Thursday, February 5, 2015

Paying My Fee

It’s less than the going rate, but no one considers it cheap.

When guests phone, I focus on their problems. Half the time, a housecall isn’t necessary. Once we’ve agreed that I should come, I mention the fee. About ten percent of callers reconsider, but almost no one does so directly. I hear….

“Let me talk to my husband and get back to you.”

“Our tour leaves in half an hour. I’ll call when we’re back and set up the appointment.”

“I’m going to try to ride this out, but I’ll let you know.”

“I need to check with my insurance.”

All doctors maintain that they never turn away a patient unable to pay. This is not an actual lie - provided we’re the ones who decide.

I’m generous with guests from motels and youth hostels who are clearly not affluent, but plenty of callers are paying a hotel bill well in excess of mine. They object to my fee just as they hesitate at $5.00 coffee at Starbucks or $200 for an orchestra seat at a hit play. They know that $1.00 coffee at McDonald's or a $50 balcony seat provides a similar experience, more or less. I direct them to urgent-care clinics that accomplish this.

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