America’s Best Steakhouses? Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)
May 20, 2011 Leave a comment
Readers who have traveled by air in recent years will be familiar with sections that appear in the airline magazines, heralded by a banner reading “America’s Best Steakhouses.” Listed beneath this marquis will be a number of restaurants in cities around the U.S. When I’ve examined these lists, I often find restaurants that I recognize, some of which do not represent, in my mind, the best steakhouses. More to the point, some of the most famous steakhouses in the country never seem to appear. More recently, I’ve begun to see America’s best plastic surgeon, America’s best orthopedic surgeon… with glossy photographs of white-coated physicians describing their practices and locations.
Putting two and two together, I’ve come to realize these are little more than slick advertising schemes. In essence, the magazine offers you the moniker of “best” in your field if you pay them a fee. Furthermore, it appears that the quality of your work goes up the more you pay. Perhaps “America’s most self promoted” should replace the word “best” in these lists.
While the magazine editors, no doubt, defend this by explaining that they vet each potential participant, it seems unlikely that the size of the photograph actually correlates with the quality of the doctor. Based on what I can see, the doctor’s “quality” is most closely associated with his willingness to pay. This modus operandi is becoming more common, as several national magazines now list the best hospitals and best physicians under similar circumstances.
Recently, I was approached by one prominent national magazine and offered the opportunity to participate in a best doctors’ feature, but I declined. Nonetheless, if anyone reading this blog is desperate to see a glossy photograph of me listed among the country’s best doctors, simply forward $65,000 to my address and I’ll be happy to comply. And I promise to remember to smile.