Pissed Off at Roche Labs

Before I took the test, I called ahead to the Roche labs Gaithersburg collection agency, and asked if my University of Maryland Student ID was sufficient identification. She assured me it was, but I asked again if she was really sure, because I didn't have a drivers license, so I would have to take a taxi to the collection agency (for which Bill Skinner kindly agreed to reimburse me), and I didn't want to be turned away after all that money, time, and effort. She again assured me that a current photo ID with a social security number was enough.

I called for a cab, and found out that the closest Roche urine collection agency was in Bethesda. While the cab was on the way, I called Roche Labs in Bethesda and to ask if my student ID was OK with them, too. The person who answered the phone told me that Roche labs had moved upstairs to another office, but their phone had not yet been moved. But he told me that the lady who worked there said that all I needed was a photo ID and a full bladder. So trustingly, I showed up in Bethesda with 32 ounces of coke and 1/2 a liter of coffee in my system, a student ID, a current registration card, a social security card, a Visa card, a (my bank is) Chevy Chase (and your isn't) card, an ancient expired military ID, and few hours before I had to be in class. To my surprise, the lady who worked for Bethesda Roche Labs would not take any of my IDs -- she wanted a valid drivers license or a non-drivers ID card. I told her that Gaithersburg Roche labs said a photo ID with a social security number was sufficient identification. No good. Same company, different policy. She was in charge here. She did not doubt my identity, she just would not accept my identification. (Not even my ACLU card!) She was very nasty, and treated me like a 17-year-old trying to buy a 6-pack of beer!

So I stomped downstairs to the pay phone, called the Gaithersburg lab again, asked to talk to the person I'd conversed with before, and asked for her supervisor. Her supervisor was at the Rockville Roche Labs collection agency, so I called her there, and explained the situation. She said that my student ID should be just fine, and that I should have the lady from Bethesda call her back, and she would tell her it was OK to test me. I told her that the phone was not working in the office yet, but I'd ask her to call somehow.

I went up to the office, and walked back in. She looks at me like she was thinking "I thought I got rid of you!" She was not amused when I told her to call her supervisor, who wanted to talk to her. She said she couldn't call her supervisor since the phone was not installed. I said her supervisor knew that, but she was expected to call somehow. She would not leave the office to make the call, and went on to collect samples from several other people who had arrived since I had. When the waiting room was finally emptied of everyone but me, she went next door for a few minutes, and when she came back, she said somebody was using the phone next door so I would just have to wait. I waited for a while, but I had to pee so bad that I finally asked her if she would just use the pay phone downstairs, which I had used to call her supervisor. She said she didn't want to spend her own money, so I offered her a quarter. She said she didn't want to leave the office unlocked, so I suggested that she lock it. She said that I would just have to wait until the phone next door was not in use, and she proceeded to do paperwork for a while. Finally, I stood up, and told her that I was going to go downstairs and call her supervisor again, to let her know how the situation was progressing. She glared at me, so I did what I told her I'd do. When I got back up to the office after talking to her supervisor again, the door was closed and locked, and there was a sign on it that said "Back in 10 minutes!" With a sense of urgency that was probably not going to last 10 minutes, I walked around the building looking for her. Sure enough, I found her downstairs, in the old office of Roche Labs, in the room with the same joker who had told me to show up with a photo ID and a full bladder, talking on the phone with her supervisor.

I waited for her to finish, and met her back up at the office. She unlocked the door, went inside, and grudgingly demanded my ID. I gave her everything she needed, and then she insisted on the phone number of the person who wanted me to take the test (even though her phone didn't work). I gave her a phone number at Xerox PARC, and she bitched that it was not a local phone call, but finally agreed to administer the test.

For at least an hour and a half since I first went into the office ready to take the test, my bladder was full and my teeth were floating, all the time I'm trying to deal this god damned unexpected crisis situation! I was *NOT* in the best of moods by this time -- you can guess my state of mind.

If you thought it's been humiliating so far, you've obviously never taken a urine test yourself. I suggest you go to the corner collection agency and take one just for jollies. It would be a very educational experience to put yourself in my position. Especially if the person administering the piss test has you on her shit list for going over her head to her supervisor, and forcing her to give you a test she didn't think you deserved, and the only thing you can think of is releasing the pressure on your bladder that's built up during hours of trying to deal with this bullshit. The Standard Procedure consists of treating you like a cheating criminal, expecting that you will take any chance to foil the test, making you follow their ridiculous procedures, jumping through their hoops, before you're allowed to pee. She puts blue dye in the toilet, you empty your pockets into a box that she locks up while you're taking the test, she yells at you to put your pants back on when you try to cooperate by expediting the procedure, she squirts soap into your hand, you wash your hands well, open the sealed plastic bag with the specimen jar with a liquid crystal thermometer on the side, sign and date it in ink, she puts a plastic bag over the faucet, tapes it up with a big red CONFIDENTIAL sticker, ushers you into the room, lets you close the door, and only then do you *finally* get a chance to pee! Aah! Wooooah that's a small bottle! Aaaaaaaaaaaah!

And what good does it do Xerox? Do they get their sacred Drug Free Work Place? Noooooo! Does she even ask me to wash my hands *after* I piss in the bottle? Noooooo! What's stopping me from lighting up a big doobie and laughing about it all, once I get home from this horrible ordeal? If *ANYTHING* can drive someone to do drugs, it's this kind of a day!