After reading the positives many of you have experienced with Lasik, I decided to investigate having the operation. My local gf has also had it done, quite successfully. She did, however, mention that her distance sight was restored immediately, but it took a few weeks for her reading distance sight to focus again.
Anyway, on the recommendation of many of the posters on this site, I contacted Daxue and one other clinic I have since forgotten the name of. I live in Hsinchu and contacted the local branch (well, actually my gf did, to help with the Chinese). They quoted me NT$35,000. There was just one problem; I wanted to have the op on the evening of 10 June or morning of 11 June, as my school had a 2-week teaching break starting then, so I would have more time to recover completely before I teach a writing course this term (ie heavy close-up eye work for me).
The problem was 11 June was Dragon Boat Day, and the doctor was leaving early, so couldn't do the op on Friday night either. What to do? No worries, they said. Come in for the tests in Hsinchu, and if I'm suitable for the op, I can go up and have it done in TPE, where they are not closed on the Friday night, but still have my follow-up visits in Hsinchu.
Although I would have preferred to have the same doctor who does the op do the follow-ups, this seemed fairly reasonable. I went for the tests, and was VERY impressed. The technician spoke very good English, explained what he was doing, and was highly efficient. The doctor, who did the final examination of the retina, was also great.
Then they sat me down for the "chat". Yes, fine, I can have the op, but because I am having it at this particular branch in TPE, it will be NT$45,000 instead of NT$35,000.
"Because the doctors in Taipei are more experienced."
Now, I don't doubt that this is true, but is that what you want to tell your prospective customers? Of course my reply was "So the doctor in Hsinchu is inexperienced."
Serious back-pedalling. No, no, of course not. The one in TPE is just MORE experienced (70,000 ops he's done, they say...
Naturally in a free market, more experienced people (doctors, lawyers, teachers) charge higher fees, but don't use that one on your customer, especially in the medical field, surely. Even weirder to me was a hospital offering different prices in their different branches. McD's doesn't charge $100 for a burger in TPE and $60 for the same in Taichung because it's cheaper to hire staff and rent buildings there, does it?
Now if they'd just told me TPE was a more expensive city, so the price was higher, I could've bought it to some extent.
Weirder followed. OK, they can knock their price down to NT$40,000.
Yep, bargaining over my medical care now.
I reminded them that I would've had it done in Hsinchu if this branch was open like the one(s) in TPE, and that I was doing them a favour by going to TPE. To no avail. Instead they suggested Taoyuan, Zhongli and Yonghe as other branches with less experienced doctors who could do the op "cheap". One was even NT$33,000, I think. I guess he was a recent graduate???
I said I'd phone back, and did so a few days later, and asked if they could give me a more reasonable price yet, but they wouldn't budge. I said that if they could offer a better price, they could phone me back.
All this over a lousy NT$5,000 you say. That's true, but the fact is I've worn glasses for 15 years now, and I'm not that desperate to ditch them. I used to find them more of a hindrance when I played ball sports (cricket, hockey etc), but now that I do cycling and gymming, it's just not such an issue. To me, the principles are important.
Tips for Daxue:
1) Charge a standard fee, or make it clear in advance that prices differ among cities and branches, which you did not do, although I explained in advance that I wanted the op in Hsinchu, and you explained that I could have it in TPE.
2) Don't bargain on medical costs, or offer me a "jie-shao" price. Give me your best price straight up.
3) Don't mention experience of your medical staff as a reason for higher prices.
Tips for the cash-strapped surgery-seeker:
1) Check if other branches of the same company offer better prices (but block your ears when they tell you why, for more peace of mind)
2) Check in advance that the price quoted is the price at the branch you want the op done at.