When guests phone, I focus on their problems. Half the time, all they need is advice. Once they’ve decided 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.”

    “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 although we are pretty selective.

    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’d hesitate at $500 for an orchestra seat at a hit play. They know that a $50 balcony seat provides a similar experience, more or less. I suggest local urgent-care clinics that accomplish this.

    Mike Oppenheim
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