I’ve written in this space before about some of the trials of moving. We think of kids as having the hardest time, but adults have their share of tribulations as well.
One thing adults have to do after a move is find new caregivers; a new doctor, new dentist, new hairstylist, new mechanic, and so on—you know, the people that you need in order to keep your well-greased machine of life moving along at near speed of sound.
Generally, you ask the people you work with for recommendations. Many moves take you away from families, but some of them take you closer—when that happens, you call on family members to find out where they go and who they use. Regardless, you get recommendations from people you know and most folks will go to a new caregiver based solely on recommendations.
In one move, as I went about trying to establish new relationships with caregivers, I visited a clinic and the receptionist said that because I’d never been there before I was going to have to pay a new customer fee.
I laughed, thinking it was a joke.
The receptionist did NOT laugh and I realized it was not a joke.
Okay–I decided I’d bite–what was the fee for? I just wanted to know. In general, I like knowing what I pay for. The receptionist said she had no idea what the fee was for and that she was simply doing what she was told.
Now, I’ve done my fair share of moving. Since I graduated from college, I’ve moved no fewer than six times in which I had to change all my caregivers (I’ve moved twice again that many times when I didn’t have to change—most of those times the first ten years after I graduated). We never had to pay a “new customer” fee during our other moves. Let me put it this way: if we did, they added it quietly to the bill and we never noticed it.
But I don’t think that’s likely because I usually check a bill over pretty good. Like I said, I like to know where my money is going.
As I walked away still with no answer, my mind raced with other potential random new guy fees: the hairstylist would charge me a new customer fee and then not tell me what the fee covered; Hardee’s might charge an extra $5 the first time I stop in for a meal deal because I’d never been there before; the bank might charge me a higher interest rate because I’d never been a customer before but not really know why they do it; the florist might tack on an extra $50 without reason the first time I walked in the door. I feared that maybe I would be forced to wear a scarlet “N” on my breast pocket so that I would be easily identified as the “new resident.” If so, how long would I be required to wear it?
When I awoke the next day, I was relieved to see that there was no scarlet “N” attached to my shirt and Hardee’s didn’t charge that extra $5. I’ve moved again since then…and I’ve yet to pay a “new guy” fee anywhere else.