Thursday, July 26, 2018

Silicone O-ring Feeding Syringe

My Admiration For The Silicone O-ring Syringe

Are you familiar with silicone o-ring syringes? They are the coolest thing. Traditional syringes use a big black rubber gasket at the end of the plunger. That's ok if you want to use the syringe once. Or if you're not concerned about the rubber mixing / tainting the contents - but if you want to reuse the syringe, or if you use it for something like artificial insemination - in which case rubber will kill off some of the sperm and lower your chances of a successful fertilization - then silicone - which is inert and doesn't lose it's natural lubrication after being washed is the way to go.

There are endless uses for a silicone o-ring syringe. Here are just a few;

  • Hand feeding animals
  • Pushing formula or blended food through a feeding tube
  • Manufacturing aquariums - for the  acrylic resin
  • Reclaiming old paint. Yes, there is a company that recycles old paint
  • Sucking the contents from a sterile ostrich egg in order to keep the shell intact
  • Measuring and filling containers for air travel
  • Artificial insemination
  • Goat milking
  • Part of a machine that applies food glaze
  • Refilling vaping thing-a-magigs       

You are welcome to add your unlisted use!

Ecologically and environmentally, the silicone o-ring syringe makes sense, because it can be reused. I've some customers report getting months and even years out of a syringe.
Especially for those on tube feeding - it just seems so wasteful to throw away 4+ syringes a day when one 60cc o-ring syringe will last so much longer. 

So, now you've got some of my thoughts about silicone o-ring syringes, and why I like them so much.

All the Best,
Simon and The Gang

Monday, April 2, 2018

I'd Like To Share A Story & A Thought About Dr. Sandhu DVM

Many, many years ago, the phone rang at Medcare Products, and the voice on the other side placed the first of many, many orders with my company. His accent gave away his Indian origins, as did his name, Dr. Sandhu. One of the things that stood out about his calls were that he always made us feel special. If I was fortunate to answer his call, I was usually greeted with enthusiasm and something like ' Oh my goodness, it's the big man, Mr. Simon - how are you today?' We would chat, and invariably he would ask 'When are we going to meet? Why don't you come down to visit?' His practice was called Columbia Animal Hospital, and he was located about 40 minutes away from me - But I never did get out to see him. 

In fact, I have only met one or two of my customers in person. I enjoy the mystery and the comfort of being the voice on the other end of the phone. I'll never forget meeting a supplier after many years of our 'phone relationship' and his comment upon meeting me was 'You sound a lot heavier on the phone!' Jeez!

Dr. Sandhu was a loyal customer and always a ray of bright light when he called. And then, one day, after many years, he told me that he had sold the practice and was going back to India to farm. I thanked him, and wished him well - and did not forget about him. 

Recently, another Veterinarian called from Dr. Sandhus' area and I brought the good doctor up in conversation. We reminisced about what a wonderful person he is. I mentioned that I would love to call or email him - just to check in, say hello and to tell him how much I enjoyed his calls. To let him know that he may no longer be a customer, but he is still very much in my mind.  We both remembered that Dr. Sandhu had a son who is a physician in the area. I looked the son up and left a message with his secretary. Yes, this was the correct Dr Sandhu, the son of the Veterinarian, yes his father had returned to India - and, his father had passed away.

I  still think of Dr. Sandhu - fondly. I did not ask if he was ill when he sold the practice, I did not ask if perhaps, going back to farm in India had a deeper meaning. Should I have met him personally? I don't know. Should I have tried to connect with him sooner? Perhaps - several years passed since he sold his practice. Why did I wait? Was I too busy, too absorbed in other matters? 

Wherever Dr. Sandhu is in the Cosmos, I wish you well. I wish you peace and tranquility - I thank you for his friendship - and I will not forget you. 


Ps.  Take a minute to let someone know that they count, that they are significant - that you appreciate them. Of course this applies to family members - and it should also apply to people you cross paths with. Ok, now I'm done, for today. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

The NIPRO syringe update!

As many of you know - and have experienced -many sizes of NIPRO syringes are out of stock in the U.S. We do have some VETPAK in stock as well as certain larger size syringe. There seems to be some sort of FDA labeling issue, and as of this writing - it has not been cleared up. To accommodate our NIPRO customers, we've brought in EXEL and DYNAREX brand syringes. Actually the DYNAREX 1cc 25x5/8 TB syringes are selling for less than NIPRO or EXEL - and customers seem satisfied with their performance. I wonder how long NIPRO can continue without their U.S. business? Does it matter - yes. There aren't a lot of syringe choices out there - and it's good for the consumer to keep the field as open as possible. If NIPRO and EXEL left the U.S. market - then you might see some of the other brands raise their prices.

This brings me back to one of my favorite subjects - Why can't we manufacture an affordable syringe in the U.S.? Some would say that overseas labor costs are lower. That used to be a factor - but really I think it's because the so called prime syringe manufacturers command so much of the human market, where they can charge more - well, the Veterinary market is not that attractive. It bothers me to sell an imported syringe - and it bothers me even more that U.S. syringe manufacturers are not really interested in countering the imports. 

In the mean time we'll hope that NIPRO overcomes their kerfuffle and we will soon fill orders with their product.

All the Best,

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Welcome to the Write On project.

I woke before the alarm clock went off. I do that often. So, why do I need an alarm clock? Security. It's all about the one time that I may oversleep. Frankly, I've been up before my clock for years. If clocks had feelings, this one would have an inferiority complex.

I run through my morning rituals, and head to the clinic. Nagle Avenue Veterinary Hospital. I'm a small animal Veterinarian. I arrive at 7am, and what I see as I pull up to my practice tells me that today will not be a run of the mill one.

(First entry, Hurray - from Jack R. Phillips, DVM)
"Upon taking all this in, I had a moment of inspiration and kept on driving.  Carpe Diem as-it-were.  I found myself a few hours later relaxing on my boat at the lake.  Key word here is RELAXING.  I decided to call my clinic and asked to speak to my associate.  I told her I was giving her the entire practice.  Real Estate, inventory, clients, bills due, OSHA, IRS, FDA, DEA, etc and especially all of the employees. They were HERS as she always seemed to know how to handle  everything better than I.  As I hung up, I heard the sound of primal screaming in the background and I smiled.  

Here's the idea.

Let's write a book - Together! I'll start it off - and, continue to contribute occasionally - But I really want to see what you have to write. What can you do;

  • Introduce characters.
  • Move the plot in any direction - comedy, drama, mystery, science fiction, satire and on and on.
  • Write as much and as often as you please.
  • Import pictures.
  • Keep it appropriate and clean.
Frankly, there's a good chance that this project with bomb. But - and that's a big BUT - it may also take off and become a very successful, personally enriching exercise in creativity. AND - I am hoping it will be something that many people will enjoy reading. 

Please join in - and Write On!
All the Best,

Ps - the first chapter is the next blog entry.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Have you Heard Of Red Nose Day? Me Neither!

So the other day I learnt about Red Nose Day. In 1985, Comic Relief launched in the United Kingdom with the goal of using comedy to raise money and help those leading really tough lives.
The very first Red Nose Day was held in May of 1988. With millions of people participating in its first year, it was clear that a truly amazing movement was underway. Red Nose Day has raised over $1 billion globally. 

Since 2015, Red Nose Day in America has raised over $60 million to help kids and young people most in need. So, I ordered a bunch of Red Noses from the Red Nose people with the intent of putting them in with orders during May. I thought it would be a nice way to help out worthy children's charities and give a little something to my customers. We've been putting little unadvertised gifts in orders for years.

Veterinarians are really a very charitable bunch anyway. They have to deal with fees all the time, and hard decisions of when, how much and if they should wave any of it. It's a hard call when a client can't afford the services to save their pet's life. I know it's part of owning a Veterinary practice. Some may argue that it's the owner's choice to own a pet, and an owner has to be prepared to pay for affiliated expenses. Well let's assume that all pet owners are aware of the financial responsibility - but then life - 'The Force' - 'The Creator' throws them a curve. Unemployment - illness, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes come knocking and all that fiscal pet responsibility goes out the window and down the river.And so, yes, Veterinarians are frequently called on to be charitable. 

But, I digress from Red Nose Day.

I took a look at the charities that benefit from Red Nose purchases and felt that many do a great job - and can really make a difference in a child's life. So - I bought a bunch of Red Noses from the foundation partner - and we're including them in orders placed during May. ( Legal disclaimer - 1)While supply lasts, 2) Assuming they can fit in the order.)

I'm hoping that some of you will snap a photo of the Red Nose in use and email it to me at

These are some of my thoughts - and I'm honored to share them with you. What are yours?

All the Best,

Friday, March 31, 2017

Of COMET collars and Earworms!

Image result for film producer\

Introducing COMET e-collars - The Movie!

Not quite ready for Hollywood, but what do you think of the clip below for a first effort? Warning; Once you hear the accompanying music - you will be humming it all day - or like me - all week!

So - what do you think? And if the tune is sticking with you - then you are experiencing and Earworm. That's the official scientific title for a tune you can't get rid of. Here's what Wikipedia says about Earworms -
An earworm, sometimes known as a brainworm, sticky music, or stuck song syndrome, is a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person's mind after it is no longer playing. Phrases used to describe an earworm include "musical imagery repetition", "involuntary musical imagery", and "stuck song syndrome".
Now - the Urban Dictionary has a remedy of sorts - sort of. Here's what they say -
A song that sticks in your mind, and will not leave no matter how much you try. The best way to get rid of an earworm is to replace it with another. Be prepared to become a jukebox.
I heard on the radio this week that The Traveling Wilburys are being inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. Fortunately, Medcare Products is located 10 minutes from the Rock Hall of Fame - and I'm sure that this induction will create a surge in COMET collar sales - right? Right! 

My new problem is that I can't get their song The End of the Line out of my head - and so I'm now hopelessly stuck in an epic Earworm conflict of epic proportions. 

End of the Line
Traveling Wilburys

Well it's all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it's all right, if you live the life you please
Well it's all right, doing the best you can
Well it's all right, as long as you lend a hand
You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring (end of the line)
Waiting for someone to tell you everything (end of the line)
Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring (end of the line)
Maybe a diamond ring
Well it's all right, even if they say you're wrong
Well it's all right, sometimes you gotta be strong
Well it's all right, as long as you got somewhere to lay
Well it's all right, everyday is judgment day
Maybe somewhere down the road aways (end of the line)
You'll think of me, wonder where I am these days (end of the line)
Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays (end of the line)
Purple haze
Well it's all right, even when push comes to shove
Well it's all right, if you got someone to love
Well it's all right, everything'll work out fine
Well it's all right, we're going to the end of the line
Don't have to be ashamed of the car I drive (end of the line)
I'm just glad to be here, happy to be alive (end of the line)
It don't matter if you're by my side (end of the line)
I'm satisfied
Well it's all right, even if you're old and grey
Well it's all right, you still got something to say
Well it's all right, remember to live and let live
Well it's all right, the best you can do is forgive
Well it's all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it's all right, if you live the life you please
Well it's all right, even if the sun don't shine
Well it's all right, we're going to the end of the line
Songwriters: Bob Dylan / George Harrison / Jeff Lynne / Roy K Orbison / Tom Petty

Looks like I've done enough damage for today.
All the best,

All the Best,
Simon & The Gang

Monday, March 13, 2017

Are We Listening or Hearing? It Matters!
Do you know Dr Judd? I used to. Actually her name is Dr. Jubb - J-U-B-B! But she's ok if you call her Dr. Judd - after I realized my error - a staff member told me that it's been happening for years. I even wrote a story about Dr. Jubb in a Facebook ad - about how she likes our DTEK surgical staplers - and I referred to her as Dr. Judd - and shortly after I realized my error.

Listening is important - especially since I have spent most of my veterinary product sales career on the phone -listening. So, how did I mess up Dr. Jubbs name? That's simple - Judd is more common than Jubb - and we tend to go with the most familiar - and assume a lot. OK, great, so I'm like most people. I was probably also a little self conscious about clarifying the proper spelling - most of us are. 

You may notice that I haven't used another word closely associated with listening - hearing. Actually, I think that hearing is the problem. My problem - and a problem universally. Those of us who are fortunate to have a functioning auditory system are busy hearing all day. I heard her name, or I thought I did - and that was sufficient for me. We hear things all day - but are we really listening?  
I found this little inspirational posting - and thought it profound enough to share with you. Actually - the graphic is pretty deep too, because it depicts a lot of technological methods for hearing - but ultimately- listening is up to each of us - and it seems that the more ways to hear each other - the less we listen to each other. Veterinarians, maybe pediatricians and then maybe the greater medical profession have to be great listeners. They even have to listen to that which is not said. Wait a minute - I want a piece of that too - I'm a human being, a husband, father, grandfather, neighbor, congregant, citizen - and probably many more 'titles' which demand that I be on my top listening game. Do we hear a concert - or listen? Is it enough to hear another person - or listen? Hearing is a wonderful gift - and listening is the best way to use it.

The more I think about it - listening is so deep. I mean it takes a lot to listen to another person. Especially when you differ. If we listened more - would there be more peace? My wife, a Pre-K teacher of 25 years says that when a child acts out - it's a lot about them not being able to verbalize their emotions - and it's up to the teacher to really listen and not simply react - ie. punish. 

That's what's going on in my head. I'd love to hear your thoughts - I'm thrilled to read them if you want to share with other readers - all call me - I'll listen!
All the Best,

Sunday, March 5, 2017

What's a friend?

Sitting here, on a freezing Sunday afternoon. I came into the office with the goal of catching up on a lot of loose ends. I'm actually successfully plowing through all sorts of stacks, and forms - and emails. And then I had a chance to reread an email from a fellow classmate - and it inspired me to write this blog post.

Fellow classmate? Well, about a year ago, I applied to what I will simply call the 10 week MBA refresher course. Actually for me, it would be the first time around - as I don't have an MBA. The course was funded by Goldman Sachs - yes, that Goldman Sachs - and it was called 10,000 Small Businesses. You can read about it here - and maybe even apply!

I thoroughly enjoyed the course. I learnt a lot, and it gave me a chance to step back and review my company and my life. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits for me was to be in a class with 30 something other small business owners. Roofers, printers, sound system engineers, HVAC and on and on. One of the attendants was Rachael Ekey of The Markey Group. Rachael's company is a full service marketing resource. I never reviewed Rachael's sales numbers - but I just have this feeling that she is a successful businesswoman - because she is very good at what she does - and she is a very nice person. Yes, I believe that good people succeed - and I believe that goodness is important to success. 

Rachael noticed that I was struggling with social media, things like Facebook and effective email marketing. Rachael threw the full force of The Markey Group at my disposal. She taught me a lot of methods and practices for getting the most out of this 'thing' called marketing - and the web. And that brings me to the email at the beginning of my posting. It was a simple - yet awesome. The email starts off

Hi Simon,

I hope you are doing well and are off to a great start to your week! 

Kristin and I were brainstorming the other day and we had a great idea for an opportunity for your business...

and then the email goes on to explain a method for improving the rating of my web site. I reread the email today  - and it caused me to think about friendship. About wanting to see another person succeed. About sharing knowledge and about spreading some sunshine. It made me stop and think of how I could help another person. It made me want to write about it - and so here I am. After 25 years, I know that my customers are from the 'Givers' in this world - along with the 'Carers' the 'Sharers' and the 'Sunshiners'. (I hope those are all clean words.) Something about caring for animals will do that - Thank you for letting me be a part of that! I'm going home now - work can be done tomorrow - family is for today! I'm feeling very friendly!

All the best,
Simon & The Gang 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The True Story Of Our 1-800-Medcare Phone Number.

Recently Dr. Beer called from Care Pet in Columbus. He's a great guy and we invariably end up chatting for a few minutes. Somehow the subject of our old phone number came up and I told him the story of how we 'lost' it.

At least 15 years ago, 1-800-Medcare was our phone number. It was a great number. We put it on mugs, magnet, hats, business cards and all our mailers. 800-Medcare was a great number to have. Until one day when the US government unveiled their 800-Medicare phone number. Then chaos reigned supreme! We began to receive tons of calls for Medicare. Actually it began as a trickle and then slowly built up to a raging flood. We really tried to help the people who dialed our number by mistake. Many were elderly, trying to sort through a complicated government bureaucracy and so we were very patient in explaining, sometimes several times that this is Medcare Products and not Medicare and then we would wait for them to get a pen and paper to write down the correct number. This went on all day for months. 

We consulted an attorney who advised us to surrender our number because we would never win a case etc. etc. etc. But then a Miracle happened. Yes, a total miracle. A fellow from Medicare actually called us. The conversation went something like this " Hi, I'm in charge of the 800-Medicare number and it looks like the roll out of that number has caused your company a lot of trouble." After getting up from the floor and catching my breath, I confirmed his statement. He then offered to pay us for the number and to leave a recording on the number for 2 years directing callers looking for Medcare Products the veterinary supply company to press 1 and those looking for the Medicare insurance line to press 2. He offered us enough money to make up for all the mugs, magnets and flyers that were in circulation. The man was an Angel dispatched from Heaven - perhaps as a reward for the hundreds and hundreds of people that we helped with correctly reaching Medicare. 

He told us it would take several weeks for the switch over, and we continued playing operator for Medicare. 

Now during this episode we mentally broke wrong number callers into categories. Many were genuinely nice and we did everything to help them connect with Medicare. Then there were the nasty callers. The ones who hung up, and then called back 5 times until they finally understood that we were for real. There were also the attackers. They were nasty times 10 - but they had met their match. The following summarizes a nasty caller conversation.

Ring, ring
" Thanks for calling Medcare Products, how can I help you."
" I'm calling about a Medicare claim."
" OK, this is Medcare Products, a veterinary supply company. Our numbers are similar, let me give you their number."
" What are you talking about. I dialed the right number. What's with you? You don't want to help me? Give me a supervisor yada yada yada."
" Ok - you're right. This is Medicare - but this is the Veterinary division."
" Yup. The government is experimenting with extending Medicare for household pets. Speak to your Vet about it."
"Wow, that's great. "  Notice the change in his attitude.

And so it went. Polite people got all the help we could provide. Nasty people were advised to ask their Vet about Medicare coverage for pets. I'm sorry if any of you got an inquiry about Medicare for pets. 

I try to keep my blog posts shortish - so I'm going to sign off for now. Maybe next time I'm tell you about our Glow In The Dark Shaving Cream. Until then -
All the Best,