Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I use a local pharmacy that is part of a chain. I frequent it because I know the head pharmacist and I like him very much. His store, on the other hand, could benefit from a little kick in the posterior region of the body. I always go there in a good mood and leave really to kill someone or destroy something. Frustration has a tendency to do that to me. I have no patience for stupidity or downright forgetfulness.
Recently my hubby’s various prescriptions needed to be re-filled. He dutifully called the pharmacy number to order the refills. You know how he did it - the automated re-fill service that allows you to call, give the prescription number and then set a time the next day that you will pick it up. Done, he asked me to pick them up the next day at eleven in the morning. My back started to arch like a cat – I did not want to go. Scenarios of what was going to happen were already beginning to play in my head. He assured me that the prescriptions would be ready. Yeah right, he had never had to go in there alone and face those pharmacy techs.
The next morning I suited up for battle and entered the store, certain that there would be some type of screw-up. Sure enough, the prescriptions hadn’t been filled. Could I possibly come back tomorrow? My friend, the pharmacist wasn’t working that day and I don’t know the other pharmacist. Not needing the police called on me again (Arab Police shudder when they get a description of the person they are being called about – I know my picture must be in the squad room with darts sticking out of it), I said as politely as I could – “No, my husband needs them today. He called them in last night and I want them TODAY.” The little pharmacy tech gave me a look that said, “Surely you aren’t telling me that.” She smiled sweetly and said the store didn’t have the pills in stock and would have to order them. I knew better, but this was her passive-aggressive way of telling me that I would just have to wait because of my surly insistence. I started to pitch a fit and decided it wasn’t worth it. I asked for the store manager. Amazingly, by the time I got through with the store manager, the pharmacist had found some of those lovely pills and my prescription was filled! It was a miracle! I left vowing never to return until…hubby asked me to go again.
That incident set me to thinking about pharmacies and how people act when they are waiting on prescriptions or how they are treated by the employees. These are things I have noticed and some suggestions I would make for improvement:
1. Every time I have to go inside a pharmacy during cold/flu season I worry about being around all those deathly ill people. I hear them sniffling and sneezing and my hand reaches for a tissue. Not for them, FOR ME – to cover my nose and mouth. I don’t want to be sick. Therefore, I would suggest that pharmacies do as my son’s pediatrician did: a well-area for those just picking up prescriptions and a sick area, complete with couches and mounds of tissues, for those who are currently dying of some contagion.
2. A lot of times, doctors will call in medicine for a patient. Now, if the doctor took the time to call in a prescription, do you think the pharmacy tech could actually listen to the message and deliver it to the pharmacist? I feel so sorry for those young mothers who are standing there with sick children, insisting that the doctor said he was calling in the Amoxycillin. My rule: if you don’t check the messages, the pharmacy tech gets to baby-sit the sick children while the mother goes to look at the cosmetics. Torture is a strong deterrent to slothfulness.
3. Drive-throughs are a bane of my existence. I don’t use them because I am short, my arms are short and I can’t usually reach the little drawer, necessitating me opening the car door, getting out and reaching into it. I actually take the time to go inside and get my prescription (when it’s ever filled). I can remember many times standing there waiting on a prescription while the people in the drive-through get waited on first. Why? Because they are in vehicles that could actually run through the store? I don’t understand this phenomena (all the fast-food places do the same thing). My rule: Alternate between the drive-through and the inside customers. Fairness is still the polite thing to do.
4. I was standing behind a little old man the other day who was clutching a pharmacy paper bag. When it came his turn to approach the counter, he lifted the little bag up and handed it to the girl. He explained that he had come in the day before for his blood pressure medication and that when he got home, he discovered birth control pills in the bag. I had to hold my hand over my mouth – think about the poor woman. If she was dumb and assumed her pills had changed (no handy little dispenser), there might be another little Bubba running around in nine months. My Rule: Always check the contents of the bag for your name on the bottle and, if possible, count the pills. Yes, count the pills. I have been shorted on pills before. (This also holds true with fast foods places.)
5. Inevitably when I am in a hurry, there is someone in front of me that knows the little pharmacy tech and has to discuss the girl/boy’s parents, grandparents, last Sunday’s sermon or the state of the local corn crop. My Rule: Do your visiting on your own time. Look behind you at all the people in line and show a little consideration.
Yes, I can hear you now: Why doesn’t she just change pharmacies? I would but it would be futile. All pharmacies are like mine, so why bother. I have most of the pharmacy techs at mine trained – they send someone else to wait on me. I would hate to break in a whole new crew.
Do you have any rules or thoughts to share about pharmacies? I know there are some stories out there about your local drug store.