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Friday, November 16, 2012

Retail Rocks!

I love my job. Most pharmacists do. Whether we work hospital, community, mail order, managed care, or any other position, we love our jobs. When I started this page, my goal was to share my frustrations with our profession while hoping to gain understanding from the people we serve. So far, the most common negative comment I have received on here has been "If you don't like retail, just shut up and quit!". While such a well-articulated, succinct profundity cannot be ignored, it obviously highlights the fact that non-retail and non-pharmacy people just don't get it. I shall try to explain. Just this once. Here is today's post:
I am not complaining about my job. I am complaining about people. I am complaining about the whore my profession has become when dealing with people. The problems we face are a retail problem. America has evolved over the last several decades from a manufacturing economy to a retail economy. We no longer make stuff, we sell stuff. This means an increase in the number of retail outlets and worker/customer interactions every day. Combine short attention spans, laziness, the I-want-it-now mentality, and entitlement with all of this and there will be issues. As I have stated several times (go back and reread them all before judging), and many people have stated in my defense, there is not a single person working a retail job in this country who deserves to be treated the way many of us are. This is especially true of the profession of pharmacy. Got that? It is a profession! Are you listening corporate pharmacy leaders?
Simply saying "quit retail" or "find another line of work" is not only unintelligent, but sophomoric. A person works in a sewage treatment plant. It smells awful. You tell him to quit, right? Based on this line of thinking, that is the correct choice, right? If he quits, two things will happen: the smell will stay and someone else will still have to do the job. His quitting does not make either thing better.
A public defender has to defend people accused of crimes. If he quits his job, does crime suddenly go away? Do we then no longer need public defenders? No. In retail, if everyone quits, the jobs would still need done and the customers who are rude, ignorant, demanding, impatient, condescending, lazy, apathetic, or angry will continue to be that way. Our society (and the retail community focused on stupid Customer Service Metrics) not only encourages (it is a tacit approval) but rewards this behaviour.  People shop in their pajamas, in sweat pants, in no pants, talk on their cell phones at the counters, text and talk during movies and otherwise indulge their me-first attitudes everywhere they can. Why? Because no one wants to get a bad customer service call. Everyone is afraid to say anything for fear. The smell cannot change. The criminals will not go away. The jobs still need to be done. But people do not have to be assholes.

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