Red Hospital Walking Socks

May 27, 2020 –

During an unplanned midnight trip to the hospital emergency room, they required my wife to stay 24 hours for observation. She had gotten up during the night, blacked out and fell backward, hitting her head on the marble-topped nightstand beside the bed. Six hours later, after half-dozen tests and seven stitches, they transferred her to a room.

It seems many people fall. For instance, according to a for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, 2.5 million older people—those 65 and older—are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. Falls are severe and costly. Adjusted for inflation, the direct medical costs for fall injuries are $34 billion.

I thought it unusual when a nurse came into my wife’s room and replaced her hospital-issued green “walking socks” with red ones. When I questioned the nurse why the change, she said, “the red socks alert all the nurses on the floor that the wearer is prone to fall.” The red socks act as a warning sign and alert the nurses to be extra vigilant.

It would be nice if disenchanted customers, patrons, or clients wore red walking socks to alert you had fallen out of step with them. It’s easy for a customer’s loyalty to slip on a late shipment or stumble on a product mix-up or lose balance over what they perceive as a lack of attention resulting in a loss of sales and even switching to a competitor.

Often customers will not tell you what you are doing wrong, so sales-fall prevention begins with you. Make a habit of looking for red warning signs and take corrective action.

Significant opportunities often are disguised as problems.