Editor's Note:

When I'm invited to get a cheeseburger with a friend, I rarely turn down the offer.

Kevin Henry

Kevin Henry, Editor
kevinh@pennwell.com

When I'm invited to get a cheeseburger with a friend, I rarely turn down the offer. I like hanging out with my friends, and cheeseburgers are a true gift from the heavens (especially at In-n-Out, but I've preached on that before, so we won't go there … this time). I recently headed down to a local hamburger joint with a friend and, as luck would have it, they had a special that day — a bacon cheeseburger, fries, and drink for $7.50. Color me happy.

We sat down and when the waitress came to take our orders, I said I wanted the special. My friend ordered a cheeseburger, fries, and drink. We had our lunch. We got caught up on each other's kids and lives. It was all good. We headed to the cash register and paid our separate bills. My lunch was actually $2 less than my friend's because I had ordered the special and he hadn't. Here's our conversation as we walked out…

Friend: "Why was yours less than mine?"

Me: "I ordered the special."

Friend: "But we basically got the same thing. You even had bacon on your burger and it cost $2 less?"

Me: "Yep. Sucks to be you." (Editor's Note: I'm a compassionate friend.)

Friend: "I didn't even see the special. Wish the waitress would've mentioned it."

Now granted, $2 isn't that much to be upset about, but when an opportunity passes you by and you see how easily you could've saved some money, it does get under your skin a little. As silly as it sounds, my friend was a little ticked off that he could've had that $2 back in his pocket if the waitress had simply suggested the special as an alternative to his order. Was it her fault he didn't know about the special? Not completely. Could she have done more to let him know there was a cheaper option to what he was ordering, and as a result he would have been a happier customer? Absolutely.

In today's economy, we're all looking to save money everywhere we can. Be sure you're doing everything you can to help customers walk away not wondering if they really got the best deal or why they didn't. Try to be that trusted business advisor that your customers want and need you to be, today and every day.

→ So what did you think of the Chicago Midwinter Meeting? Personally, it seemed like the show floor was busy and people were interested in seeing products (despite the threat of Snowmageddon 2012 on Friday ... which never really happened).

As always, it was good to catch up with friends and see the latest and greatest new products (you can see some of the ones that caught my eye on page 8). I always value your opinions on whatever trade show we've attended, and I also greatly value the opinions of my friend (and Wall Street analyst) Jeff Johnson at RW Baird. Below is what he sent out after visiting with exhibitors in Chicago...

Midwinter

• Domestic dental consumables market has continued to grow ~4%+/- in 1Q-12, in line with 4Q levels and nicely above 2-2.5% domestic market growth just six to nine months ago, with modestly improving patient volumes and improving mix (greater uptake of more premium products such as crown/bridge, etc.) the key drivers.

• Domestic dental equipment demand holding in at +/-5%, a good number and one most of our sources believe could move a bit higher throughout the year if consumables trends continue to improve (better practice cash flow would then drive greater willingness to buy equipment).

• Rest of world fairly stable, with Asia/Pac dental demand growing by mid/upper-single digits and Europe flattish but not getting incrementally worse over past three to five months. Some optimism seems to be building as German macro data has improved in first two months of 2011.

Read on ... this is your magazine.

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