Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Needle and the damage done

Dear lady who took my blood,

We didn't really get a chance to talk, because you called me into your lab room to take my blood for an upcoming physical by calling my name into a room around the corner, and then when I lumbered down the hall to where you were, you said either,"Good morning, how are you?"  or, "Brazilian copper exports are at an all-time low this morning" because you mumbled so low I couldn't make it out.

And then when you had me make a fist, your idea of communicating this direction by pantomime was brilliant.  You curled your fingers back toward your palm and invited me to do the same by pointing the uncurled index finger at me. 

And thank you for snapping your gum in my ear as you inserted the needle.  Not having had breakfast at that point, I found the fragrance of Juicy Fruit to be just simply enchanting at quarter til eight.

And then, when you were finished filling your vials with my blood, look at how much time you saved by not saying anything after "hold this" while you put on two strips of adhesive tape to hold down the gauze.  Without another word, I was finished, out the door, thanks so much, let's stay in touch.

Look, I don't need or want the royal treatment anywhere I go.  Just simple common courtesy would be nice, and a modicum of person-to-person communication. 

I see all sorts of people in jobs where part of the training should have included these words:  "You're going to be dealing with the public and representing our multi-million dollar firm to them.  All of the advertising that we do, all the money we invest in technology and building support for this operation, and all the time and effort we put into running this business will be wasted if you - the only person from this corporation who might have direct contact with a member of the public  - cannot comport yourself with dignity and establish a certain rapport with the person you're serving."

I know it was early on a Monday morning when we met, and no one likes to work early on a Monday.  And let's face it, sticking needles in people and drawing blood from their elbow region is not the sort of work that allows for a great yield of self-expression and joy.

But, if you want to get ahead, if you want to be the one in the big honcho's office running the company instead of  wielding the needles as the sun comes up on a cold day, please consider adding a little friendliness and a human touch to your phlebotomy skills.  You're really good with that!  No bruise, no pain.

But no smile, either.

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