Most of us have heard conspiracy theories about the New World Order we are destined for through the alleged diabolical intent of secret societies such as the Free Masons. To conspiracy theorists, I say forget the Free Masons! They should instead be focusing their attention on Walmart and their New World Order mission as it continues to grow its increasingly massive share of the US commercial pie. Of course, I am only kidding, but you see my point.
Not only can you now get your eyes checked, have a McDonald’s lunch, go grocery, sporting goods, electronics, and gun shopping, all while you have you car’s tires rotated and oil changed; you may soon be able to add taking fluffy to the vet on top of that as well. Walmart announced it’s soon to launch veterinary clinic will be in my home state of Florida. The pilot clinic will be in Tampa on the West Coast, or as we East Coasters like to call it, the Left Coast. I imagine it will not be long until they make their way to the Florida’s Right Coast and eventually to the rest of the country.
I have to believe that in a profession that is 5 times more competitive to get accepted to school and earns on average 3 – 4 times less than our human MD equivalents, yet graduate with similar student loan burdens; that people who pursue the path of veterinary medicine must have been driven by the same passion that drove me and still drives me almost 15 years into my career. I will never understand veterinarians that reconcile that dream with working for high volume, low cost spay, neuter and vaccine clinics. Reconciling all of that work and passion as a Walmart employee will prove to be perhaps even more perplexing to me, but whatever it is that drives vets to choose these paths is really not my concern, so I digress…to each his own.
While some of my colleagues are rather ticked off at Walmart’s assault on yet another small business driven industry, as a practice owner, I personally will not lose a single wink of sleep about it. In fact, I could not care less about Walmart having veterinary clinics.
A wise marketing expert I recently met compared the entire pet health care industry in my local community to the large pitcher of water pictured below.
He then reflected on the high quality patient and client care of my American Animal Hospital Association Accredited (AAHA) veterinary practice to the small glass below.
My goal, he said, is merely to keep my glass full, not to compete for the whole pitcher, for within that pitcher are a certain ilk of pet owning consumers that will readily sacrifice quality for cost; sacrifice personal attention and optimal doctor-patient-client relationship for just being another one of Walmart’s billions of customers; sacrifice veterinary university teaching hospital standards of care for…whatever it is Walmart will offer. What drives these consumers is also not my concern, as I will again digress…to each his own.
I am confident that my practice’s glass will remain full Walmart notwithstanding, as my medical team and I have had the privilege of seeing countless pets owned by outstanding compassionate, intelligent, loving individuals that value the kind of patient and client care that we offer for years. These wonderful people and their furry family members feed the passion of my medical team, make our jobs enjoyable and rewarding, and push us to continuously strive to improve and offer the latest and greatest schools of veterinary medical thought, techniques, equipment, procedures, and best practices.
Walmart can have all of the rest.
Dr. Roger Welton is the President of Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne, FL, Chief Editor of the Veterinary Advice and Information Website, Web-DVM, and founder/CEO of Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care.