September 2010



Everyday Rants of a Retail Pharmacist

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Well, those of you that know me knew this one was coming!  I’ve only been an actual pharmacist for about 3.5 years but I’ve worked in a pharmacy for 10 years, so I’ve seen and heard a thing or two.  Most days I love my job.  My coworkers are awesome, I work in a neighborhood with a lot of good people, and I’m pretty freaking good at what I do.  As good as it can be, on the flip side it can also be just as bad.  You of course have those few rotten apples who can just spoil away your day.  I feel that my pet peeves or rants are somewhat universal to the retail pharmacy profession-so if you happen across one that you’re guilty of, maybe just think about it the next time you visit your friendly neighborhood pharmacist-I’m sure he or she will be very thankful!

1.  I am not a Medical Doctor
I did not go to school to diagnose whatever that nasty rash on your leg is.  I know it is very convenient (and free) for you to access me instead of going to see your doctor, but I’m sorry-I cannot write you a prescription for that nasty goop coming out of your eye.  I do my very best to recommend items you can get without a prescription, but when I tell you that you need to see a doctor, I probably mean it.  Please, please do not put your fungus plagued toes on my counter or lift up your shirt to show me the yeasty mess you have growing under your saggy boobs.  Discreetness people.

2.  Yes, I work here-but that doesn’t mean I’m an expert on every product we carry
I know its shocking, but just because the condom section is right in front of the pharmacy it does not mean I know anything about Durex’s vibrating penis ring.  If you read the box, it tells you how long the battery lasts, you be the judge if that will work for you.  Also, just because I took chemistry in college does not mean that I can tell you why 1 differing ingredient makes one Draino product better than the other.  And no, I do not know what aisle the Shake Weights are in.  (Yes, these are all incidents that have actually happened to me)

3.  I did not go to school for 6 years to ring up your grocery cart
Yes, I do work in a retail store and will happily ring up a few items you picked up while waiting for your prescription.  However, when you come up to my counter with half the store in your shopping cart, complete with 5 manufacturer coupons and need to know which size of Tide detergent is 2 for $10, AND there are 3 people in line behind you-I might get a little unnerved.  We have cashiers in the store that are there for the sole purpose of checking you out, please take advantage of their services in the front of the store and come to the pharmacy for mine.  *On a side note-ladies and gents that are embarrassed to ring up your tampons or condoms in the front and insist that I ring them up for you-grow a pair!  Come on, we’re all adults here, everyone uses these things-its a part of life!

4.  I have no control over the cost of your medication
Despite what many believe, I do not control the price that prints out on the label of your medications.  I’m not back behind a curtain in the pharmacy like the Wizard of Oz just rubbing my palms together thinking, hmm who can I charge $500 to today!?  If you have insurance this is how it works-we type all the information on the sheet of paper that the doctor gave you into our computer system which then sends it to your specific insurance company.  They do some computer magic and send us back a price (or in some cases a rejection) that tells us what to charge you based on what they have on file for you.  Trust me, I did not make the decision that you are too old to use Retin-A.  I am just the middleman, please don’t take out your anger at the insurance company on me, I don’t like them very much either.  I will be happy to help figure out questionable prices or rejections to the best of my ability, but you’re gonna need to work with me instead of against me, just remember, I’m not the bad guy!

5.  Talking on your cell phone while I’m trying to help you is just plain rude
I don’t care how hot the guy you hooked up with last night at John Barleycorn was nor do I care how you were like so blacked out you don’t remember how you got home.  All I want to do is get you your prescription and make sure you understand how to use it.  Just unglue the phone from the side of your head and you’ll be free to chat about where tonight’s debauchery will occur in just a minute.

6.  Threatening me will not help your case
I’m very sorry that you dropped your bottle of 120 Xanax down the toilet for the 4th time now, but I can’t give you any more.  Well yes, you’ve just told me who you are.  Nope, I’m sorry I am not aware of who your family is.  You’re going to wait for me after work?  Super we can go get cocktails across the street!  Sorry, I still can’t give you that Xanax.

7.  Pharmacy ≠ fast food joint
I will do everything in my power to get your prescription processed and out the door as soon as I can, but no, you cannot wait at the drive-thru window while I do this.  Yes, your inhaler is already packaged in a box but I can’t just hand it to you right this very second.  There is a system of checks and balances put in place for your safety.  I need to make sure that what the doctor has written isn’t going to kill you.  I need to make sure that this drug isn’t going to interact with another drug you’re taking and cause you do go into cardiac arrest.  Pretty silly things I know, but unfortunately I have to do them before slinging your drugs across the counter to you.  I know 15 minutes is a lot to ask for potentially saving your life, but just bear with me on this one.


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