There can be little doubt that if a place offers good service they are far more likely to retain their customers.
The Chemist in the Village has always been pretty good. Kelly is happy to have a look at lumps and bumps so long as it is not necessary to remove any clothes to get at 'em - yours not hers - she's a professional after all. And if she reckons there is something amiss then she will give best advice and sell you some salve or other and send you on your way.
A while back Stevie had a sore knee which I admit didn't generate a lot of sympathy from me, being the princess of the shit knees, but his carry on got tedious so we took off and asked Kelly the Chemist. She barely touched it and went into a bit of a spasm cos there was a great big infection going on and even though we had no prescription we left with some top dog antibiotics and the number of an afterhours doctor who would pop out for nothing and issue the requisite paperwork. Suffice to say I felt like a bit of a shit head for my lack of sympathy. The Doctor came and agreed with Kelly's diagnosis and wrote the script which was promptly delivered so all the government boxes could be ticked. For those of you who are worried, Steve's knee is fine though I will admit that it took much longer than I had expected and I imagine that it was definitely sorer than I gave credit for, but that's cos I am a cow.
Yep, anyone would be bloody pleased with this service.
Except that a while back a woman I know told me that this chemist charges almost twice the price of the chemist around the corner for medicine stuff. I wondered about it for a while and then forgot.
In a bid to start getting sorted for London, I gathered up all the 'justincase' scripts and the normal shit and took it all over. Kelly wasn't there and the place was heaving. Coffee was calling so it was all left in their capable hands and I went back later to collect the stuff. Some of it was they bagged up and some was on back order and the bloke tried to give me the wrong brand and it was all a bit of a debacle, but I splashed the plastic, paid for the lot, and carried half a load home, agreeing to pop back later for the rest.
Then I remembered the warning of the higher prices and when I got home I rang another chemist to get a price check. And bugger me if the stuff was in deed twice the price! I was 'not happy Jan'.
I tootled back to the village and rather than make a scene I spoke softly to the bloke, away from the other customers and told him that I had got comparative prices from the next closest chemist. He took my list and my handwritten notes and then, just to make sure that I was not a big fat liar, he rang to confirm the prices! I was not best pleased. He came back and agreed to charge me the same and so refunded the difference which was OK, except that then I began doing the math in my head - which is a painful exercise and something that I had decided was not going to happen ever again after I turned 40, and I turned a very unattractive puce colour cos the overcharging amounted to a very big bunch of wonga over the years.
We had well and truly paid for every bit of service and then some.
I guess if all had gone smoothly today I wouldn't have recalled the 'price war warning' but as things were pretty shit, I did remember, and unusually acted on it.
So now I am in a quandary. Do I suck it up and pay the ridiculous premium for the fine Kelly service, and the convenience of it being next to the coffee shop we are at everyday? Or do I take my business elsewhere?
I am undecided.
Is service more important than comparable pricing?