Derek Watson: So what episode is this? Is this 46?
Chris Ritchie: Forty-something. Does it matter?
Derek Watson: Well not really. Well, it will do when we get into a thousand. We want to know where we are, 1000, 1001, or we’re still only 999. So, we might as well keep track. If we don’t keep track now then, we’ll never know, will we?
Chris Ritchie: That’s a very good point. Okay.
Derek Watson: So, welcome to the Dental Fusion Podcast. We found a lead to the video camera. So, we have got some video, and if I press that button, I’ve got a screen recorder going. So, we’re surrounded by technology, and on the line, I’ve got Chris Ritchie, freelance journalist and author. No Richard Leishman this week. We think he’s abroad, don’t we, Chris?
Chris Ritchie: Yeah. He might be in prison. He might have had to turn himself in or–
Derek Watson: He’s got a foreign dialing code on this phone, or his phone may have been stolen and ended up in Romania.
Chris Ritchie: He might have bought his new car, if you were listening last time. He might have driven it off a cliff somewhere.
Derek Watson: Sorry, he’s not here because after we went off the air last time, we both found out that car cost about £81,000, didn’t we? That’s before you start putting in the video and the seatbacks and the antique collision radar.
Chris Ritchie: The machine guns, as well, at the front. Torpedoes.
Derek Watson: Just to clarify with Ritchie Rich how much he spent on it because I don’t think he mentioned it last week, did he? Surprisingly quiet on that.
Chris Ritchie: It must have been at least the suggested retail price. So yeah, someone is paying him far too much, and considering he’s at the top of the tree, he’s paying himself far too much.
Derek Watson: Well, it may be a company car, you see. That’s the other. I mean, it may be a company car, and working in money, he may have contacts. These money people have contacts that know how to get money. I know he knows people who know how to get money. I know that.
Chris Ritchie: That’s in Russia, you mean?
Derek Watson: I’m thinking more contacts in car leasing who can get him a very good deal, not just a very good deal, a very, very good deal.
Chris Ritchie: So, not that mafia. That’s not what you’re saying?
Derek Watson: Maybe not the mafia. I don’t know. I’ve never bought a car. No, I did buy a new car once, I think. It was a Ford Sierra Ghia. I’ll tell you how far ago that was, and I drove it for 13 months. Then, I totaled it. I crashed it in the snow, and I wrote it off. So, I vowed never to buy a new car again because it depreciated so much in the 13 months that I had it. Always bought second hand cars.
Typically, I buy a car when it’s got 30,000 miles on the clock, which is about the time that they trade it in. They’re still in reasonably good condition then, and then, I drive it until it’s got about 100,000 on the clock. Then, I think about buying another one with 30,000 on it. What do you do?
Chris Ritchie: Well, I wouldn’t know about that, but I apply the same logic to how I choose women. I’ll just go with that.
Derek Watson: You wait until they’re 30?
Chris Ritchie: No, I wait until they’ve don’t 30,000 miles. That’s all.
Derek Watson: Then, you get rid of them when they turn 100.
Chris Ritchie: I don’t really mind how old they get to. Yeah. I was going to say that the rapid depreciation of your gear was probably due to you totaling it in the snow. That can have an effect on the value of the car.
Derek Watson: You know, I haven’t discussed it with anyone ever since. It was a very traumatic period in my life.
Chris Ritchie: Let’s keep talking about that, then.
Derek Watson: I remember going to look at it when it was towed away, obviously, and I had to go to the scrap heap and get a few bits out of the car, which they had taken out. I stood there, looking at it, and it was T-boned. Someone was coming down the hill in the snow, and couldn’t stop and T-boned the car on the passenger side, much to the surprise of my wife who was sitting in the passenger side at the time.
I escaped, I’m pleased to say, mainly by managing to skid the car so that the passenger side was the side that got the largest impact, but I was looking at it in the scrap yard. I remember saying to the guy, you know, because it was one of the relatively new models. It was written off, and I said to him, “That’s a lovely car, and if you’re thinking of buying a new car, it’s a lovely car.” He took one look at it. “Yeah, it was.”
Cruel, cruel. Too harsh. You know, I just lost the car. I mean, you don’t have to rub it in that badly.
Chris Ritchie: Yeah, you lost your dignity, as well, that day, then.
Derek Watson: I’ll tell you what I did. I lost my love for cars that day. My love affair with cars died with that car because it just came across to me that cars were for getting from point A to point B, and as long as I had a radio and a heater, I didn’t really care, which is a sham because Richard’s a car nut. Tony Reid, who I’m hoping to speak to, is a car nut. They’re vintage enthusiasts. They call themselves car nuts, too, and my brother-in-law owns and drives a Ferrari, and I don’t think he had to sell his Lotus when he bought it. So, you can imagine what he’s like with cars.
Chris Ritchie: It’s very difficult to drive two of them, isn’t it?
Derek Watson: And I can’t to any of these people. It’s a bit like, I was in a taxi the other day, and I just asked the taxi driver who won the World Cup qualify match. He said, “You’re talking to the wrong block, mate. I heard about that Steven Gerrard for an hour and a half, and I didn’t know who he was. For an hour and a half, we spoke about weather, the state of the economy,” he said, “but not about football. He must have thought I was the best taxi driver in the world, not bothering about football.” He couldn’t talk to me about football. He thought I was a football nut, and he apologized.
Now, when I go to a party and bump into my brother-in-law and we stand there just looking around because all he can talk about is cars, and he knows that what I know about cars is really not worth bringing up.
Chris Ritchie: Well, considering how little you know about cars, we spent the last 25 minutes talking about them.
Derek Watson: You mean talking about the fact that I don’t know anything about them? So, let’s move on something dental because the thing I think is probably most relevant, perhaps, to the audience of the podcast at the moment is one of the changes going on in the British Dental Association, and they’re now having a bit of a crisis, aren’t they, the BDA?
Chris Ritchie: Well, the old pizza war, lalala, I’m not listening crisis was good.
Derek Watson: Oh, god. That was funny wasn’t it?
Is it zero or not?
No, I’m not going to do this if you’re going to try to trap me.
I’m not trying to trap you. You told me that there was no mercury vapor, at least, from an amalgam filling.
I’m not doing this.
You’re not doing what? Answering the questions that we told we were going to ask you?
No, you didn’t tell me you were going to do it that way.
Chris Ritchie: Well, what’s going on here is this membership levels thing, which is confusing everybody isn’t it?
Derek Watson: Well, I think they’ve made a classic mistake here which is when you make a private conversion, which I think is analogous to what they’re doing, what you do is if you want to do it wrong, you put the fees up and say to people, “Don’t worry. It’s going to be fantastic. You’re going to love it. It’s going to be so wonderful afterwards. You won’t care about the fact that you’re paying more,” and of course, people think, “All I know is that the fees are going up, and I haven’t experienced the service that you’re promising.”
So, on the one hand, you’ve got a known, which is a known increase in fees. On the other hand, you’ve got a possible increase in quality of service. So, if you’re trying to do a private conversion like that, as a dentist, you will fail. What you have to do is you have to put up the quality of the service first. You have to deliver on everything that you want to and possibly run a loss.
Then, go to the patient and say, “Look, as you probably noticed, we’ve completely redeveloped the surgery. We’ve taken on new staff. We’ve got waiting times down. We’re using [9:21] now instead of silver, and as you can appreciate, it is costing us more. We’re going to have to pass some of that cost on to you, but now, we think that now you’ve experienced the new, improved whatever. You’ll agree with us that it still represents good value for money.”