I practically drink Purell. Every bag I own is lined with sanitizing wipes. And if it were up to me, I’d shmear elevator buttons and public bathroom faucet handles with Purell’s beauteous hypoallergenic, nontoxic ethyl alcohol goo. So imagine my envy when, upon fleeing Cosi through a back door recently, I came face-to-face with an industrial-size public Purell dispenser in the lobby of 1700 Market Street! Similar, smaller versions have been popping up around town (like at the 20th Street Whole Foods), and hospitals like HUP have ’em everywhere. But I had to know why 1700 Market got the dispenser — and if we could expect to see more of them around town. Turns out, according to Maribeth M. Spitz, senior VP of the mid-Atlantic region at Transwestern (which owns 1700 Market), the dispensers were brought in this winter to stop the spread of germs, not just at 1700, but in 1601 Market, too. (Just $3,582 covered 11 stands, refills and dispensers.) And a call to Angela Watkins at Purell revealed that through the Purell Program for Workplace Wellness (through which offices sign up for Purell desk caddies, pictured), FedEx, for example, saw a 21 percent decrease in employee absenteeism. So I’m not a neurotic hypochondriac freak for swearing by this stuff, people. I say it’s time for all buildings (ahem, 1818 Market) to follow Transwestern’s lead and get their germophobic freak on.
The Good Life: Trendspotting: Corporate Germophobia
Originally published in Philadelphia Magazine, March 2007