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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Working with the Public

When did it become acceptable for those working with the public to just have to take it? Was it corporations deciding to focus on "customer service metrics"? Why is it that with nearly every post I write lamenting the state of retail, people comment that that's how retail is supposed to be?
I say that's bullshit. Why do we allow EVERY retail worker to be treated like crap? Is it just because "it's the public"? Since when is that an excuse to act like an intolerable git? I never walk into a retail outlet and say "today I'm going to throw a tantrum and hold my breath and swear at and belittle the clerks until I get my way". Never! But we as Americans willingly accept this as "acceptable public behaviour". Why?
I hate when people throw "whatever happened to 'the customer is always right?'" in my face as if that's some sort of argument ender. There are two flaws with that statement. First, you are not a customer, you are a patient. Second, you are not leaving with a product, you are leaving with your health. Hardly quantifiable.
People talk about how bad things would be if, one morning, some group decided to stop working. Could you imagine a day with no retail outlet open? We are no longer a manufacturing country. We are a retail country. We sell stuff. Lots of it. Let's empower everyone to fight back. Let's all walk out one day.

With National Pharmacist Month upon us in October, people have been asking me to start a campaign to get pharmacists organized in a Walk Out Day. Great idea...expect we pharmacists are all talk and no action.
Many would agree to do it, but then chicken out at the last second when they hear whispers that all who participate would be terminated for "job abandonment".
Many young pharmacists have too much debt to walk away.
Many pharmacists would say "it's not my fight. I have my patients to take care of and I have to put their needs first."
The problem is that THESE are exactly the pharmacists who need to join us. Wherever there is someone else who will "just do it", we have no collective voice. We have no unity. This is precisely why a union will not work. This is why a day of work boycotting will not accomplish anything other than job creation for new grads.
Another issue that surfaced recently was from a technician who was followed to her car by a patient whose CII was not fillable. It had been postdated by 2 days. The DEA is clear that you canNOT change the date of issuance of a CII prescription. Instead of the pharmacist making this clear to the patient, ambiguity ensued as he offered to call the physician, whose office had just closed. WE can NOT change the date. Why offer? Because we are trying to do the right thing? How about the legal thing instead? Sending this patient on his way would not have endangered his technician. WE are making OUR lives harder.


  1. I agree! At my store, we had to file formal complaints against certain patients for creating a hostile work environment. Management probably didn't take them seriously because the "customer is always right” no matter how poorly they behave! I think people should be refused service until they can behave properly. Those patients should beg US to take their business, not the other way around. My boss doesn’t agree but many people are simply not worth the trouble they always create…

  2. And I’m obviously not talking about people with any medical issues or disabilities. We are infinitely patient with people who are sick or not feeling well. I’m taking about people who try to make everyone else miserable out of spite. There should be a zero tolerance policy for people who choose to act like that…

  3. If McDonalds has the right to refuse service to an a-hole ordering a cheeseburger, a pharmacist should have the right to refuse to fill for problem patients!