Surprise and Delight…at the Dentist

Recently, I went to the dentist for my routine cleaning.  Like most folks, I abhor going to the dentist, because I can count about a bajillion other things I’d rather be doing with 45 minutes of my time.

But at this last appointment, I found myself pleasantly occupied by this handwritten list taped to the overhead lamp:

“Wow, how long have you guys been keeping this list?” I asked the assistant.
“About a year and a half now.  But we’ve only just started putting it up, and it turns out everyone loves it.”

This is a great example of surprise and delight in a place you’d least expect it.  You’re going to be staring at the ceiling anyways, bored out of your gourd, and while there are dental offices that put posters on the ceiling to help bide the time, this particular piece of paper serves a real purpose.

Usually, the end-of-cleaning toothpaste flavors are limited, like cherry (yuck!), bubblegum or mint.   My dentist has always offered a unique menu, but in the past it’s been presented in verbal format right before brushing, so patients are pressed to make a hasty decision.  With this new list, while the dentist pokes around my teeth and gums for a half hour, I can go through all the flavor combinations in my head—apparently, you can even mix and match Jelly Belly-style—and see what flavors are worth pursuing given their popularity rank.

Best of all, this shows that dentists do care.   Notice that cherry isn’t on this list.  That’s because no one was asking for it, so they stopped offering the flavor.  I guess everyone thinks cherry is as gross as I do!

It’s also great to see some personality expressed in such a sterile environment (“Chef’s Choice”).  I encourage all service providers to think about ways to bring a sense of fun and uniqueness into their environments by using something clever and low-cost, like this.  Maybe my doctor’s office could keep track of things I want to do in the waiting room, since I’m sure I spend more than 45 minutes per visit sitting in there…