My wife had me take down some things for a party today. While doing so I accidentally smashed a crystal bowl from Tiffany’s, which had been a gift. Oops!
I’ve always hated Tiffany’s –it’s overpriced and the service is slow and haughty. So it was kind of a punishment for me to deal with replacing the bowl. It made me realize that Tiffany’s is a lot like the health care system.
- The store refused to tell my wife the price of the bowl over the phone. “We don’t quote prices off hand.” My wife told her the policy was stupid since they do provide prices on their website
- When I went to pick up the bowl at “customer service,” the clerk took my ID and vanished for 20 minutes before finally coming back with the bowl
Tiffany’s is still proudly in the dark ages (think overpriced mechanical watches that tell lousy time). Until now, most American health care consumers have been like prototypical Tiffany’s shoppers. They don’t care what anything costs, they assume they are getting the best quality in the world, and they put up with lousy customer service. As employees are forced to pay more out-of-pocket and consumer directed health care takes hold, that will change.July 27, 2005