“Hey Bob! You are stylin’! Cheap suit!”
“OMG Tiffany, where did you find such cheap shoes?”
“Dude! That’s the cheapest car in town!”
A bargain is something of value purchased more cheaply than is usual or expected. There are two sides to this equation: the item’s VALUE, and its PRICE. It’s not a bargain when you pay less for something of lower value. Too often, inexpensive products cost less because they’re of inferior quality or provided with inferior service.
Our hospital gets occasional phone calls from people looking for “cheap.” These misguided souls search for the cheapest vaccinations or surgery fees. They assume that every doctor is the same, the service provided by every facility is identical, and that a sensible decision is based on price alone. It’s no surprise that such people are often disappointed. They get what they pay for, and usually much less.
If you’re arrested, you don’t seek out the cheapest attorney to keep you out of jail. You don’t impress your date by taking her to the cheapest restaurant in town. When you’re sick, you don’t select the cheapest doctor available. You don’t buy the cheapest shoes, or phone, or engagement ring. Why would the cheapest veterinary care be an exception? Intelligent consumers don’t allow a low price to lure them into accepting inferior value.
The most egregious examples are online pharmacies. Can you consult with them when you have questions or problems with your pet’s medication? NO. Do they guarantee your satisfaction with their products? NO. Wait a minute, you say. Aren’t they selling the same brands as the veterinary hospital? Often. But when your pet vomits the medication or contracts heartworms while receiving monthly medication (it can happen), will the online pharmacy refund your money or get the manufacturer to help pay for your dog’s heartworm treatment? NO! You’re on your own, Pal! These are the services, the VALUE, which you did not purchase when you decided to patronize the cheap place.
Many manufacturers refuse to sell their products through online pharmacies because they know veterinary supervision is necessary for their products to be used safely and effectively. I receive frequent come-ons from reseller companies asking me to order prescription goods so they may resell the products online. Buying from these outfits may not seem like a big deal if you can save a few dollars here and there, but purchases have consequences. In fact, you have no idea where these products are coming from or how your pet’s important prescriptions were handled. Some of the products sold online are outright counterfeits. Visit http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm048164.htm and read the FDA’s statement for yourself!
Why not just call your local veterinarian when there’s a problem? You should. Make an appointment and we’ll be glad to answer all your questions – for a fee. You’ll wind up paying for services that would have been included had you purchased the products locally.
Am I biased? Absolutely! I am a local business owner. I pay local people to work for me. I buy supplies from local vendors. I support my local economy because I know “what goes around, comes around.” How much money do you think the online pharmacy spends locally? That’s right: NONE. Once again, you’re on your own, Pal.
Can your local small business compete with companies like Costco® or PetMeds®? Not on price. Let’s face it; these giants have more buying power than most countries! But the big-box and online giants are in no way capable of competing with the local guy in terms of quality customer service.
I shop the local farmer’s market. I could purchase lettuce or tomatoes or olive oil for less at another outlet, but I know the products at the farmer’s market have been grown on local farms, picked by local people and delivered with minimal shipping – often on the very morning I buy them! I buy grass-fed beef raised within sight of my house – and I pay a little more, and gladly, because I know I’m buying better products with better service while supporting my neighbor’s business. I spend more, but I get a better deal.
“Think globally, act locally” is not just about vegetables. Your friendly neighborhood veterinary hospital is another locally owned business that provides better value and deserves your patronage.