22 January 2009 0 Comments

The most expensive appointment you never went to

So you have an appointment scheduled with your doctor, therapist, counselor, dentist, or whatever – an appointment with an individual who provides a professional service. Someone whose time is just as valuable as yours, in some cases – depending on the specialist, they may perceive their time to be more valuable.

Regardless of the profession, lets say you make an appointment. Your calendars are reviewed, time slots are filled and your done. Off to go do whatever it is you do to fill up your time until the next appointment – snowboard, hang out with the kids, run errands, sleep, work, play with the dog, go for a ride, eat, pay bills, sleep, exercise, go out to eat, have beers, party, sleep, work, make deadlines, kids, etc. Life goes on, and you realize you just missed that appointment. Oops.

So you forgot the appointment, honestly. It slipped you mind – there was no malicious intent. So you call about twenty minutes into the appointment you were supposed to be at, to reschedule. No answer, so you call again, no answer, and then you finally send an email. ‘Sorry I missed the appointment, can we please reschedule’ (or something like that).

About forty minutes into the appointment you were supposed to be at, you get an email – not a phone call – stating that your appointment was missed and according to the contract, since there was less than a 24 hour notice you are being charged the full fee of, let’s use $100 as an example. And let’s say that he/she decided to use the numbers of your credit card (which was retained without your knowledge) to charge that no-show fee. Is that desperation, or just a strict adherence to a self imposed rule which undoubtedly leaves both parties at odds.

All of us have missed an appointment for some reason or another. Perhaps to no fault of our own, we’re not infallible. None of us.

Most if not all of the service related professionals listed above have a similar cancellation policy. Some go even as far as 48 hours. It’s understandable. But to charge the full fee – immediately after the appointment missed? What happened to three strikes? Or in this case, the first one? A partial fee maybe. But to even charge at all? If it was an oversight and you have every intention of rescheduling, why not empathize, reschedule and say “next time buddy, you will pay – oh you will pay”. That’s fair. But no warning?

I’ve talked to several doctors who have similar policies, and asked them if they have exercised their “cancellation policy”. The answer was predominantly “no”. The repeat offenders – the ones with great excuses for continuously missing appointments were charged and in the end went away. But they did not penalize their regular patients who may have once, maybe twice forgotten an appointment over the years. It’s about fostering relationships in a small community, not enforcing unjust stipulations. I suppose some people cannot see the forest through the trees.

Rant over and out.

21 October 2008 0 Comments

Pumpkins and Dragons

Mech DragonWe cruised out to The Pumpkin Patch this weekend – the whole family. It’s been a while since we all cruised out to do something together. It was good to get Max out of the house, hang out w/ mom and dad, and enjoy all the ups and downs of a family outing.

Visiting the Pumpkin Co seems to be the thing to do every year just before Halloween – the gateway holiday. We’ve gone there for at least the past 7 years. I suppose this is the first year I noticed how much things cost at this event (I’m pretty sure it’s because of all the constant news about the economy taking a dive). We probably spent about $100 or so that day. Lunch, Pumpkins, rides, the ‘maize’ were all part of the deal. It was a good time as usual, and bigger than last year – it gets bigger every year. The only thing I didn’t understand was why the cost of an adult ticket to go through the corn ‘maize’ was $2 more than a kids ticket. It’s not like they were selling lift tickets, or season passes. I could think of no logical reason for the tickets to cost more. I thought it was funny and unneccesary at the same time – It was Wally World in Terrebonne.

We left with some pumpkins and a little smile on Max’s face, which was all I really wanted to see actually. We’ve been having fun at home, but I could see he was getting ‘depressed’ – he actually used that word two nights ago. I never thought I would hear him say that, at least not at 10. I immediately thought of that TV commercial with all the depressed people, then they take a pill and they’re fine. Depression is a real problem for some people, but not for a boy who was completely fine a month ago.

WatchingMax has been a trooper. At times he’s shown frustration, anger, but for the most part happy.

Things are changing though. He’s more serious, cautious. At the Pumpkin Patch he was watching kids play mostly, some of whom who were his friends. He was reluctant to join them running around jumping from hay bail to hay bail. He was unsure and self-conscious. It took some time but he eventually engaged, and that was good to see. Max being Max, if for just a few moments.

I think getting out with the whole family did help. It was a beautiful weekend, and staying in building Lego sets was taking its toll. Life goes on, and he – along with Laurie and I – needed  to see that, feel that – plus we needed some more pumpkins. We only were able to salvage two pumpkins from our garden. During this past month some things fell to the wayside, and one of those things was the garden.

Standing in the PatchIt was good to spend some time w/ mom and dad too. It’s always great to spend time with them, they bring a certain comfort and reassurance to the whole family for sure. We had dinner at their house on Sunday after the patch. Good times.