It is a common practice in anger management to write letters to those you perceive in an ill light, but to never actually send them. It is also common practice to project your own unhappiness about your situation onto others as a means of avoiding blame. The Internet has conveniently combined these two activities in a service known as Yelp.
I don’t have a Yelp account registered, but that doesn’t prevent me from logging on and reading way much about people’s lives in the context of how much they like or don’t like Payless shoes.
Life got the better of me these last few days, and after an experience at the vet this morning, I found myself so incensed that I downloaded the Yelp app and wrote my first negative review.
Before sending it though, I took a step back and had lunch with a friend. We went to the bluegrass festival and walked around for a bit. I came back to the review, glad I never sent it. Why? Because so many things happened that I didn’t want my bad day to effect the livelihoods of others, whether they did something to me or not. I still do not agree with many of the things the vet did, AND THEY ALL ACTUALLY HAPPENED but at the end of the day, Patches is okay, & happy as ever. I have however, copied it below, simply because I think it’s still enjoyable to read and it highlights some of the more ridiculous outcomes of San Francisco’s sometimes oppressively accepting attitude.
So for your consideration, here is what a bad Yelp review from me would look like:
Balboa Pet Hospital
If you want to give your pet unproven Chinese herbs and electric needle voodoo, then this is the place for you!!! If you want science and respect for your culture, then maybe try one of those dumb corporate vets, run by the man.
My dog hurt a leg, and was limping so I went in to just make sure everything was fine. She was clearly just limping on one leg. Our doctor came in in a homemade silk robe with pictures of animal skeletons.
His diagnostic procedure went like this: Your dog’s leg and neck hurts? Ok, what I’m going to do is put a ton of stress on that point until she yelps in pain. Ok she hurts there. How do I know? Because the dog is freaking out.
He then told me, “Yes, her neck is hurt. I can give her Advil as a painkiller.” Yep, that’s what I expected. (I won’t go into how the Advil cost twenty dollars, that’s just how city vets are, according to my vet school friends. Business is business.)
So fine, I’ll buy a twenty dollar Advil. Why not? Human hospitals do the same thing.
But then he turns to me and says there is an alternative! He is personally trained to administer acupuncture to dogs!
As a point in practice, try this for me.
Say the words, “Hello! I’d like to get my dog acupuncture, please!” And don’t laugh.
So let’s break it down.
To make sure my dog is hurt,
You hurt the dog.
Then you offer the solution,
Which is stabbing my dog with needles
& running electricity through them.
But wait, that’s not all. He also offered to give my dog, “Chinese herbs.”
Oh, that sounds interesting? What kind?
“A blend.” He says.
Can you speak more to that?
“There’s a lot of stuff in it.”
What kind of stuff?
“A lot of things.”
Can you tell me what it does?
“It helps me.”
Oh! Personal, unverified anecdotal evidence? My favorite! And it’s good to know you experiment on yourself too.
After prodding him a little, he couldn’t tell me what was in the herbs, or what any of the components was supposed to do. He was basically banking on the “it’s an ancient Chinese secret,” thing, which honestly may have been alright, and not weirdly racist, if I wasn’t Chinese and he wasn’t a white guy, and he wasn’t telling me how wonderful and misunderstood the medical techniques of my people were.
He showed me the bottle, and it looked like algae powder, or spirulina. Now, if he said it was algae, or spirulina or anything really in concrete English and/or Chinese even, I might let it slide, so at least I could Google something. But the label was so worn and old, I couldn’t even be sure that this was the original container. It could have been refilled countless times with whatever.
What kind of container was it? A sealed glass bottle, or perhaps something that DIDN’T look like a value sized Folger’s pre-ground coffee container? Nope. Folger’s box is good.
I really wanted to stay off yelp, so I went in a few months later to for a visit and to make a formal complaint in person. They were highly dismissive and defensive. The vet’s defense of him was, he’s an interesting guy. Kind of a hippie. He was born at Woodstock! So he’s not racist.
Cool. Not a racist,
But probably had LSD in his placenta.
I asked a vet tech (fellow Asian) if he thought it was all on the up and up. He said yes, unconvincingly, again offering unverified anecdotal evidence. I asked him if he would let Hippie Longstocking stick him with needles. He said no. The doctor wasn’t trained to do it on humans. But I was assured that Dr. Windchime Scissorhands had studied eastern medicine extensively. Which is comforting. You know, how there are doctors of ufology, and Canadians with degrees in Beatles history? He’s like that but with stabbing your dog with needles.
Interestingly enough, human acupuncture in San Francisco is a fraction of the price of dog acupuncture, and I’m thinking that’s because there is not really any competition for dog acupuncture in the area, because it’s not a real thing…
I won’t be negative though.
This place is perfect if you live in San Francisco, don’t have a car, are within walking distance, and you have an old dog who can’t walk much farther. Or maybe you’re someone who likes to experiment with your pet.
They also claimed that it is California law to have a vet give a full exam at most one month before a rabies vaccine can be given. That sounded like nonsense to me because even human doctors will forego the semantics of a routine physical if you’ve had one in the last year or six months. I did some research on the matter, and that happens to be a lie. I read the California laws on rabies while in the exam, pointed it out that the law said no such thing, and was told, “I don’t know the specific law.” Really? I do. Here’s the link.
So there’s that too. Now, what they should have said was that it was a liability issue. If they give your dog a shot without checking stuff out and it dies, then they are at fault. But to say they are bound by law is deceptive. So if you like doctors who make up laws for the protection of your pet (sorry, I mean themselves), these are the people for you.
My only suggestion for change is the name. “Balboa Pet Hospital” sounds so boring and medical. They should try to be true to themselves, and what they believe in. How about “Balboa Voodoo Shack?”
“Balboa Acupuncture For Dogs: No Really, We’re Serious”
“Balboa Center for the Misappropriation of Chinese Culture”
Or BCMCC for short.