I had to laugh (not in a mean way) when I read Rob Greenland's post about his trip to the dentist. In one fell swoop he reinforced two of the national stereotypes with which foreigners paint the British. The first is bad dentistry and the second is lousy customer service.
Let's face it, dentistry has never been a core competence of the Brits. All the articles this past week end on the recent history of dentistry in the UK prove this point (read: lots of false teeth). Whilst those residing in other Western countries have had flouride in the water for decades, have visited the dentist twice a year for the whole of their lives, and have prioritised expenditure on expensive orthodauntists to coax their teeth into straight lines with no over bites, Brits have prided themselves that their wonky teeth and tobacco-stained smiles provide them with individualistic charm.
Although tea drinking, gardening, satire, and rambling all rank among things in which Brits truly excel, spending good money on straight teeth and healthy gums (not to mention the resulting avoidance of severe and chronic halitosis) until very recently, has not. To that end, it is not to be expected that dentistry is at the forefront of Things Brits Do Well (yet).
Let's also face it that Britain is famed for the provision of bad value products coupled with poor customer service. Fawlty Towers, need I say more?
My advice? Protest! Vote with your feet! Make a stand! More Brits need to refuse to patronise British dentists and join the other Brits who have defected to Poland, Germany, or Hungary to find competent, cheerful, professional dentists who do not over-charge. Your carbon foot print will be higher but your blood pressure will be lower.