Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Some people need a high five. In the face. With a chair.

Oh, it's been so long since I did a work-related post. Which oddly enough, was the reason I started these little chronicles, and has made up the least of my blatherings. I'll just give anecdotes in no particular order here.

What are you, six?

I'm talking about cutting the line here, people. A child might have the idea that if he claps his hands over his eyes, it means the rest of the world cannot see him, simply because he cannot see them. This same mentality must apply to the countless folks who approach the counter from the side, or even walk past the staggeringly long line of patiently (or not so patiently) waiting customers, walk up to the counter, and start firing off their name and birthday. Or they're just so wrapped up in the world of Me, Myself, and I, that they just don't give a shit about anyone else. In which case, fuck 'em all. Usually pointing out the line emits embarrassment, but in the case of "I refuse to take the blame even when it's humping my leg or peeing its name into my shirt", I usually just let the crowd of angry line-waiters have their own say. And by the way, my long line of regulars isn't going to pardon your rudeness because you are "Not getting a prescription, just want to ring out two bottles of cough syrup." Having a line-cutter try to cut line when one of my "I-take-shit-from-NO-ONE" regulars? Pure, gold entertainment. And to the people who see me loudly call 'NEXT!' while making eye contact with, imagine this, the next person in line, stare at said person, and then shove out in front of them to 'ask me a question', well, there is a special place in Idiot Hell for you.

Respecting our elders

I try to do this, I really do. But as I told Flower, an older technician "They make it SO. HARD. Sometimes. She was sympathetic with my plight, being in the same boat, as it were. Our newest technician, hired in October to replace Student, whom I shall refer to as Strawberry, just thinks that these were mean-spirited, hateful people their whole life, and that it doesn't have much to do with age. Either way, I have told my closest friends that in the case, heaven forbid, I become a nasty, disrespectful, hateful old hag, they not only have my full and complete permission to kill me, they have my ORDER to do so. Spectacularly. Like putting explosives on my wheelchair and pushing it off a cliff so that my withered carcass becomes a spectacular fireworks display halfway down it's plummet into the Grand Canyon. Some examples of instances that triggered these conversations -

Old Man: "You don't have any children's Tylenol on the shelf."

Shiny: "I'm sorry sir, but if it's not on the shelf, we're probably temporarily out of stock."

OM: "Awww, this Goddamn place isn't worth anything. Can't do a shit *garblemarblegrumple*"

Yeah, because it's entirely the fault of the person behind the counter, so that person therefore deserves to be subjected to your dirty mouth and general disgust with events in life that don't revolve aaaaallll around you and your needs. There was a demand for the product. Other customers bought it before you did. I can't pull down my pants and push a bottle of Children's Tylenol out of my sphincter. I hope you got a flat tire on the way home and no one stopped to help you. *

* This would be a good time to note that my cynical side is about to come out in a horrible way. I hope you don't think less of me.

Let's go back to a couple months ago. Christmas is fast approaching and it's the pharmacy manager's birthday. He was unlucky enough to be scheduled a 13+ hour shift that day. As the only pharmacist on duty. An incredibly aged woman has ordered an inhaler to be refilled and is very impatient, as she's riding on the senior bus and is afraid it will leave without her. Of course, instead of ordering the medicine as soon as she got to the store, she shopped around for a while and then came to see us, assuming it would be done in five minutes, lickety-split. Oh, we're also trying to close for a half-hour lunch, which is required when only one pharmacist is working. She's sitting on the bench. And then in line. And then sitting, and then in line again, constantly asking if it's done yet and reminding my poor boss that she's going to miss the bus if he doesn't hurry up. God bless him, he has the patience of a saint and never looses his cool once. Once her confounded inhaler has finally been stickered and processed by a tech, it's in my boss's hands for the final step. She demands I ring her up. I say I can't, because I don't have the prescription, the Rph does and he hasn't printed a barcode yet. She then yells over the counter at him to just hand her the inhaler in the packaging. He says he can't do that. She says she's going to miss the bus. BTW, the bus is NOT going to leave without her stupid ass. We finally have the flipping rescue inhaler, it's scanned out of the system, rung up at the register and . . . .

Wait for it . . .



.... she pulls out a checkbook. And fills out a check. Slowly. Asking at least four times what the total is. And then complains that she has to sign a screen.

Gods help me, but I hate checks and I wish we'd stop accepting them. But anyways, she finally left, leaving me feeling very ruffled as I duck under the gates, which are being lowered by Festus, another older tech. He's retired and works here to supplement his SS checks, but when it comes to difficult, rude old folks, he's my top bitching buddy. Maybe Strawberry is right, these people were always dicks and it's just exaggerated now because they're older and feel they've earned the right of passage to act like a spoiled child.

Then there's creepy UTI guy. I remember him from my Winn Dixie days, he'd always come in and ask to use the phone at the service desk, which he'd use to call the 800 number on some catalog and then bitch out the sales rep on the other end. I always wanted to call them back and apologize. Well, now he invades Volde-Mart. I call him UTI guy because one day he insisted on talking with Raj, asking him if Prilosec was good for UTIs. WTF . . . no. "He needs help" were the exact words of my aggravated Indian friend as he washed his hands. Twice. Yes, the customer in question really does give you that much of a skeevy feeling. Last weekend, he told me he needed 'acid reflux' medicine. Unsatisfied with me telling him the location, he insisted I had to go get it for him. I got absolutely no support from Raj, who has frankly had enough of him and refuses to deal with him at all if he can help it. So I go to the stomach aisle and get the med Raj said he needed. "No, that's not it" says creepy old man. I told him to show me which one it was and I could get it off the shelf (he's in an electric scooter) for him. He says I have to get it. After pulling three separate meds off the shelf and getting a response of "Nope, that's not it", I'm pissed off. I tell him just a moment, storm back to the pharmacy and explain to Raj what is happening, and we ended up just paging the poor floor associate. I felt so bad. But she said she's used to dealing with him. Seriously, though, you miserable, ungrateful, perverted old fuck. I am NOT your personal shopper and I'm not going to spend my valuable time showcasing our entire stock of antacids for you! There are people piling into line in my department that need me to actually do something productive for them. Please, either get help or go away.

Don't get me wrong, I understand old folks sometimes get lonely and visiting with the pharmacy staff is the only human interaction they get sometimes, but there is a huge difference between a chatty senior who wants to tell you all about their diabetic cat and THIS GUY, who just wants a personal female shopper. I hated him at Winn Dixie and I hate him now.

The mouths of babes

And now, the opposite end of the spectrum: Screaming children. Being childfree, I am constantly fighting against the assumption that I must hate children. I really don't, they're just not for me. At all. What I do hate, however, is the sound of a child's unrestrained caterwauling. There are a few exceptions in which I'll somewhat pardon this; a child might have an earache (been there, NO fun at all, little person. I understand), an infected tooth, or some other ailment, in which case we're more understanding about the noise and we all put in the effort to get that Rx out super-fast for everyone's benefit. But if you are shopping, or waiting, or eating at a restaurant, there is NO reason little Baby Junior Sonofabitch (Thank you, Peter Griffin!) is sitting there imitating a Ringwraith. We had one such angel doing that today, just a little in front of the Drop-Off window while Mommy stared blankly at the first aid aisle (Band-Aids are conFUSING!). I slipped out for the restroom, and on my way past the window, Strawberry snaps at me.

"Shiny. Psst, SHINY!"


"Will. You. Please. SMACK. That kid!"

This coming from someone who is a parent herself and whose favorite topic is her kids. I told her I'd do better, and push the shopping cart it was in halfway across the store. Her smile was gleeful and evil. Mine probably was, too. I didn't push the kid across the store, I rather like staying out of jail. It makes me feel like a superior person to all my friends on felony probation. *cough* But I bet if I DID push her across the store, she would have stopped squalling. At least for a few seconds. FYI, when I went halfway up the front of the store, into the bathroom, and into the stall, I could still hear this little shit wailing.

Impatience McPissy

Look, it's the first of the month. We're gonna be busy. When I checked around 4:30 this afternoon, we had already sold over 300 scripts. I don't know how many had been filled, only that the "Day 1" section of the bins wasn't filling as fast as normal, because people were picking up things as soon as they were finished. If I tell you I will keep an eye on your order, I really fucking mean it. Do not stare at me like an animal in a cage at the zoo. Do not look at your watch or phone and huff & puff. And most of all, do NOT keep getting back in line so that you are behind every third customer. Scratch that. Most of all, do not STAY in the damn line like you are waiting, making other people think that you are next and that I'm an unschooled dipshit for calling them up instead of you. Do not park your grocery cart in the line while you sit on the bench, either. While we're at it, do NOT pass Go. Do NOT collect $200!

"Is mine done yet? They told me it would be done in ten minutes, it's been 35 minutes. This is SOME BULL SHIT!"

Ohhh, look at you, Mr. Tough guy, saying big, grown up ugly-words. Pardon my bristling. "This is bullshit" is, in my experience, used by complete and total douchebags and is the Sucky Customer equivalent of "Thatz so gay!" or "FIRST!!!!"

Also, if I tell you at 11AM that your stuff will be done in 20 minutes, and you come back at 11:13 wanting to know why it's not done yet, fuck you. Today, as my customer was signing for an Rx containing Schedule II narcotics, I hear her mutter "You have got to be freaking kidding me." Not because she was having to sign for the script and then sign some more for the Sudafed she was purchasing, but because the customers at the next register were yelling and moaning about having to wait an hour. "I've been waiting six!" she says. I'm not sure how true that statement was, but being as she was getting a CII drug, those can be a hassle, and she might have been counting back from the time she was at the Dr to the time she actually had the meds in hand. Either way, when she picked up was the first time I'd seen or heard her all day, meaning she didn't piss and whine about it. She's a winner in my book, both for being polite AND for being disgusted with the person making a scene.


I hate selling pseudoephedrine products. Most of us do. We see a huge lot of them come in the order and groan. There's a limit to how much you can buy, and you have to present ID and everything, it's a pain in the ass. However, being cold,flu, and allergy season, The Cranky Pharmacist™ sees fit to make sure shittons of it is ordered so we can have some for the 'legitimate' patients who really do need it. I've sold a lot of the stuff to honest people. However, like cockroaches, the seedy people also seem to somehow know when I've gotten a shipment. I don't know how. Last year, we had a month or two long spell where we had NO pseudoephedrine products whatsoever. It was glorious. And the meth-heads left me alone. Now that they're back, so are the hordes of smelly, dirty, scabby, trembling people dressed way too warmly for 70 degrees slouching up to my counter asking for the stuff. What infuriates me is when the system denies the sale and they act all innocent, saying they haven't bought any in 6 months. Nice try, shithead. It's late afternoon rush, there are 7 people in line, and you've just wasted 5 minutes trying to buy something you KNEW you couldn't. You know what? There are too many people in the world. You spend your life cooking drugs and getting people addicted to them so you can make money. Do us all a favor and just blow yourself up. Really.


"Do you have any questions for the pharmacist today?"

*Customer glances up, sees Raj, wrinkles face* "No, we don't like talking to him".

*twitch* Fuck you. Fuck you very much, and the horse you rode in on. A simple "No" would have been sufficient.

Also, any answering of this question that is a variant of "Yeah, is he gunna pay for my stuff? Ah-h'yuck!" or "Yeah, ask him why it's so expensive!" makes me a little stabby. I've heard it so many times, and it was never funny to begin with. There have been a few occasions where I have seen one of my pharmacists use money from their own pocket to help a patient out, but these instances are few and far between. Really, if they paid for everyone's medicine, they'd be shit broke in no time, fancy salary or not. "Is he paying for my stuff" is right up there with "If it doesn't scan, that means it's free!" on my annoyance scale.

Don't leave wadded up gum wrappers, receipts, or various rubbish on our counters. We have a trash can and we'll happily dispose of this stuff if you only ask us.

How to fail at every possible level:

See two cash registers. One has a person (ta-da, ME!) standing behind it. The other has no cashier. It also has not one, but TWO signs posted on it. They both say "LANE CLOSED" in huge capital letters.

Pick the second register to stand at. Go back outside to ask someone if it's ok to spend $25 on insulin. Come back in.

Stand at the closed register again.

See me waiting on people who are coming to the correct area. Still insist on going to the one with the closed signs. There is no cashier there! Your almighty presence is not going to make everyone in the back of the pharmacy drop what they're doing to wait on your royal rear. Saying "But there was a long liiiiiine" doesn't make anyone feel bad for you. It makes us think you're stupid. And entitled. Standing at the empty register because you know that one of the people running round in the back is, in fact, a cashier won't work either. Shorty and I generally work out that one of us is in charge of watching the counter while the other puts the order away and will only stop working the order if the line gets too long. Again, in the back = NOT WORKING THE FUCKING COUNTER! So stop following us both around with your eyes, hoping we'll come rescue you.

It's not OK to smell like pee. Ever. Hear me? This is not acceptable. I can accept if you are poor. However, most people have or have access to running water. Even if you have no soap, for Eru's sake at least hop in there and rinse off. Remember to rinse your Special Places too, just like Mom taught us all. Also, your hands are covered with blood and dirt. This is yucky. I literally had to run to the sink and wash my hands after you left. Then grab paper towels and cleaner and disinfect the counter. And the stylus pens and debit pads. I noticed no one made their usual rush to my side of the counter and chose instead to wait for Shorty to take them. I could see relief in my customers' faces as I cleaned. Also, I had to take out the can of air freshener and spray that, because the smell of dirt and human urine hung around long after you left.

This is not cool. Not cool at all.

Phone Phunnies

Other Redhead got a call yesterday from a customer asking about the price of his medication. She told him that he could get a 30 day supply covered completely by his insurance, so it would be free to him, but the insurance wouldn't pay for a 90 day supply, so if he wanted 90, it would be a cash price of $10.

"But which one is cheaper? I just want the cheaper one."

. . . Wow. Let's see, which is cheaper, $0 or $10? Oh darn. It's too early in the morning for these kinds of math problems, boss. We're still laughing about it.

We also have a recurring caller, and for some reason poor Festus is the one who always answers. He says this guy tells him "Do you have Sudafed? Please tell me you have Sudafed. You see, I'm going to lose my job and my house and my kids if I don't get some." He called back again a week later, this time adding that his doctor told him to call us and ask about the Sudafed because again, if he doesn't get any, he will lose his house, his job, and his children.


Well, I think I've gone on long enough. Back to the Phunny Pharm tomorrow!

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