Last year my wife and I went to Iceland for a spring visit. On our last night, we wanted to get a bite to eat. The only restaurant open so late was the hotel’s. We were already used to exorbitant prices for eating out in Iceland. So, when we ordered french fries and salad (limited late night menu), we were not shocked by the $40 tab. The salad consisted of a few wilted leaves of lettuce. There might have been one tomato. I don’t remember anything else. And the French Fries were forgettable.

Then my wife asked for ketchup.

No problem.

When the server returned, she informed the ketchup packet was $1.

That’s when smoke emerged from my ears.

The $40 for the “meal” I expected. The one dollar for a packet of ketchup…that was outrageous.

Pause to think about that for a second.

That brings me to a recent call I had with a California plastic surgeon.

He told a patient the anticipated charge for the procedure. He explained that anesthesia would likely be $X. Sometimes, the case goes longer than expected, so the charge for anesthesia might be a bit higher. Presumably the patient heard this and nodded. Also, the cost for any extra amount for anesthesia would be minimal compared to the total outlay.

Well, the case did take longer than anticipated. And the patient was billed about $100 more.

The patient went ballistic.

The surgeon explained why the case went over and the extra unanticipated work that was necessary to create a better long term outcome. For that, the patient was appreciative.

Next, the surgeon offered to refund the extra amount billed for anesthesia. The patient was ecstatic.

So, crisis diverted. Everyone was happy.

My point is that patients fare better with known expectations than surprises.

Now, had I gotten my $1back for the ketchup, the trip to Iceland would have been perfect.

Just saying.

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