Monday, February 25, 2008

How About Some Common Sense Instead?

[Mortimer Mouse by Berke Breathed]

I have been a patient at both Walter Reed and Bethesda here in the DC area, and my own experiences with both were about the same. I had positive experiences but I wasn't treated there for an extended period of time, nor did I need to be housed there. The problems discovered last year were about the temporary spaces used to keep the troops housed in. This is why we donate money to Fisher House and this is what they should have been working on.

Instead, we see this bullshit. If you need to turn to Disney to figure out that you should:

1. Treat people with respect
2. Respond to their needs
3. And use some common sense

Then I can guarantee you that you don't know what you're doing. How hard is it? An organization that craps on people and fosters an indifferent attitude is an organization that is going to frustrate the people that it's serving. If you can't learn that lesson by having it expressed in clear and simple language, there is no amount of money that is going to "solve" the problems Walter Reed faces.

And, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Walter Reed scheduled to close anyway?

Trying Some Disney Attitude to Help Cure Walter Reed
By Steve Vogel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 25, 2008

Fifty medical workers -- doctors, nurses, therapists and administrators among them -- sat in a room at Walter Reed Army Medical Center gazing at a slide of Donald Duck on a screen.

The oft-cranky Disney cartoon character, wearing his blue sailor jacket and cap, was in a palpable rage. His webbed feet had lifted off the ground, his beak was gaping, and his white-gloved hands were tightly clutching an old-fashioned two-piece telephone.

"We can clearly see he's frustrated," said Kris Lafferty, a trainer for the Disney Institute who was leading workers at the Northwest Washington hospital last week in a four-hour seminar on customer service. "Why do we think he's frustrated?"

A year after a scandal erupted over the long-term treatment of soldiers at the hospital, the Army has turned to Disney for help. "Service, Disney Style" is newly required for all military and other government employees at Walter Reed.

Lafferty and her fellow Disney trainer, Mike Donnelly, handed out little plastic Goofy and Mickey Mouse figurines as they led Wednesday afternoon's discussion with the workers -- some in uniform, some in scrubs, some in civilian clothes.

Various theories were offered for Donald Duck's ire: He was getting the run-around. He could not get a question answered. He was flummoxed by his antique phone.

The lesson: Poor service equals frustration.

At the tables, heads nodded in agreement. It's a familiar story at Walter Reed, where wounded soldiers and their families often confront a numbing bureaucracy.

The Army is paying Disney $800,000 to help revamp attitudes at the hospital.

Next time, just give that money to Fisher House. Better yet, use it to refurbish the rooms that the troops have to stay in. Here's something you can do for nothing--start firing people who treat the troops like shit. Wanna solve problems? Get rid of the people who cause the problems in the first place by throwing their pissy little asses out the door. What enables people to treat people like crap in the first place is the idea that they won't be held accountable for what they do.


Last week, nearly 200 Walter Reed employees sat through training by the Disney Institute, a branch of the resort and entertainment empire that offers seminars on what the company calls "the business behind the magic."

Clients often include institutions that have encountered problems because of poor service. "It almost always begins with the need for more service," said Bruce Jones, programming director for the institute, based in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. "What happens is somebody will say, 'Why not Disney?' "

Other government and military entities -- among them the FBI, the CIA and the National Reconnaissance Office, which handles the nation's reconnaissance satellites -- have trained with Disney, Jones said.

The Navy hired Disney about 10 years ago to improve its medical service, Mateczun said. Customer service ratings improved.

Disney is "sort of a benchmark on how to work with customers," Mateczun said.

Sounds like we're wasting money. Does the military want to adopt Disney's methods for dealing with Lesbian and Gay employees? Pardon me for piling on, but this little snippet from the archives of "The Anchoress" [yes, she is insane--don't ask] had me laughing out loud most of the morning:

A refreshing take on Disney “Gay Days”
I don’t know if anyone even remembers it, but one of the things the Senate Judiciary Committee held against Bill Pryor (aside from the fact that he had those dangerous “deeply held beliefs” that so troubled Chuck Schumer) was that, upon discovering he’d inadvertently booked a family vacation to Walt Disney World during “Gay Days,” he decided to cancel the vacation. The Committee gave him a hard time about, demanding to know why he cancelled his vacation, demanding to know what the problem was with going to Disney during “Gay Days” and wondering what could possibly be in his head beyong raw homophobia and rampant nazi hate. Okay, they didn’t say that, exactly, but they implied it.

Pryor answered that all he wanted to do was have a vacation that did not involve being forced to explain adult matters to his small children.


I can’t help but think of, and feel sorry for – the unsuspecting family who saved for years for a once in a lifetime trip – only to arrive and find that Disney had in fact, been invaded by he-women and shaved down muscle boys. By itself that would not be a problem, but the sheer number of people who seem to go out of their way to rub their sexuality in everyones face during this ‘event’ is nothing short of disgraceful. Is the Magic Kingdom REALLY the place for a 5 year old to ask his father why those two men are kissing? Is it really up to any person to decide for that parent when, or if, they will have that conversation with their child? I’ve always believed the best way we, as gay men and lesbians, could further our cause was to simply live our lives openly, and with dignity. Not hide in shame, and not force our beliefs or lifestyle down anyone elses throat. I don’t like it when I hear pompous windbags telling me I’m going to burn in hell for being gay, and I’m sure most of the free world would appreciate a visit to Disney World that did not include the vision of grown men in go-go shorts, and ads for lubricant prominently displayed throughout the host hotel.

I'm telling you this for your own good--don't read anything by the Anchoress with fluids in your mouth. You have to be in the mood for full-on delusional wingnuttery, and prepare to be horrified and confused all at the same time.

I can guarantee you--guarantee you--more than a few conservative Republicans have wanted to accidentally show up at Disney World on that weekend so that they could continue their public hypocrisy AND get some free lubricants. This is how that crowd likes to roll.

Next time, give me the $800,000. I'll show up and we'll have a five minute training session. I'll stand there for 4 and a half minutes, and then I'll say:

Treat people the way you would want to be treated. And if you don't, your ass is gone. You're not here to do anything other than take care of the people who defend this country. If that doesn't motivate you to use common sense and do a good job, get the fuck out of here now.

And then I'll turn around and give that money to Fisher House myself.

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