Wear The Rubber Gloves (Issue 944)

In which we are reminded that, sometimes, clients need something more than short “log on and follow the prompts” instructions to implement (what we think are) simple procedures changes or products we've sold them.

“Wear the rubber gloves when you go into the stores.”

After a couple of weeks of restricted movement, I left our building yesterday for some errands including essential groceries and the Post Office.

Following guidelines from the CDC and our resident family chief medical officer (a deeply experienced nurse), I snagged lightweight rubber gloves on the way out, cruised through the building’s entrance lobby, and headed to the Post Office.

As I approached the Post Office, I pulled on the rubber gloves, grasped the Post Office door handle with my right hand (potentially picking up previously abandoned virus) and pulled the door open. I repeated the process for the inside door with my left hand, and turned to go to my PO Box.

When I got to the box, I realized [oh, surprise!] that, to open the Post Office box, I needed one of my keys. The key ring and keys were in my jacket pocket and, if there had been any virus contamination on the Post Office door handles and now on my gloves, I would inoculate my jacket pocket and the keys as I touched them. What to do? (Apparently, removing one potentially contaminated glove or looking around the Post Office lobby for hand sanitizer (my own bottle of which I’d left at home) didn’t occur to me.)

So, I reached into my jacket pocket with my gloved but potentially contaminated right hand and grabbed the keys, possibly contaminating them.

I opened the PO Box, pulled out the mail (possibly contaminating that), closed the PO Box, and left the Post Office, either (potentially) picking up additional virus contamination or leaving my own on the door handles.

I then walked to the corner convenience store, pulled the store door open with my potentially contaminated gloved hand, went to the dairy case, and pulled out a half gallon of milk (realizing that, if the milk bottle hadn’t been previously contaminated and my gloves were now contaminated, the milk bottle would now be contaminated). I went to the cashier, reached into my pants pocket (potentially inoculating my pants), pulled out my credit card (potentially contaminating that), and inserted it in the payment terminal (potentially inoculating that).

Returning to our building’s locked lobby entrance door, also potentially contaminated, I realized that both my gloves and the keys to the building were potentially contaminated and that, if the door weren’t previously contaminated, it would be once I’d opened it…

You know, the instructions were simple: “Wear rubber gloves when you go into the stores.” Clearly there were some steps left out.

Nick Miller  trains banks and bankers to attract and expand relationships with business clients. More profitable relationships, faster. He is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.

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