Pharmacy, like all professions, is rife with problematic situations. While there may be a myriad of topics to discuss, the one that always provokes the most fervent reaction is the asshole customer. That arrogant, self entitled person who bleeds blue and shits ice cream. The quandary is the wheel upon which we ride; we hate them, but they pay our salary. You can yell at your tech, your manager, even your boss, but must placate these assholes. Some of us are good at dealing with these twits and the shit just rolls off. Others, not so much. We mumble under our breath, slam the phone, kick the printer and are prime candidates for a cardiac event, or at least the development of a nervous tic. So, if any of the following describes your behavior, and one day you see your pharmacist being wheeled away with his eyes all glazed over, drooling and in restraints, you know something has just shorted out, and your actions are no doubt a contributing factor. You just might be an asshole:
Do you stare with alternating gazes at your pharmacist and then your watch while tapping your foot and rolling your eyes when waiting for a prescription you called for as you were pulling into the parking lot? Pharmacists just love this behavior. It is a guaranteed way to make sure that your prescription will take longer to fill. There is a direct correlation between how you act and how long you wait. Believe it.
Do you assume that the twenty minute wait you were told about must have been meant for someone else, and that once you’ve checked out your other purchases, the twenty minutes is up and your prescription must be ready? In case you are not wearing a watch, can’t tell time or there is no clock on the wall, twenty minutes would equal approximately twelve hundred “one Mississippis”. Start counting.
Do you tap on the counter to announce your presence because you have been there for all of one second and no one has come running? This is another one of our favorite behaviors. Nothing makes us feel more appreciated than when you try to get our attention by means that wouldn’t work on your household pet.
Do you talk on your cell phone even in situations where common courtesy would dictate other behavior (even when signs are posted)? I have such signs at my pharmacy and will pay no attention to anyone who walks up to the counter on a cell phone. After a few minutes of being ignored, the person may read the sign and hurriedly hang up, or if they look at me askance, I simply point to the sign and wait.
Do you fill one prescription every six months and then bemoan any inconvenience because you are such a good customer; and, you just have three or four questions about the prescription you got filled recently at the “real” pharmacy that’s closed on Sundays? Sorry, my energy and temporal resources are limited and reserved for those people who are de facto customers.
Do you use mail order but want me to “loan” you a few tablets until your order arrives? Sorry, I don’t make loans. Ask the government. If you want medication, do what other people do, get a prescription. And no, I won’t call your insurance company for an override; they can call me. I already spend enough time on the phone for customers who deem my services to be worth something.
Do you walk up to the pharmacist while they are on the phone, ask a question and then get pissy because they just ignore you or turn around to avoid having to look at you? Or just walk up to the counter and simply start talking regardless of what the pharmacist is doing? These are no brainers. Any one who exhibits either or both of these behaviors knows they’re an asshole and should expect whatever response they get.
Do you start a phone conversation with, “Who’s this?” You know who you called. I answered the phone using the word pharmacy in my greeting. That should narrow it down for you. This is fucking rude, and as such you shouldn’t be surprised when I reply with, “Who’s this?”
Do you come up to the pharmacy counter and ask me to ring up your assorted sundries because there are long lines at the checkout registers and you don’t want to wait?…….. Sorry, I had to stop laughing. I’ll just bet you are a late merger on the highway and borrow your parent’s handicap tag when you go to the mall, as well.
Do you walk up to the counter, say excuse me and then just start talking? If you had to say excuse me, that means you were interrupting something in the first place. It’s very hard to miss you when you’re standing only three feet away, so try having more patience than a two year old. If you wait until I’ve finished what I’m doing, I’ll probably say something odd like, “Can I help you?”
Do you try to control your children by telling them that the pharmacist will get angry and give them bad medicine if they don’t quiet down? First, I think you need psychiatric help, and then you should have a conversation with your doctor about getting neutered. You are obviously not cut out for the job of parenting.
Do you ask a question, and then totally ignore the answer as if it were never spoken? There are many of these, but the following is the most common:
(Me) “Hello, this is the pharmacy. May I help you?”
(Asshole) “Are you real busy right now?”
(Me) “Yes, as a matter of fact I am.”
(Asshole) “Good, I just have a couple of questions for you.”
Do you just give your first name to identify yourself when you call the pharmacy? “Hi, this is Bob. Can I get my blood pressure pills filled? You know the ones we talked about last week?” OK, this might not make the asshole category, but it sure as hell is annoying. This is the same person who, when you answer the phone, doesn’t ever say hello. Instead, they just rattle of a prescription number like it’s some code they have to give in order to initiate the conversation.
We all know that this list is not even close to being exhaustive, but this is all I could muster without kicking something. Just thinking of these people quickens my pulse and makes my head hurt. I wish it just made me laugh, but I really hate assholes. Please add more examples to this list. It doesn’t matter the setting. An asshole in my pharmacy is an asshole at McDonalds. I will eventually combine all that I get and post them together. It will make for interesting reading.