The Red Cross has been persistent in trying to get me to donate blood. They call me weekly and email almost daily to encourage me to donate. This week I made an appointment to donate on Saturday. I even earned a RapidPass by completing the pre-donation reading and answering the health history questions. This takes less than ten minutes and saves time once I’m at the donation site.
My appointment was for 12:30pm and i arrived on time. I was greeted immediately and I signed in via a convenient electronic tablet. I found a seat in the waiting area with the eight people ahead of me. I began to read my book while monitoring the progress of the donors. There was none. I waited until 1:00pm which was thirty minutes after my appointment. I could tell I was going to be here all afternoon and this is not what I signed up for. The Red Cross had promised but could not deliver. I left and went on about my day.
As I exited PetSmart today I spotted an INOVA Blood Mobile in the parking lot. I walked over to see if I could donate. It turns out they were closing for the day but they took me and thirty minutes later I was snacking on Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies and drinking 100% apple juice. INOVA promised me nothing and they over-delivered. They got my pint of blood and rightly so.
I support the Red Cross. I’ve donated blood with them two or three dozen times. This was my first and only disappointing experience while donating blood. I’m sure maintaining an adequate supply of this perishable, life-saving liquid cannot be simple. I also believe the effects of a blood supply shortage may be exacerbated by inefficient or misunderstood business practices.
The Red Cross’s sign offered me a 56 minute wait. The INOVA Blood Mobile asked me simply was I happy or not as I exited the experience. Two signs. Two different messages.