Dental tourism is no different than going to Nordtrom Outlet or waiting until designer slacks are on sale at JCPenney. The game is about not paying full price. Not ever again. And, even where there is discounting, we intend to bargain.
So, it was no surprise that on the line going through customs from Mexico back to the U.S. we compared prices we had just paid at the various dental clinics.
On hearing that the retired woman ahead of her had paid $35 for a cleaning, the middle-aged one gushed how she got hers for $20.
You bet, I paid attention. "Where did you go?" I had been at Dental Laser Nogales. It was clear that to get the price for dental procedures in Mexico I would have to continue to shop around.
Sure, I would finish out going there to ensure the right fit for a mouth guard. That meant three more three-hour round-trips from Tucson, Arizona to Mexico. Because you have to walk across the border (driving through requires special insurance) you also have to pay four bucks for parking.
But before I commenced with the big-ticket items like a deep cleaning and replacement of crowns I would seek out second opinions and comparison-shop.
The shame of not having achieved wealth and/or having lost it has mutated into a brutal determination to make it on what we have. The talk with neighbors and friends is about how to save a buck.
That's how I found out about what dental discounting was below the border. The WOW conversation at a party was how the host's sister-in-law got all her "work" done for $3,200. We scurried for a pencil to write down the phone number of the dental clinic.
On the drive back from Mexico yesterday, my fellow dental tourists and I compared pricing for hair cuts in Tucson versus Oro Valley, AZ. Again there was the debate about renting versus buying. The opinions had the intensity of moral certitude. Yes, the preoccupation was making our money go as far as possible.
Is not paying full price a trend or a fad? If wages and compensation in the on-demand-economy go up, probably we will opt again for immediate convenience versus taking the day to travel for bargains. Those who land the best bargains will no longer be the center of attention. And I won't think too many times before I spend anything.
But now, you're marked as a fool for paying full price. Tell me how good your local dentist is. I will smirk.