Not Always What It Seems
By Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR
Hospital Administrator at Case Veterinary Hospital
I enjoy the big warehouse stores and love to feel like I got a â€śbargainâ€ť. I also consider myself a savvy shopper and like to research the pros and cons of a purchase and to price shop. Years ago, I would not have thought twice about buying the 6 pack of ketchup at Sams, etc. figuring I would eventually use it and, it must be a good deal if I was buying in bulk. With tighter times, I have started doing the math for bulk items and , more times than not, I donâ€™t find the individual ketchup to be any more expensive and I donâ€™t have to throw away that one bottle that never got used before the expiration date.
The perception that a discount store or a temporary clinic is cheaper is something that we have been raised to believe. As in my ketchup example, it is not always the case. Over the years, our hospital has gotten a reputation for being more expensive. It is frustrating as that is again a fallacy. In todayâ€™s widely competitive market, and with so many options for the consumer, you have to be priced fairly as well as give superior customer service in order to survive.
Yesterday I saw this sign as I was going to the drugstore to purchase some greeting cards. I couldnâ€™t help but compare the services offered with our own. Interestingly, the price for the vaccines is only a few dollars less than what we charge. For an additional $10.00 you would have a record on file with a local veterinarian, you would have an established relationship if your pet ever got sick, you would be greeted by a knowledgeable, friendly receptionist who would be able to answer all your questions, and your pet would be seen by a veterinarian or veterinary technician. These same folks would also be available if your pet had a vaccine reaction or needed additional services.
Not so at your local drugstore. These mobile veterinarians often come from out of state for a day to area stores and are not available if you later have questions or need your records. They do not have the facility to examine your pet or to do the recommended lab procedures to ensure your pet is clear of heartworms or intestinal parasites. Comparing apples with apples, you are getting an inferior product for an only slightly lower price. Furthermore, going with the Buy Local concept, Walgreens will not be available when your pet is sick or when your pet needs to be premedicated for vaccine reactions.
I am all for saving money and, at Case Veterinary Hospital, we offer an online pharmacy and monthly payment plans to help our clients save on their pet expenses. I am just pointing out that it is prudent to actually compare prices before you assume that the drugstore or drive through special is actually saving you money.