One of the cleverest ploys a retailer can pull is the ol’ buy X number of items, get one free. The allure of the “FREE” is vastly more powerful than the reality of the “BUY.” It doesn’t matter what it is, shoes, entrees’, books, real estate, if we see that brightly colored sign its all over.
“Wow, I only have to buy two pair of $100 sneakers, to get a third of equal or lesser value for free?! Sweet!”
But hey, I’m not here to put down the retail establishment. They know what our weak spots are and how to make a quick buck, and we get something for “free” and a sense that we’re sticking it to The Man, so, win win. In fact, I think this type of marketing needs to be expanded to other areas of the business world, other than retail. Namely, the medical establishment. In particular, the animal medical establishment. Specifically, my neighborhood pet hospital.
Last Sunday night, Jen, Jackson, and I were downstairs in our office, Jen working hard, Jackson reclining on his blanket, me playing Call of Duty. Our office is more a combination office/laundry room that is half underground and adjacent to the garage. Our dryer doesn’t vent to the outside, so when it runs we have to leave the door between the office/laundry room and the garage open or the room will turn into a steam bath. Due to prior episodes involving the garage, Jackson, and boxes of rat poison, we are vigilant against letting our mischievous canine in there. However, the dryer was running and to avoid shrouding ourselves in steam while we clicked away, the garage door was left open. But I knew this, and made sure to keep a sharp eye on the boy. Not sharp enough.
Jen had gone up stairs, and when I came back to reality after a particularly intense CoD game, I turned my chair around to find Jackson with a mouthful of rat poison. The whole box actually.
That was all I could say. In an instant visions of vitamin K bottles and wary veterinarians and charcoal syringes and gnashing teeth and vet hospital invoices and dog vomit flashed before my mind’s eye. After my man scream, Jackson set the box down, and for an instant I thought perhaps we could avoid all those horrible visions. But only for an instant as Jackson then plunged his nose into the bright green pellets and helped himself to a mouthful.
I grabbed him by the collar as he swallowed the last of the apparently tasty morsels and we ran upstairs. I told him to sit on his chair and told Jen we had to go to the pet hospital. She was already in her pj’s and was none too pleased. Not that I blame her, it was midnight on a school night. As she changed her clothes I grabbed Jackson’s leash and hooked him up, as he stared at me dumbly.
“You don’t know what you’re in for buddy.”
We rode to the vet in virtual silence, none of the three of us happy to be there. The only thing I think any of us said was when Jen worried, “They’re going to think we’re bad owners.” As we waited in the lobby as the nurse found our paperwork, I could tell Jackson was remembering that this was not a fun place to be. He ought to know, having been here twice before for the same thing. His tail was tucked firmly between his legs and he was nervously pacing around, sniffing everything. He could smell the storm coming.
As the nurse came to take him to the back, I called out a warning, “He’s been here before and doesn’t like it. And he will snap at you.”
We were led to an exam room where we waited for the doctor. He arrived and told us Jackson was a grumpy boy. Duh. They managed to give him the barf medicine, but he was going to need to have the charcoal to soak up any remaining poison. Let me fill you in on what this actually means. The charcoal is in the form of a liquid and looks like black paint. The easiest way to do it is to mix it with food and get the dog to eat it. But who wants to eat food covered in charcoal. Its not quite the same as BBQ. If they won’t take it that way, the other option is to load it into two giant syringes and force feed it. Needless to say this is a difficult and messy proposition. Jackson had needed this procedure once before and, lucky me, I was in Ecuador. Jen had to do it herself with the assistance of some very good friends. I wasn’t so lucky this time.
One of us had to try to restrain Jackson enough for the other one to stick the syringe in his mouth and squirt his innards full of delicious charcoal. Actually, I think it must not be very delicious since every time we managed to squirt a little bit in, he would thrash his head back and forth sending black goo all over us and the room. Jackson started to look like some horror movie monster with black slime dripping from his jaws. Had we been thinking at 12 AM on a Sunday when our dog had just eaten rat poison we would have grabbed the camera.
After about twenty minutes, we finally had emptied the two syringes and to anyone who came into the exam room after us it would be apparent that Jackson had been there…Jackson Pollack. By the time we finished the room looked like a master work from the famous artist, black puddles and splatters everywhere. We cleaned up ourselves the best we could, paid our $200 bill (!!!), and made our way home, vitamin K in hand. Jackson needed a good hosing off before bed, so we gave him a quick bath and finally hit the sack at about two in the morning. So, yeah. Shouldn’t we have gotten a discount?