something seems standard operating procedure in this ‘selling you stuff’ world.
With the exception of one industry: dental offices. They write their own rules.
“We’re going to do X-rays this visit.”
“Ah, okay”. No mention of what the additional cost is – you just nod in acceptance.
When a retail sales clerk says “This belt is a great accessory for those pants”, you can flip over the price tag in the change room and do the old “Nah, I have one just like it at home”.
Hard to fake with a ‘We have an X-ray machine in the basement but thanks”.
Now truth be told (not always a given in this column), while I’m busy booking my next blind purchase, I mean, dentist appointment, my bill gets magically sent to the insurance company for payment. We have a Dental Plan.
It would be way more fun to have a Disneyland Plan, or an Early Retirement Plan (I think the dentist has one of those) or a Barbie Dream Castle Floor Plan (I think the dentist has one of those, too). But it’s hard to pay for a Dental Plan AND have one of those plans.
I thought my parents had provided me with a lifelong dental plan: brush, floss, rinse, spit, don’t eat rocks and don’t crack-open beers with your molars (thanks for that tip, Grammy Davies).
Doesn’t that sound like a solid dental plan?
The paid-for plan includes metal probes, power tools, recliner chairs and deep scaling. There’s a hooked suction hose that is supposed to void your rivers of saliva but instead it vacuum seals itself to the inside of your cheek.
And the paid-for plan also includes the use of mad scientist torture devices like the Dr. Jekyll cold iron needle plunger. Yikes. Can we not make a pink one with a little portion of the plan premium going to breast cancer research? Why does it have to look so terrorizing? And what’s with creepy dentist holding it down low, rolling the chair a little closer, a little closer, and then BAM – in one swift move, he stabs the needle right into the roof of your mouth? My God – is there any part on your body that seems less interested in having a needle jammed into it than the cratered moon-like surface of the roof of your mouth? It’s like hardened rubber up there.
Within minutes of your roof-top injection, you find yourself numb from the temples down, your feet are elevated, your head is downhill, the blood is rushing to your ears, the light is in your eyes, there is a tray of metal instruments to your left, a masked assistant to your right, the suction hook latches onto your cheek and you think ‘Is this really the right Plan for me?”
Dogs chew Denta Stix. They’re laughing at us.
Alison Davies writes More About Life weekly for the Trentonian.