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Why us retail folk are hard core.

·3474 words·17 mins

Somedays I stand there at work and wonder why I went to college. Why did I spend 7 years of my life learning all there is about drugs to have some crackhead bitch at me about an early vicodin refill or being the narcotic police. Why do I need to cover the ass of some mail-order douche who’s medication got lost and I’m taking the heat for something thats 100% not my fault nor problem?
Its because pharmacists who work retail are bad-asses.
I dont care if you work for a chain or independent. Retail Pharmacists need to plop their gigantic pharmacy testicles on the counter and say “suck it, we rule”. Elitist? You’re damn fucking right we are, and here is the reasons.

  • We don’t have the luxury of getting our hands on a patients chart for the latest labs. We need to piece together whats going on with little/no information.
    • We dont have the luxury of having coffee with the doctors, or being able to walk out of a patients room after talking with them.
      • We dont have the luxury of sitting behind a locked door just filling orders as they come in via the fax.
        • We get yelled at, swore to, blamed for everything. We somehow take the blame for stuff that nurses/children/insurance/hospital/doctors/anyone does.
          • We are the front line of medicine. You hospital/closed door type may think you get idiots and problem patients, but ask any retail folk worth his salt and your worst patient is our best one.
            • We get shown boobs, rashes, wounds, etc. We are pseudo street-doctors, the triage before the ER.
              • We are insurance salesmen, computer techs, printer repair people, floor sweepers, coffee makers and everything else.
                • We have to stand there and keep a straight face when someone yells in the store that their penis doesnt work anymore and needs Cialis. Or they have an itchy cooter and needs some cream to ‘shove’ up there.
                  When you say the word “pharmacist” people think of us. That is why our testicles are the largest of them all.

Comments #

Comment by Pete on 2007-11-30 13:36:00 -0800 #

I’m printing that out and sticking it up on the wall.
And I’ll hand it out to the next person that says to me “oh, but you’ve just got to put a label on a bottle….”

Comment by Jason on 2007-11-30 14:02:52 -0800 #

What about the technicians who are the true cannon fodder when it comes to our insane patients? I say this as an experienced tech. We get a lot of the crap tossed on us.

Comment by Prophetess of Doom on 2007-11-30 14:12:44 -0800 #

I wish you were my Pharm. Or that my Pharm was more like you. You have a good, strong backbone. I can’t stand when he gets all mushy for people crying at the counter for Vicodin or whatever. Just had a Aspirin/Codeine #4 Addict come in after his house burned down, (think maybe it was burnt because he snarfs Asp/Cod#4 like it was Easter Candy, passed out and burnt his house?)… crying and saying “just tide me over till Wednesday, it’s an emergency!” Doctor said okay but seriously… next week his donkey will die or something. I told my Pharm about him the first day he came in. He is well known in the town I used to work in. Well known!! God, just shoot me.

Comment by RJS on 2007-11-30 14:15:10 -0800 #

Fuckin’ right.

Comment by hardy creech on 2007-11-30 14:49:12 -0800 #

amen brother!!
sometimes i think you’ve got a camera and looking in on my store.

Comment by DrRx on 2007-11-30 15:34:19 -0800 #

You may not have the ‘luxuries’ of a hospital pharmacist or be able to ‘lock yourself in hole’, but you also get paid a HELL of lot more (than staff pharmacists at a hospital anyway….I don’t quite fall into that catagory though)….oh, and you also don’t have to put up with the State coming into your facility unannounced or a JCAHO survey (also unannounced).
With a crackhead, you can always tell them to ‘F-off’, but doesn’t work so well with the State health inspectors…. Course, I’ll give you that, it’s not likely that the State is going to come at you with a knife after closing either (guess you got me there)…. 😉
And what are you complaining about when the chicks are showing you their breasts?! Never forget when that happened to me in an independant while I was in pharmacy school…. Lady about a week after a boop-job… Showing me her breasts because she had a slight inflammation below the left breast in the intertrigenous area…. NICE….had to maintain a straight face though…was late-night and she was wearing leather…. oh but I wax poetic…

Comment by Martin S. on 2007-11-30 15:41:17 -0800 #


Comment by Sara on 2007-11-30 16:25:47 -0800 #

No one has ever shown me their boobs.. oh wait, that old tan lady.. but it was only cleavage.

Comment by Pharm Gal on 2007-11-30 18:53:58 -0800 #

Daaaaamn hilarious . . . I think they should somehow incorporate some of that into one of those Budweiser commercials. . . “and here’s to you, retail pharmacist, with the biggest testicles of them all.”

Comment by WedgeTalon on 2007-11-30 20:07:19 -0800 #


Comment by Rocky on 2007-12-01 01:36:40 -0800 #

Fuck yea!!!! I really wish I could have interned for you TAP. As a new grad working at the busiest pharmacy in my county, which happens to be in a rich snooty area, the patient population are so dam demanding and all act as if they’re God. I’m left to fend for myself here as the new graveyard pharmacist.

Comment by JP on 2007-12-01 09:43:12 -0800 #

Quote from DrRx:
“oh, and you also don’t have to put up with the State coming into your facility unannounced or a JCAHO survey (also unannounced).”
This is not true. The state Board of Pharmacy can come into a retail pharmacy unannounced anytime and ask for tons of ridiculous things (like hard copies from 3 years ago, signatures from 5 years ago and they want them NOW). Its happened to me, and wasnt fun. JCAHO may not be interested in a retail pharmacy, but we get the the big eagles that like to come by often enough to make my ass pucker up (read: district manager, corporate honcho etc).
I consider our higher pay hazard pay. We also dont get shift differential (for afternoon shifts) or overtime. Or at least I am booted out the door before the magic 40.25 hours hits no matter the circumstance, I think its the same with most small companies.

Comment by rph3664 on 2007-12-01 10:13:40 -0800 #

Narcotics police? Actually, they’re right about that.
As for hospital vs. retail, I left retail 5 years ago and I’m earning $40,000 a year more at the hospital than I did in retail.

Comment by Nicole on 2007-12-01 12:11:15 -0800 #

I swear to God you might be one of the pharmacists I work with! Ha ha… no not really but you sound just like him. This is the very reason I think I’m going to do retail when I graduate in 4 years… I wanna be bad ass!! Ha ha!

Comment by Maveth on 2007-12-01 15:32:52 -0800 #

I’m a huge fan of yours, you helped me considerably in learning how to talk to retail pharmacists the right way (very politely and begging for their immediate forgiveness). I am endlessly sympathtic to your side because I have first hand knowledge of how often you guys get screwed over.
I am not a pharmacist, but I formerly worked for one of your hated mail order rx companies as a “Patient Care Advocate”. Let me tell you an interesting bit of my experience there. When I say formerly, I mean they terminated my employment after I missed work for a week. I missed work because I slipped on wet concrete during a holiday weekend and broke my hand and some of my fingers. I had a doctor’s note excusing me for the time I missed, but this was apparently not valid. That’s the reason they fired me that they put on paper.
The real reason I believe they fired me is because I was challenging an order from my direct supervisor. According to policy, when a doctor writes a rx wrong and it gets filled, the patient can recieve a refund and return materials if the doctor’s office calls and states the rx was filled incorrectly due to the doctor’s error. I had been advising patients about this policy for over a year, when my recently appointed supervisor advised me not to tell patients to have their doctors call in, indicating it came from one of the higher ups. I felt this was incorrect because if we did not advise them, they’d be incorrectly held responsible for the charges of the incorrect medications and would recieve a rx they weren’t supposed to use, at a considerable health risk if say, they recieved a controlled med or the wrong insulin. This is one reason retail pharmacies get a lot of angry people requesting “tide over” meds. So I took this information to the quality department, and was advised by three seperate members of that department that I was following procedure correctly and to continue to do so. This suceeded in making me very relieved and my supervisor extremely hostile. I was written up for a “failure of service” when I was continuing to follow policy and when I contested it, no one from quality, the supervisor level, or the management team would do anything to help. I was basically told they were unable to reverse the service failure report and subsequently lost a raise. I wrote out a formal complaint. This was one month before termination.
At the time of my termination, they said it was general policy to terminate employees who do not appear as scheduled, and my doctor’s note was conviniently ignored. Now I can’t be sure that this is what caused my termination, but missing one week of work after working there for two years has never gotten anyone fired, with or without a note, in the past, especially since their employee turnover is so horrible that they are constantly hiring. Termination is optional and subject to the descision of the manager based on the situation. He failed to even consider the situation. I think they were wary of me for bringing up one of their company’s flawed practices. That’s only one such practice I’ve noticed that purposly fails to serve the patients in favor of the company’s financial gain. While my former employer isn’t the only one who might employ these tactics, they don’t try to fix them, which to me incriminates them far worse. Just thought you’d find that bit of ammo useful.

Comment by crankyprof on 2007-12-02 06:59:34 -0800 #

Retail Pharmacists need to plop their gigantic pharmacy testicles on the counter and say “suck it, we rule”.Preach ON.
I wish you were my pharmacist.

Comment by 35 years till I retire, on 2007-12-02 11:54:48 -0800 #

Not in context with your post but had to tell about a Dr. run in I had last week. Pt brings in script for Rondec DM from urgent care. We didn’t have the doctor’s info nor did he print or stamp his name on the rx….so because I have too much time on my hands…I called the urgent care and asked for the doctor who saw pt x. After waiting on hold for 4 minutes an older non-english speaking Dr. gets on the phone and tells me his name. I then asked for his DEA and all hell broke loose. He refused to tell me his DEA number becasue the medicine wasn’t a control. When I calmly explained that I needed the number to bill the insurance, he told me that was the patients problem and that he hated insurance companies. I told him he could call me back so he would know I was who I claimed to be and that his number, along with the 200,000 other doctors in our database would be safe. He said no. I am not easy to piss off but he sent me over the edge. I asked him if he intended to be the leader of a one man crusade to change how ins companies bill and if he knew how much he was screwing his patients along the way. The urgent care was a corporately owned facility and I told him I was going to tell the “cash” paying patient to complain to his boss and file a complaint against him. He responded that he was going to turn me into my boss for harassing him. I called him a pompous moron and hung up the phone.
As we rphs always do…I took care of the pt. and charged them 5$ but I made less money b/c of that a**.

Comment by slavemaiden on 2007-12-02 16:55:44 -0800 #

I’m a tech and I get just as much crap as pharmacists. I’ve had women show me their boobs and demand that I diagnose them because they didn’t want to show the pharmacist because he was a man and since I was female, then of course I must know all about itchy boob issues. My life has also been threatened a few times, mostly because the twenty-one year old pregnant with her third child didn’t show up at her appointment at the welfare office and lost her medical coverage. Of course it’s my fault that it was terminated! At least you’re a guy and don’t have men dropping of prescriptions for 1 gram of Cipro and Zithromax and a 7 day course of Doxycycline asking for your phone number. Ooh, yeah, they know I want a piece of their burning love. I could go on and on. I miss long term care rx…

Comment by mainburner on 2007-12-03 05:00:20 -0800 #

I have a 2-sided sign I keep behind the counter. On one side it says “Attention Customers, Unless you want to sustain a serious eye injury when I jab a pen in your eye, please refrain from making comments about your signature or the signature capture device. No one cares. Quietly pay me and leave.” When I flip it over it says: “I don’t know why your copay went up or why your idiot insurance company won’t cover your medication. Just pay me what you owe me before I bash your fucking head in with this 6-iron. Thank You.” Someday I’ll use it…

Comment by Alice on 2007-12-09 14:37:24 -0800 #

I am a Consultation nurse in a major Hospital. Basically as an RN, I have non stop phone calls from people in our Service Area belly aching about not ONLY ” I am running out of my Morphine” , or My baby has been constipated for 2 weeks, My son had a head trauma 5 days agoo and now doesn’t remember things, I could go on and on but you get the picture. The thing that burns me up is that ever-fear of a lawsuit. Even though People have to wait almost 30 min at times, with the phone saying “Hang up and call 911 if you have an Emergency” OR “go to the closest ER!”…they will still wait because “I just want a second F’ing opinion. I want to scream at them, ” I raised 3 sons, no close family, NEVER had a nurse line luxury” but I cannot. I made decisions on “common sense”. What has happened to people. Are they really as stupid as they seem??? And if one more teenager calls to say “my administration come on, then went off and come on again, what does that mean? I will put down my head phones and walk out.
We have coddled our society and I think have fullfiled what others call us: The UGLY American!!

Comment by elway paul on 2007-12-26 02:52:04 -0800 #


Comment by elway paul on 2007-12-26 03:32:00 -0800 #


Comment by Pharmsoldier on 2008-02-14 15:55:49 -0800 #

Just discovered this blog. I work for Uncle Sam these days, but have done retail, hospital, and more. I totally agree with you. I get so tired of some of my hospital colleagues who love to be called “Doctor”, and insist on a whole can of alphabet soup after their name. What a bunch of bullshit. We are all pharmacists no matter where we work and we should stick together. No doubt retail is the toughest. I wish all the pharmaocoflatulence spouting “clincal pharmacists” would get over themselves and get their jobs done instead of worrying about their image and “advancing the profession”. People just want safe/effective meds and a little advice now and then. That’s what we do. Pharmacy is a good job, but it’s just that – a job so get to work you credential flouting douchebags!

Comment by mimi on 2009-10-26 11:25:43 -0700 #

I didn’t realize that you guys were only filling prescriptions for narcotics. Do you not fill anything else, do you not have issues with anything else? I didn’t realize that pain meds and what ever “Soma” is were so highly prescribed but I am not in the medical feild either. Your blog is interesting though. Just had no idea!

Comment by Tom on 2011-07-21 01:53:22 -0700 #

You’re right. Life sucks. Especially pharmacy life. But life is too short to get all upset about all the asswipes and drug addicts that come to the store. I say give them what they want and get them the hell out of my store. As long as you are not breaking any laws then turn the other cheek. I take alot of deep breaths and meditate twice a day. Then I leave it at the store and go home to my real life.
Nobody knows half the shit we do or put up with. When I catch doctor mistakes, I don’t tell the patients. I just save their lives and move on. The next person pulls up in the drive thru lane at 230am and expects his er rx to be ready in 5 minutes. How many times have I heard, “Well, what takes so long. All you have to do is slap a label on the tube/bottle.”
And when is the insurance industry going to pull their heads out of their assholes and produce an universally designed card that is the same everywhere and has all the pharmacy information on it? I especially like insurance cards that are missing key information ( ie wrong id or no group number.)
I also enjoy customers that show up 5 minutes before closing with 10 prescriptions that were written a week ago and they expect them tonight before we leave. And customers on insurance that won’t pay $5 for their kid’s antibiotic but are buying a carton of cigarettes and a 12 pack of beer.
Now you have got me going. Time for some more deep breaths and 20 minutes of meditation. At least I was off today. Too bad about tomorrow.

Comment by Dr get fuckin real on 2011-09-27 18:41:54 -0700 #

dude. I don’t know what state you live in where the state BOP doesn’t bother showing up in retail pharmacies unannounced….but I’m guessing that you are just misinformed about what happens in a retail pharmacy because the only time you spent there was as an intern.

Comment by Jesus Gonzalez on 2012-05-13 07:54:12 -0700 #

Walgreens is the undisputed leader in the Rx world! Put that in yoor pipe and smoke it, baby!

Comment by Jesus Gonzalez on 2012-05-13 07:59:55 -0700 #

Well, I am not a doctor, but I play one on TV. And, as such, I make waaaaaay more $$ than you do in 1/10th of the time. So, start a Ringers Lactate solution, monitor vitals and transport to Rampart General stat.