Sunday, February 3, 2008

Oh, thank heaven for 7-11

I have not worried about the economy until this week.

Before this week I only thought the people being affected by this downward trend is the housing industry. I would ask my title people (you know like titles when you buy a house) , "how's work?" and they would say, "what work."
I would think this was funny but it never registered to me that things might be tough outside of my own little island.
My plumber patients are asking me if we need a replumb job at the office.
My cabinet patients are telling me my cabinets could use an overhaul.
But this particular thing that happened has changed my outlook on MY world.
I had a patient the other day and he is a regional manager for 7-11.
And like most people at his or her recall appointment, I ask, "How's work?".
I mean he works for 7-11.
7-11 has always been around and will always be around.
But he replied, "slow, real slow". I told him, "You work 7-11, for crying out loud".
He says most of his business comes from the home building teams. Plumbers, framers, concrete guys, irrigation dudes.
Those guys don't work, they don't come to 7-11.
If they don't come to 7-11 then they struggle.
Wow, I was taken aback.

I started to think about it and I was thinking about the trickle down and how the crappy housing industry affects us all. And if it hasn't hit you yet, I think you better, at least, think about it.

I was having a converstation with one of my front desk people.
Sometimes I work and I don't know how hard they have it up at the front.
I come to work the schedule is full, sometimes (okay, never) I don't think how hard it might of been to fill it.
But lately I have noticed holes in the hygiene schedule.
So this peeked my interest. So I said, "What gives?"
She says that when she is calling people to confirm she is hearing a lot of "We are going to have to put it off a bit because my husband lost his job". Or "lay-offs at work are coming next week, I am going to have to let you know, if I can reschedule or schedule at all."
Now things are starting to come together. I spoke to another dentist about 2 months ago and he said he had to let his associate go because there was no work for him to do. I talked to one of our pastors and he said the giving at the church is at critical mass. People that use to give a ton are now not giving at all. (this is a theological discussion that we won't get into right now because there isn't enough memory on this computer to have it).
Then I noticed my schedule is filled with little things not big things. I have been noticing a lot of "fluff" in the schedule.
So for the first time this thing might be starting to hit the Gammichia office.

So much that I have had to have a conversation about it with my wife. Now you can understand how foreign this is to someone that has been working the last 12 years. I mean the economy has been pretty booming. Dentistry has been booming all of those years.
I have never faced a downward trend in the economy.
So having this converstation with my wife about what it would mean to our family if things started to slow down was kind of weird.
We implemented a bonus system about 7 years ago at our office. This was the first time I paid any attention to the production and how one year related to the previous year. This quarter compared to the same quarter last year, things like this.
For 7 years we have never failed to go up. The fourth quarter of last year was the first one that was not better than the year before. Humm.
We still made a profit but...this is the trend I am talking about.
So is this going to be a blip on the screen or a real flat line?
Heck if I know.
But at least I know there is a screen.
I'm just hoping it is not hooked up to a defibrillating machine.

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