Friday, January 10, 2014

Free Service Taketh away - Free Check Up Giveth.

I had taken my car for the ‘second free servicing’. (Six months from date of purchase or five thousand kilometers  - whichever is earlier)
“It has done more than five thousand kilometers sir” the service engineer said, “we will do the servicing and I suggest that you get wheel rotation, balancing and alignment done”.
“That’s fine.” I said.
“But wheel alignment and balancing are not part of free service sir. It will be six hundred rupees.”
He proceeded to check the vehicle.
“The silencer coating has not been done sir. Better to do it now. The nuts and bolts rust very fast and no point doing the coating after that.”
“OK, do it”
He lifted the bonnet.
“Lot of dust on the engine sir. Shall we do the engine coating also? It will reduce dust collection and makes it easy to clean”
“What will be the cost?”
“Silencer and engine coating together would be one thousand five hundred sir”
I had to say yes.
Then he opened the door.
“Sir, don’t you want to put seat covers?”
“No” I said. “It is quite ok as it is. It looks and feels fine.”
“But look here sir.” He showed me a corner of the seat. “See, something has rubbed here and the fibres are sticking out. If there is a tear, you will have to replace the whole seat”
I had not thought about that. Our car boot is not big and sometimes we keep luggage on the back seat. There is a possibility of damage.
“What is the cost of the covers?”
“You please check with the accessories section sir. There is a discount available. But it is better that we put the seat covers”
 I went to the accessories section and selected a set of covers which cost three thousand five hundred after ‘discount’.

The car was delivered in the evening after the second ‘free’ servicing along with a bill for five thousand rupees.

To boost their sales, Colgate Palmolive organises a ‘Free Dental Check up Month’ every year and I had enlisted as a participating dentist. During the later years I opted out of it but I think the company has not ‘delisted’ me. As a result, I received a call from a gentleman who wanted a ‘free’ check up. I did not want to disappoint him and asked him to come.

I directed him to the chair.
“What will be the fee doctor?”
“There will be no fee. This is a ‘free dental check up.”
“I have no trouble as such doctor. I just want to make sure that things are OK.”
I examined his teeth. “You have a good set of teeth. But there is a bit of tartar on some of them and it is better you get it cleaned. It is not urgent and you may get it done whenever and where ever you wish.”
“Can you please do it now doctor?  I am expecting a call from my employers abroad and may have to leave the country any time.”

I did the cleaning. During cleaning he experienced a bit of sensitivity in one of his grinders and I found a depression on the tooth. It was not decay. The tooth was worn out. I told him so.
“Can it be filled doctor?”
“There is no need for a filling there. Just make sure that you do not rub very hard on that tooth when you brush. And always use a soft brush. It may have to be filled if it gets deeper.”
“Please fill it if you can, doctor. Sometimes I find food getting stuck there.”
I did the filling.
“My wife says that sometimes I grind my teeth at night. Is that all right?”
“Well, if you have that habit the tooth wears out faster. The filling may not last long even. You may use a night guard to protect your teeth.”
“What is this night guard?”
“It is an appliance made out of soft plastic which fits and covers all your teeth. You put it on your teeth when you go to bed and remove it in the morning. It will prevent damage to your teeth even if you grind them sometime at night.”
“Where is it available doctor?”
“It will not be available in the shops. It is not ready made. I can get it done for you if you want.”
“Can it be done in a day or two? I may have to leave the moment I get the call.”
I said that I can and prepared the moulds of his teeth then and there. I told him that I will call him as soon as the night guard is ready and that he can come and collect it.”

He left after the ‘free dental check up’ paying me about five thousand rupees in all.

Model of Patient's teeth at the bottom. 'Night Guard' (meaning easy money) at the top.

Lord taketh away but the lord giveth too.

Rather, Free service taketh away but Free check up giveth. 

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