Sunday, November 1, 2015

What's so hard about being NICE?

I drove an extra five minutes yesterday to get my labs drawn at a new LabCorp, instead of returning to the site I had gone to for the past few years, which I found after I left the place before that.

If this location doesn't work out, I'll be searching for a different LabCorp, although it may seem silly to drive a farther distance when I can be at one within 5 minutes, which includes stopping at a red light. 

But the employees at the last place were, at times, so NOT NICE, which always turns my stomach (even more so perhaps when it's empty for my fasting labs). 

My husband said - forgive me if I have mentioned this before - that I place too much of an emphasis on whether people are NICE.  Who cares, he asked?  I'm not in a relationship with the person who draws my blood; he/she should be judged for job performance, not bedside manner.  

I see his point.  I might even agree with it.  But, I can't live by it.

I'm generally a very loyal customer.  If I find a pleasing scenario, I'll be back time and time again.  I've gone to the same hairdresser - in Philly - as she's moved around,  since I was 20.  The same dentist, also in Philly.  The same B&Bs in Maine, for at least 10 years.  I even go to the same restaurant where the owner kisses all his female clientele (one of my more recent blog posts), much to my chagrin.  At least he's friendly.

Saturday's LabCorp experience was positive, so I'll stay put for at least one more visit. The woman behind the counter greeted me with a smile.  I knew right away this place was going to be better than the last, already in wonderful contrast to my experience at the LabCorp closer to my home, where employees in the dead of winter with snow on the ground made everyone who arrived a few minutes before the official 7:30 a.m. opening stand outside while they laughed and carried on inside, drinking their nice hot cups of coffee.  And then when they finally unlocked the doors, in unison the staff shouted orders to sign-in quickly, take a seat, and be ready for a longer wait if we didn't make a scheduled appointment online. 

I tolerated that behavior because the prior Labcorp experience was even more insulting.  Once I was sent home because the phlebotomist detected gum on my breath and, since I was scheduled for "fasting" labs, she told me I had to leave and return the next day since I did not follow directions.  Another time, the receptionist said I had to pay upfront or I could not get the labs drawn, even though I read her the sign on the wall in front of us both which stated that payment is not required at the time of service. 

A third time - my final visit there - the woman assigned to take my blood reprimanded me harshly that I sat down in the wrong room and, therefore, would have to wait while she helped the other customers first, even though it had been my turn.  Clearly, I was a bad girl. Worse than scolding me, she was annoyed, and I became panic-stricken that I had upset her, which is not something I wanted to do given she would be coming at me with a needle.  So, I did the only thing I knew how to do taking into account the level of desperation I felt:  I complimented her on her earrings, her hairdo and even her scrubs.  I think she actually forgot I annoyed her because she seemed so happy that I noticed her sense of style.  That was sick on my part to flatter this woman, I admit.  But, the plan worked.  She was very gentle, despite my well-deserved fears.

Maybe being a phlebotomist isn't the most enjoyable job in the world, or maybe no one really wants to be at work at 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday - I get it - but there's no way I can separate one's abilities with overall presentation, especially when it's so poorly delivered.  Life's way too short to get abused at LabCorp.

I'll never see it any other way:  

Niceness matters everywhere.