My husband, Dave, always admires the amount of bartering we witness when we go back home to Kentucky. He believes that my brother-in-law, Steve, is the supreme deal-maker when it comes time to barter. Yet when I was home two weeks ago, I figured out that Steve doesn't have anything on my dad in that category!
One day I listened as my parents discussed their upcoming dental appointments. For some reason it came up that they go to the dentist regularly, but haven't paid for any dental work in years. As I gathered more information, I began to calculate and have reached the conclusion that they probably haven't paid the dentist in some fifteen years or longer.
My father said he has asked to pay on numerous occasions, but the dentist always says no. The arrangement began when the dentist moved to a new office and needed some electrical work done. So he made a gentleman's agreement with my father: dental work for the company in exchange for electrical work. The "company" includes my father, my mother, my sister, and my brother--all employees. Now the part I found out after I asked a few more questions was that this dentist was enamored of my sister at the time the deal was made.
Both my sister and the dentist were coming out of divorces. They went out on a date, but my sister didn't feel he was the right man for her. In the time since, both have remarried. Nevertheless, the dentist holds tight to the arrangement. My father says that the company did do a lot of electrical work for him at the beginning of the agreement; since then the dentist does little electrical repairs himself because he says he like to!
When my father discussed his worry that he was taking advantage of the dentist, I told him to stop fretting over it and enjoy his arrangement. I think it's a heck of a deal.