I admit it. I have not been locked down in my home day after day after day, despite our state instituting a stay at home order. Now, before branding me an anarchist and rabble-rouser, I do qualify for several of the exemptions outlined by our governor. I also work in a secluded office on a floor of mostly absent office suites as many of the occupants can do their work from home just as easily, in an office building that is mostly deserted, at least for another week or two.
As I pull up to the coffee shop on the way to my office, I don my facemask and nitrile gloves every morning. They make me a medium latte, which I carry to my car and finish my drive to work, about another half-mile away. Once inside, microwave the coffee cup, just to hopefully nuke whatever nasties might be laying on the cup itself or the lid before drinking. I wash my hands and start my business day.
The next thing I do is wipe my credit card down with a disinfectant wipe before returning it to my wallet.
Then it dawns on me… I have used my credit card at the grocery stores we visit every weekend, the coffee shop I visit every day, and the gas station I fill my car up at every week or so. Every time I use my card, I try to remember to disinfect the card. As thorough as I try to be to live and work safely, I am sure I am at best being 80% effective.
Just last week as I got coffee, where there is almost no one in the shop when I walk in around 7 AM, two gentlemen walked in not long after me and stood about 3-4 feet away from me waiting their turn. When I asked them to politely back up to 6 feet, the one in front said he was already 6 feet away. I then joked if that was 6 feet, I would hate to find out what he told his potential paramours he was actually packing. He smiled and did take a step back. Two months ago I would have never noticed how close he was, unless he was actually breathing down my neck, nor would I have likely said anything. Now I notice how close everyone is in the grocery store or simply just walking my dogs.
Remember all the excitement a couple of years ago about Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and even the contactless credit cards many of us have in our wallets? Why in this time of social distancing aren’t more stores using them?
Every time I stick my credit card into a credit card reader these days, every time I hand my credit card to a cashier, I am reminded that machines exist that read a credit card in seconds without me ever having to touch anything other than my own credit card or my own mobile phone.
I am quite sure I am not alone in recognizing the world has changed dramatically in the last couple of months. We are all relooking at things we took for granted just a few short weeks ago. Our jobs, our healthcare systems, our own health, and the health of those around us.
What are your experiences shopping today? Do you think twice about handing your credit to the clerk to run through the same machine a thousand other cards have been run through? Or am I being over paranoid? Personally, every time I have to plug my card into another reader or hand it to another cashier, I have to force myself to isolate my card for cleaning before I slide it back in my wallet. It’s a wonderfully refreshing feeling to visit a store with a contactless credit card reader, where the card is in my control the whole time and never has to touch anything or anyone else that requires it to be immediately cleaned again.
Will your patients and customer appreciate being able to pay for their exams, their eyewear, and their contact lenses that way, when you reopen. I bet they will. Will your employees be thankful they don’t have to handle something else that hasn’t been cleaned in order to make the sale. You can be sure of that too.
Our world will not go back to the normal we once knew and took for granted anytime soon. We will all be looking over our shoulders for a long time to come. Being as we are in the healthcare industry, we will want to do what we can to set the example for others, to be the place our customers and our patients feel safe and welcome in. The little things we do tomorrow to accomplish that will be shared by them to their friends and families, earning the confidence of those who trust us and their patronage as well.
In our investigation of various readers, we found prices that ran from $70 to almost $300. It’s time to embrace a bit more sterile and healthy future and these machines can help your store or practice achieve that future.