It feels great to donate blood, doesn’t it? I’ve been a lifelong blood donor, and have donated many, many gallons of my blood to the Red Cross, Memorial Blood Centers, and other organizations.

In about 2004, I stopped giving my blood to the Red Cross. The reason? They wouldn’t stop calling me. I lived in the Maryland area at the time, and as soon as I was eligible to donate (56 days after my previous donation), the twice-a-day phone calls would start. I usually let the calls go right to voicemail. Sometimes they’d leave a recorded message, sometimes a live message, sometimes they wouldn’t leave a message at all. When I did answer, I let them know that I would schedule my next donation on my own time, and asked that they stop calling me. Each time they said they’d “remove my number from the list,” but wouldn’t you know it, about a week or two later, the phone calls would start again.

This happened at least a dozen times. At least. Each time, I’d plead, “Please stop calling me, this is my cell phone, and I don’t need constant reminders from you” they’d say “Oh, we’re so sorry, OK!,” but a few weeks later, the calls would start again.

A computer glitch? Maybe. My friends didn’t seem to have the same types of issues with the Red Cross. Maybe they just weren’t as gruff or grumpy as I was. Or maybe it’s because I’m type O-Negative.

I finally managed to escape the grip of the Chesapeake & Potomac Region Red Cross by moving across the country. In my new home state, I donated my blood to Memorial Blood Centers, folks who aren’t so pushy about scheduling your next donation. One day, while at a street fair, I noticed a Red Cross donation truck and knew that I was eligible to donate, so I decided to give them another chance. After all, maybe it was just the Potomac Region that was hyper-vigilant about scheduling donations.

Nope.

Exactly 56 days later, I started getting at least one, but usually two, phone calls per day from a strange number in Omaha, Nebraska. I don’t answer calls from strange numbers, so I let the calls go to voicemail. They never left a message. I eventually looked the number up on the internet and learned that it was, lo and behold, the American Red Cross, harassing me once again. I answered the next call and asked them to stop calling, which, to their credit, they’ve done. It’s been about 2 months now and I haven’t heard a peep out of the American Red Cross.

I’m not counting them out yet, though. On that last call, I explained that I was tired of the phone calls, and that I had just donated to Memorial Blood Center, and would not be donating to the Red Cross in the future, so they may as well take me off their list. Time will tell if they really did take me off their list or if they just granted me a temporary 56-day reprieve.

So hey, check me out, I’m just an angry guy railing against the good, charitable, non-profit American Red Cross, right? Let me be clear: There is no doubt that the Red Cross does a lot of great things. But don’t let that “non-profit” status mislead you – blood is big business, and as far as profit goes, the American Red Cross ranks right up there with America’s top Fortune 500 companies.

I’m not the only one who’s tired of the never-ending Red Cross harassment. The Red Cross explains that it’s just that as a poor non-profit, their computer systems are just archaic and out of date. Hmm… I wonder what the author of that article’s blood type is.