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Monday, January 28, 2019

More "Makes My Head Hurt" Conversations. . .

I used to shake my head in disbelief, but that apparently broke my neck. Now I just nod like a collection of bobbleheads in an earthquake.

Why? Why do people do this?

CP: How may I help you?
Highly Usual Human: I have a question.
CP: I tremble with anticipation.
HUH: "I am taking this medication (insert any name here) , are you familiar with it? Do you know what it is? Have you heard of it?"
CP: Hmmm. Nope. You say it's a medication? A prescription?
HUH: Yes.
CP: Phunny. (turns around and motions at the shelves) We have a lot of drugs here.
HUH: Um.
CP: You would think that in order to be able to dispense them all, someone would mandate that there be a person placed in charge with at least a passing knowledge of the inventory behind her.
HUH: Um.
CP: Yes. I understand your comment was semi-rhetorical and exited your mouth like gas from a baby. However, it's like taking your new vehicle to an auto body shop to get the oil changed and when they ask what type of car it is, you saying "a Ford F-150, ever heard of it?".

Friday, January 25, 2019

Time. . . Is Not On Your Side

CP: Thank you for dropping off at CP's Palace of Pill Packaging today.
Can Hardly Remember Our New On-time System: Happy to be here.
CP: How may I not meet your demands today?
CHRONOS: I should like to have these filled.
CP: And I should like to fill them. I live to fill prescriptions as chickens live to be eaten.
CHRONOS: You are a strange little being. When may I return?
CP: I shall have these ready for retrieval at 2:11pm today.
CHRONOS: 2:11?
CP: Yes. As it is now only 10:39, I'd say that is quite fair for 3 prescriptions and a transfer.
CHRONOS: Peachy. I shall see you then.
CP: At 2:11. And not a minute before.

(12:45pm, phone rings; many minutes before 2:11pm)
CHRONOS: Are my prescriptions ready yet?
CP: What time is it?
CHRONOS: 12:45pm.
CP: Is that before or after the time I gave you?
CHRONOS: Before.
CP: Do you think I gave you a time for a reason?
CHRONOS: Yeah. But I wanted to see if they were ready.
CP: When are you having dinner tonight?
CHRONOS: Probably 6:00.
CP: If your kids and family and I all sat down at the table at 4:45, would we be able to start digging in then? Or would we have to wait until 6:00?
CHRONOS: You'd have to wait. I'm making chicken and dumplings in my Instant Pot and it won't be ready until 6:00. That's how I planned it.
CP: I see. I see. So now I'm going to starve because you can't tell time?
CHRONOS: What? No. I just. I was hoping it'd be done and you just gave me a rather random time.
CP: I plan my day to the minute. Literally. That's how my queue works. Come back when the big hand is on the 2 and the little hand is on the 11 (just past the 2; they should be overlapping.)
CHRONOS: People really enjoy these stories?
CP: Yes. Mostly because they can relate, but also because they know these conversations happen all day every day.
CHRONOS: I'll be back.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Ouch. My Head

CP: Welcome to CP's Pill Palace. I shall be with you forthwith.
Doesn't Understand My Business: Thank you.
CP: (sees paper Rx in her hand as she approacheth pick up) And are you dropping off today?
DUMB: "No. I need to get it filled. She needs it tonight."
CP: (rolls eyes under lids, inhales slowly and deeply) Um. . .
DUMB: She's in the car.
CP: (exhales, pinches bridge of nose) Um. . . I have to ask. What do you think "drop off" means? This response of "No. I need to get if filled" is a veritable non sequitur. It does not follow. When you take your kids to school in the morning and enter the "drop off" lane, do you not expect to get them back later? Do you tell the crossing guard "I need them back tonight. They have to go to bed"?
DUMB: Well, no.
CP: In order to have a prescription filled, you must drop it off to me. You must first place the order for the pizza before picking it up.
DUMB: But I need it.
CP: And I need Excedrin but I'm going to have to wait for it. Like you. For this prescription. It is not in my interest to take prescriptions from patients only to not give them back to you. That would be a donation, as when you "drop off" to Goodwill or the local food bank. I'm like a wizard. I take something in one form and transform it into something else. But magic takes time. So you shall have to wait for it.
DUMB: How long?
CP: Hopefully not so long that you "drop off" in the waiting area.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Keeping It (Too) Real

Pt: How long until I can pick it up?
CP: About an hour should be good. 
Pt: An hour? 
CP: Si. 
Pt: Can you do it sooner? 
CP: If I could, I wouldn't have said an hour.

CP: When do you want to come in for it?
Pt: Can I come in before you close?
CP: Only if you want to pick up your medication.
CP: Yes, since, after we close we cannot help you. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

You Have The Money

As business persons, we are always taught the easiest expenses to control are payroll.
What's the first thing new managers always cut when they take over a store/district/region/company?
But what if your business is growing?
What if you ask more of your team than they care capable of doing?
What then?
Keep cutting hours.
Why? Because you never learned how to manage other sectors of your business and you only learned that payroll is the easiest to cut. At some point, all of your employees will be gone and you'll be left wondering who is going to do the work.
But I digress. Here is my point for the day.

CVS and Walgreens each operate approximately 10,000 pharmacies.
They are typically the lowest on the industry customer satisfaction surveys.
Their wait times are horrible.
Their phone wait times are reprehensible.
They keep cutting hours and asking their staff to do more.
The average preschooler could figure out how to fix this.

Here's my thinking:
IF each of these above-mentioned chains hired ONE technician, for 40 hours per week, for EACH of their stores, at a cost of $500-$600/week ($12.50-$15.00/hr) for 52 weeks per year, guess how much it would cost the companies?
ONE Full-Time Tech per store would cost the company $260 TO $300 MILION per year.
Holy shit! That's a lot of money.
(Now we all know that the benefits paid to these employees will double that number, right? I'm getting there.)

Wait. What's that?

CVS had a revenue of >$97 BILLION in 2017 (including specialty)?
Walgreens had a revenue > $64 BILLION in 2017?
So you're trying to tell me that, for a fraction of those revenues, (~1%) they could reinvest in actual help, shorten their wait times, improve their customer service, fill more prescriptions (and correctly), administer more shots, and allow their pharmacists to do more pharmacist tasks?
Are they really terrible at budgeting?
Are they selfish and want the money for their bonuses?

Seriously. Think about those numbers. Just reinvesting <2% of their revenue could pay for 2 FT techs at EVERY store in the company. What would the return on the investment be?
(1% of $64B = $640M)
How about they hire ONE FT Tech and give the others raises?

When we are already stretched thin and errors are the worst thing that could happen, what does it say about a company that doesn't want to invest a simple 1% of its revenues in you?
In your health?
In your sanity?
In your wellbeing?
In its OWN health and wellbeing?

As people have asked me, and I have asked myself, why, during the busiest time of the year (first of the month, first of the year, insurance changes, the dead of pharmacy winter), are they cutting hours?

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Things That Make You Go Hmmm. . .

ME: Hey, CP.
CP: What now?
ME: Here's one for ya.
CP: Oh dear. Have you been talking to Myself again?
ME: Yes. But you'll like this one.
MYSELF: Statin medications.
CP: Ok. That's a statement.
MYSELF: No. It's today's topic.
ME: Statins.
CP: Ok. Let's see where this goes.
MYSELF: Nystatin. . . is not a statin. It will not help your cholesterol. However, it's great for funk in the junk or a fungal of the jungle.
CP: True. Disturbingly put, but true nonetheless.
ME: But people know how to say it. NIE-Stat-in
MYSELF: Statin. Say it. "stat-in". Simple. New Yorkers may spell the Island "Staten" but it's similarly pronounced.
CP: Stat-in.
ME: Good. Here's where we know it gets phunny.
MYSELF: Now add it as a suffix to Atorva- or Simva- or Prava- and what happens?
CP: The "-at-" part disappears.
ME: Right?! They become "At-or-Vast-in", "Sim-Vast-in", and "Pra-Vast-in".
MYSELF: These are all -STATIN drugs. It's in the name: "STAT-IN" Hence, the pronunciation should include "STAT-IN". If you're not saying the name "STAT-IN", you're doing it wrong.
ME: Seriously. That's like taking the names Cara and Lynn, smashing them together to form CaraLynn and pronouncing it Karyn.
CP: Maybe they British-ify it?
ME: As in?
CP: Leicester. It's not "Lie-Chester". It's "Lester". Home of the Foxes.
MYSELF: What about Massachusetts?
ME: Yeah. Ever planned a trip to "Wor-Chester", spelled "Worcester"?
CP: Yes. And ended up in Wooster?
CP: You two really need to get out more.
ME: Well, you know what Sly and his Stone Family say.
CP: No.
MYSELF: I want to thank you falettinme (talk to) mice elf agin.
CP: Go away.
ME: You're kinda stuck with us.

Monday, January 14, 2019

I Want The Best, But. . .

CP: Welcome to the jungle, we've got phun and games.
Allergy Symptom Sufferer: I'm looking for something for my symptoms.
CP: We got everything you want honey, we know the names.
ASS: What can I take? I've tried everything.
CP: We are the people that can find whatever you may need.
ASS: You want me to try this?
CP: If you got the money, honey we got your disease.
ASS: No way. That's too expensive.
CP: So you're saying you're cheap?
ASS: NO! I already tried everything and nothing worked. I want the best!
CP: You can't handle the best. You should have come to me first. It would have saved you a lot of money and suffering. This is what you want.
ASS: Well, I would do anything, but I won't do that.
CP: Would you run right into hell and back?
ASS: If feels like I already have by coming here to talk to you.
CP: I'd never lie to you and that's a fact.
ASS: What do I need to do?
CP: It depends.
ASS: On what?
CP: Do you want to get better? Or do you want to complain? Because your symptoms are going to last another couple weeks and I just can't devote that much time to this conversation. I'm all out of lyrical references for the day.
ASS: I wish to get better.
CP: Then buy this. Phor phuture reference, please consult me before making any OTC purchases. You spent a lot of money on "names you know" that do not contain ingredients to alleviate your symptoms. You are much better off purchasing single-ingredient products and adding and subtracting them as symptoms come and go than you are buying a shotgun product that may or may not have what you need. You also run the risk of doubling up by mixing multiple-ingredient products.
ASS: So this is what I want?
CP: No. It's what you need. Next time, I'll tell you what you want, what you really really want.
ASS: You'll tell me what I want, what I really really want?
CP: I'll tell you what you want, what you really really want.