Unethical Or Is It Just Bad Behavior?

No one plans to take the path that brings you lower.

It’s your decision. ~ Jerry Cantrell ~

At our office we do a little bit of inexpensive marketing that we know will not bring in a huge rush of new patients but it will brand our office name to the folks in our community. One of the ways that we do this is we leave pens and business cards at local businesses in our area. There is a deli down the street from us who loves the pens that we give them for their customers to use. The cashier gets excited when we bring her refills; she tells us that her customers no longer steal her pen!  One day when I went to deliver more pens to the Deli, Amy the cashier there told me of an incident that she had witnessed the day before.

Amy said that she saw the dentist from down the block; hide our business cards as he was waiting to pay for his order. She explained how he did not see her watching as he took a quick look around and then grabbed our cards from the holder and placed them behind a counter display. Amy said that he took his business cards and put them in their place! I am sad to say that I was not shocked when I heard this; I had heard rumors of how slow his office really is.

Of course, I immediately went back to our office and told all my co-workers this ghastly tale. They promptly called him unethical and all kinds of other bad names! It must be that he is desperate and desperate people take desperate actions. Is this action unethical or is it just bad behavior? Either way, it’s your decision.

The other day, I saw a Facebook post from a consultant that was directed towards the customers of another consultant group. This expert was warning new Facebook page owners to beware and seemed to be trying to lead them to not trust what they were learning from his competition. Is this unethical or just bad behavior? Either way, it’s your decision. I am not sure if it was unethical, or just very immature. What I do know is, that it is never a bright idea to market oneself with implied accusations and negative comments about your competition. My momma always told me never trust a hairdresser who tells you that the last one who cut your hair did a bad job!

I once worked for Two Doctors who partnered up to share some office space. They each had their own office staff and manager; the manger of older Doctor, would tell the patients that “she can give them a 10% discount, unlike the other (partner) Doctor, who would only give them five”. I heard her say this many times and it was hard to resist the urge to tell those poor patients that the older Doctor’s prices were twice as high! Is this unethical or just bad behavior? Either way, It’s your decision.

The Webster’s online dictionary lists the meaning of Ethics as “the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation”. I guess that some people just have more discipline than others, and it seems that desperation can lead you to make the wrong decision. Unethical or just bad behavior? Either way, it’s your decision.

With your success in mind,  



Listen to this awesome song ~


  1. Charlotte | | Reply

    This all comes from fear. When someone believes that money and resources are scarce, they tend to practice this sort of behavior. They are afraid that they will not gain the patients.

    Patients are won with trust and being caring. Showing patients the best care is what will create fans and fans will rave about you and tell all their friends to go to you.

  2. TheDentalWarrior | | Reply

    It’s both… bad behavior and unethical. It’s juvenile. And, it’s desperate. Lastly, it’s SAD. It can only end badly, as someone who works at the restaurant is bound to notice the scumbag’s cards in place of the dentist who is obviously on a friendly basis with the restaurant and has their approval.

    • Nomi Waters | | Reply

      The saddest part is that it is true, this story really happened.

  3. Warren | | Reply

    Interesting story Nomi!
    We are about to open a small bakery – and I hope to work WITH the other small bakeries in our advertising and public awareness. Our true competition isn’t each other – its educating the public on the value of our product as compared to other places they spend money.
    Yes our product will cost more than a big store – but quality is in the eye of the beholder, and the value can only be instilled with education.
    Its’ the same in Dentistry – the competitor isn’t across the street selling dentistry. Its the money the consumer would rather spend on a new TV, boat or new boobs.
    It would be better to see small business work together to educate the public on the reasons why to get their teeth taken care of regularly, and encourage the dollars spent elsewhere to be spent on oral care…
    Instead I see it over and over again – the dollars spent trying to ‘steal’ patients/customers away from other small businesses promoting the same products. Instead of raising awareness and value by educating the patients – they prefer to pick away at each others business by discounting and de-valuing the service.


  4. Dr. David Madow | | Reply

    Wow, I just noticed this as I no longer read the junk from the group you were referring to. I say basic immaturity and jealousy are a bad combination. Thanks for sharing! May the winners rise to the top. There is room for all! Dave

  5. Cheryl RDH | | Reply

    well it reminds me of when a certain company several years ago had a patent expire and knew offices had pre-printed prescription pads. The sales reps came in from this company in pairs and staged a little visit going over products. One of them asked do we have any pads and could they see all of them that we had. I gave him a couple pads that were handy and while the other rep was going over their toothbrush quality the one that asked for the prescription pads was writing DAW as fast as humanly possible on as many scripts as he could. I was not happy at the deception at all and threw the pads away. I feel the patient should have a choice and if their insurance was going to cover one rinse cheaper than the other or they wanted to try the new one it was their business not this large company. This large company should have the confidence to stand by it’s products and not play such games. If the product needed to have a taste or price improvement it should have been taken care of before a competitor challenged them.

  6. Brian Cross | | Reply

    I agree that the other dentist was acting out of fear, instead of looking at a potential opportunity, maybe by asking your office about the marketing plan..or asking a professional about his own “Branding”. That is what blogs like this do….make you think about your own opportunities, and how you can better yourself.

  7. Debby Cutts | | Reply

    Thank you for this interesting post and story Nomi. For a long time now my husband and great doc, Dr. Cutts (I’m a little biased) anyway has always practiced the long time honored golden rule. So when he hears something negative be it from a patient or another doc he trys to do the right thing and support the other doc by getting them to see it in a positive light. or go back to that person they are complaining about and work it out.

    There will always be competition and I agree with Dr Dave Madow that there is room for all; we each have creative abilities that we bring to the table and we should be helping eachother not doing something unethical as I believe the above examples illustrated.

    Thanks, Debby

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