We are old enough to buy our own stethoscope, even that does not grant us right to use it on patients yet (they have the right to refuse), but today we (sort of) enjoyed some perks of being a professional with money to spare - direct sales! A stethoscope is nothing significant, really - you see it hanging on your doctor's entire set of garment and equipment. The knob-tube-earphone structure is nothing near an engineering marvel or technological awe, but it costs (drum rolls..........) NT$2500 (RM250) for the basic model. What's worse - most students find the basic model insufficient in their clinical years - seniors usually opt for the Elite model, which is (drum rolls.........) NT$4500 (RM500)! So I gradually understand why the salesperson from two respective companies - WelchAllyn (WA) and 3M send their sales rep all the way to our school, 3 hours from their upscale offices in Taipei just for us to 'feel' our prospective stethoscopes. 50 successful sales would earn them RM25,000 - a years' salary for some. And wait till you see the perks they dish out - free percussion hammer, free stationary sets, free engraving on your stethoscopes, 10-year warranty - you can get used to these so quickly you'd feel alienated after that buying bread in the neighborhood bakery. The sales reps are very friendly, very helpful, and they even have different colors for your stethoscopes - making it look like Converse shoes or Swatch watches where you collect the colors - cherry pink, navy blue, forest green - very tempting, if it happens to be some Gap clothing or Nike sneakers. We're still considering the quality and feasibility of both brands - sometimes the girls, with all their experiences in shopping comes in handy; while the guys, technically speaking and scientifically, will analyze the sound quality, touch and hold of both for you. It's still up to me at the end of the day!