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Chain Pharmacists have it SO HARD

·3448 words·17 mins

Theres some talk about how bad pharmacists that work for chains have it.  Be it under staffing to bad working conditions to a store manager that only dealings with a pharmacy is buying extra small condoms.

There is one aspect and benefit that Chain Pukes have that us Independents don’t, and I think that its something huge that they take for granted and really shut their mouths when its brought up.

Job Security

Thats right, Job Security.  You see, with an independent, we don’t have a multi-billion dollar company backing us up.  We don’t have a corporate office that we can just defer shit to.  We don’t have a guarantee that our paychecks will cash every two weeks.  When huge Medicare/Medicaid cuts happen and the reimbursement goes down to shit, we don’t have the luxury of over productive stores to help float us during the bad times.  Our bank accounts are not tied to a place where people in suits crunch numbers and fancy lawyers give us advice.  We’re out there on our fucking own doing it the old fashioned way, the “old school” way.  The way our grandfathers did it.  Our “corporate office” is the owner of the store trying to get the fucking payroll done in the back room while handling calls from doctors office so we don’t die up there in front.

You know what we get when the shit turns sour? Walking papers and a chance to search for a new job.  Thanks for fucking playing.

Furthermore (to make you all look like a larger big whiny sandy vagina), we are just as overworked as you, and we still have to deal with the same shit that you do.  Same patients who want and demand everything, same insurance companies that fuck us over (only WE have to do our OWN recon sheets and we don’t have the “power” to negotiate), and we shafted by the same expensive drugs (which is coming out of the OWNERS pocket, not a corporation pocket).  We watch reimbursements and what we order so we don’t put the business under.  We can’t hire more help not because “corporate office says that we need to hit x/day” but because we cant fucking afford another pharmacist.  Do we get to hide behind “corporate policy” or “well the corporate office says we HAVE to do this”? No.  Our “corporate office ” is usually the guy working next to you who has owned the store for 30 years and has his whole livelihood invested in not only his staff and store, but in his patients as well.

However you go to bed every night after bitching to everyone about how overworked you are knowing that your store is going to be open in the morning, while we sometimes have to wonder if our wholesaler bills will get paid, payroll will be made, and if Humana/WHP/Argus/etc will be on time with their payments.  We have to deal with the stress of not only running the pharmacy, but running a business as well; down to payroll, taxes, workman’s comp, everything.  Even buying the fucking bags that we put the drugs in with our names on them.

New graduates don’t want to deal with the shit of running a business.  They want to work in their nice chain store jobs with their stock options, vacation times, sign-on bonuses and the satisfaction of knowing that the business aspect will be taken care of someone whom they will never meet, and their paycheck will magically get direct deposited on the 1st and 15th.  On top of that they have the balls to sit there and bitch about how working for the chains is so fucking hard.  Hear that? Thats me playing the smallest violin for you.

So quit bitching.  I’m tired of it.

Comments #

Comment by wondering on 2008-03-05 12:49:11 -0800 #

where did all that come from?

Comment by FIELDKJ on 2008-03-05 12:55:01 -0800 #


Comment by PharmStudent on 2008-03-05 13:49:51 -0800 #

I would like to start off by saying that I am a huge fan. However, I found this post to be, for lack of better terms, bitchy and hypocritical. Last time I checked there was a shortage of pharmacists. If you’re so worried about job security talk to one of those big corporate companies and get yourself a nice sign on bonus, stock options, vacation time, and a guaranteed paycheck. I’m pretty sure everyone complains about their job and I think the underlying theme of your little rant here is that you just want to prove how much harder you have it as an independent. Don’t get me wrong I agree with you that your situation is more difficult, but your complaining is just as bad and annoying as all of the chain pharmacists out there. As with every whine ass out there in the world, if you don’t like it, change your situation or shut up.

Comment by IDATECH on 2008-03-05 14:18:49 -0800 #

Geesh. Do you have to deal with the threat of corporate “auditors” coming into your pharmacy to litterally pick it apart and threaten you with corrective action or termination if the smallest piece of PHI is in view of Joe Shmoe Customer, or if you have one piece of expired product laying around from the last “return cycle” waiting for the next “return cycle”, or if you have an rx in willcall that is more than 9 days old? Or if you initialled a CII invoice instead of signed it? Or if you missed a little check box in the PSE log? Do you have corporate supplying you with an ever changing list of demands of things you must do, like kissing every last customers ass, showing (not telling) them where the cheese is, greeting them with a friendly “hello” in less than 2 minutes and offering a friendly “parting comment”(enjoy your cheese!) after they have wasted your time? Do you have to worry about a “mystery shopper” grading your ass-kissing only to say that you sucked and then, maybe, have to write up a game plan on how you are not going to mess up again? Do you offer gift cards for new for transferred rx’s or just because they got a flu shot? Do you have little cards in front of your pharmacy inviting customers to complain about you by filling it out and sending it to corporate postage paid? Are you expected to meet these demands and continue to fill an ever growing list of customers rxs and still provide “superior service”? (like showing where the cheese is). I tell you what, I’m sure that independant sucks in its own way, but don’t pretend that chain pharmacys have it easy. I’m only a tech, but I feel the result of an over pressured, over-worked, stressed out unappreciated pharmacist every day and let me tell you, its no bed of roses. Geesh. We techs do our best to releave that pressure, but there’s only so much you can do when corporate is breathing down your back! There is not much “job security” knowing that you could be fired for some stupid shit. I am sure that this is just the exact shit that you are tired of hearing, but I love you , TAP, and I’m just a bit offended!

Comment by deliriolunatico on 2008-03-05 15:58:42 -0800 #

I am one of those student who wants to have an independent pharmacy after I graduate, unless my entrepreneurial fiancee drives me crazy with his small business. Then I might just work in a hospital. I guess I’ve got 3 years still, so we’ll see?
Anyways, I’m wondering what is your take on NCPA? What’s your experience with them, if any?

Comment by Crusty RPh on 2008-03-05 17:55:20 -0800 #

What the fuck did you expect. 120K a year requires a little stress. Suck it up buttercup. I’ve been doing this shit for 35 years and still love it. Can’t wait to call the next customer a dumb fuck for listening to an insurance agent instead of me about their Part D plan, or tell the pencil pushing Manager to go fuck himself and ask him if he know 90% of the customers on sight. For Christ’s sake we are in demand — especially if we are fluent in English. Just gotta love this sight. It has added 5 yrs to my working life just to be able to bitch. What a country.

Comment by downonthepharm on 2008-03-05 18:32:03 -0800 #

TAP, you are a god to many.
I come from a family owned pharmacy (we have had it for going on 45yrs) Everything you have listed has hit home. Just like the time when mail order companies came around and we had to let a tech go because we couldn’t pay her anymore. But it was important to keep our store going.. our relationships with our customers are 100x more meaningful than those hangin out at walgreens. I am happy you made this post.. it seems like independents are fading out daily.
so.. STOP YOUR BITCHING pharmys.
ps: Are you ever going to reveal how old you are? I got my pharmacist at work hooked on your site, i am guessing she is around 45yrs old. She laughed her ass off. She then showed it to our olderrr pharmacist who thought you were a little over the top. So i am going to guess you’re around 35ish?

Comment by Jason on 2008-03-05 19:19:22 -0800 #

I read your posts, and most of the time I agree with you. I have just one question for you fellow pharmacist. WHY DO YOU WORK AT AN INDEPENDENT PHARMACY IF IT SOUNDS LIKE IT ISN’T WORTH IT? Obviously you have found a value in your job that is more important to you than job security.

Comment by on 2008-03-05 22:38:13 -0800 #

Lets go back to picking on Nurses, Physicians, MAs, etc…. thats more fun then ripping on other pharmacists! 🙂

Comment by indietech on 2008-03-05 22:40:08 -0800 #

some of us prefer NOT to sell our souls to chain pharmacies. i’ve worked in both a chain and independent pharmacy, and though they BOTH have stresses and disadvantages, working in an independent pharmacy makes you actually feel more like you’re helping people and less like you’re just slapping labels on bottles as fast as possible. within the first week of working at my independent i knew more of our customers than i did in 2 months of the chain.

Comment by DrManly on 2008-03-06 01:39:20 -0800 #

stop bitching…pharmacist can sell shoes if u dont wanna fill medications. u guys have the easiest job of all healthcare practitioners….what could be easier than putting meds/bottles and make sure it is matched with my handwriting?useless pharmacist.

Comment by countess on 2008-03-06 06:32:49 -0800 #

I want to say that I love your rants and thanks for allowing us to vent with you. I’ve worked both sides of the aisle for 25 yrs -90% in independent, now in chain – it’s all the same, it’s still work. Now – why don’t you lighten the mood with perhaps stories of the stupidest customer of the year, perhaps even offer an award? I could start out with Taco Bell Man who needed help because after eating nacho cheese at Taco Bell for 3 days in a row he was coughing it up from his lungs. I tried to tell him it had nothing to do with the cheese, tried to suggest Mucinex, etc – he swore it was cheese. My technicians congratulated me for my response – without cracking a smile I told him to head for the closest ER because cheese disease is very serious. Gotta love the public!

Comment by Matt S RPh on 2008-03-06 06:46:12 -0800 #

Well, I was going to berate you for this BS, but I’m pretty sure everyone else up there already has. You say indy’s are better because they have equal job stress without job security and are physically located in a building that will fall into the depths of the abyss if you buy just one too many Diastat’s. I call bullshit. You have job security by virtue of the fact you are a fucking pharmacist. You don’t have corporate assholes breathing down your neck, a customer service score sheet that demands you be at the drive up window in 14 seconds within someone driving up, cycle counts, people we barely know slimming tech hours, and some asshole asking if you know why Pringles didn’t ring up 4 for 3 dollars. The bitch is I’ve worked at an Indy here in town and all the people there are fat asses because the owner is a nice man who CATERS food to them twice a week. Of course this pharmacy probably falls under the catagory of “Too Good to be True”, but it was flipping 1/2 as busy as even the least busy of CVS’s (discounting Sonntag Ave, that’s where they put old pharmacists out to die). I agree with 95% of what you say, but this is bullshit. Play the violin, lest you one day have to play it for yourself.

Comment by retail whippin’ boy on 2008-03-06 13:52:01 -0800 #

Hey TAP, What’s up your ass today? Some of what you say regarding chain store work is true, but please don’t ask me to feel too bad for the indies. They do alright for themselves on payday or else they execute their exit strategy, i.e., sell out to a chain for megabucks. Many of the same worries at both job sites. Truly, each job sucks in its own individual way, but sharing the shit is a collective venture that is done pretty equally. Over the years I’ve learned that when the grass really IS greener in the other guy’s yard, it’s because of all the bullshit he has to put up with.
As for you, DrManly, here’s two tasks that are easier than deciphering your handwriting, double checking the dose you prescribed, educating your patient because you’re too busy to spend time with them, taking care of the billing, cleaning up after your mistakes, and seeing patients with real or perceived health care needs without an appointment, all as fast as it can be done for 12 hours straight without a break: 1) anything that has to do with the practice of psychiatry….talk about low expectations! When did a psychiatrist ever cure ANYONE? 2) performing colonoscopies. Same old thing, same old orifice. Won’t schedule if the patient is actively bleeding. Oh right, just when the poor bastard patient needs your help the most you run and hide because the blood will obscure your view. Man-up, you little shit! If you can’t help the patient with THAT procedure, figure out another way instead of waiting for a clot to hold, or for the poor son of a bitch to die. But when/if the patient survives and stabilizes, the rear admiral can’t wait to shove his periscope up the patient’s ass so he can buy a bigger fuckin’ yacht! Thanks for telling me where the bleeding USED TO BE, Commodore. So shut the fuck up, you self-righteous prick, or I’ll REALLY put my thinking cap on and come up with 20 or so more examples of your overinflated self-worth!

Comment by Tyler on 2008-03-06 14:58:39 -0800 #

Way to ostracize a ton of your readers. Maybe not the smartest idea

Comment by PharmDude on 2008-03-06 15:42:09 -0800 #

“the rear admiral”
That’s a keeper!

Comment by RphPyg on 2008-03-06 18:06:31 -0800 #

I have been a pharmacist for 8 years. I worked for 2 major chains over the last 7 years. I just started to work for an independent. To all the self-righteous independent pharmacist who think that they are the only one’s who know patients and really give patient care, FUCK YOU and the WHORE YOU RODE IN ON. I managed 3 stores that filled between 300/day and 800/day. I made it a point to learn names in each and every store. Don’t think that you have a monoply on patient care just because you work at an independent. And for the record, the people I know that own pharmacies here in town, make a shit ton of money. Unless you are only filling 100 scripts a day, I find it hard to believe that your store is hurting for money.

Comment by TAestP on 2008-03-06 20:32:08 -0800 #

wow – people are hypocrites…
“I love your site and agree with everything you say, but you are a dick for not liking something else that I’m a part off”
What a bunch of bullshit…get over yourselves!
I agree with everything you said – now that you’ve explained it – I never really thought about it before….
Do these people get pissed when someone disses their political party? No – they just retort….except in this case where they get pissed off an vow to never read your site again…

Comment by rph3664 on 2008-03-06 21:13:20 -0800 #

I think Dr.Manly is a troll. A real physician should know how to spell and use punctuation, and wouldn’t write in text-messagese.
Where is Sonntag Avenue?

Comment by nakedundermysmock on 2008-03-13 16:48:33 -0700 #

Doctors are idiots for calling us pill-pushers. Write Rx’s for dosage forms that don’t exist or scheduled substances not on the proper TRPP form again and I’ll show you what it’s like to be hounded by the DOJ. Fucking low Self-esteem Overpaid Morons.

Comment by Heather the tech on 2008-03-14 16:58:39 -0700 #

Come on. Honestly. The internet is an equal opportunity bitching site. But what never fails to amaze me is how people have this insatiable need to top each other with their maladies. I left an independent pharmacy because as a technician I cannot afford to worry over whether or not my check will clear the bank, and because frankly, the benefits sucked. I have it easier now in some ways like you mention in your post, but there are a whole other world of issues once you get into the chains. Either way, I will exercise my obligation to BITCH about ridiculous customer encounters, incompetent insurance company representatives, PBMs , and the circus show freaks that work in doctor offices…not to mention the doctors themselves who have a holier than thou stick up their ass.
Over and out,

Comment by rph3664 on 2008-03-15 08:12:10 -0700 #

I just used Mr. Google to answer my own question.
The only Sonntag Avenue I found was in Evansville, Indiana.

Comment by dan on 2008-03-24 14:03:17 -0700 #

dude, you need a psych referral!!

Comment by Emby on 2008-05-23 20:56:05 -0700 #

You are incredibly vulgar.

Comment by keegs on 2010-10-18 15:15:39 -0700 #

okay although a chain pharmacy may have a multi-billion dollar company to have our backs, those pharmacist and techs working for those companies are small fishes in a big pond. The corperate level employees who dictate the rules ask for great favors of their employees. Why? Because all they really care about is that they don’t have to do the work, yet get the benefit of all the extra profit. The independent pharmacies in the town im located in, have the power to restrict their sales of PSE because we have a huge meth problem in our town. However do you think they big chain pharmacies stop selling PSE products? Heck no, because those stores who try to will get in trouble for not selling those products because they make the company so much profit!!! The company doesn’t take it into consideration I had to sell PSE to a neighbor who could have a meth lab in their home, or that customers who really need their medications have to wait while the meth heads take up our time by buying PSE products. Also with the new flu-shot gig going, do you think those chain pharmacists recieved a raise for becoming certified or even get a larger bonus for all the extra hard work that comes along with stopping all the tasks in the pharmacy to give the flu shots? NO!! The coperate level pushes and pushes flu shots, and expect the employees to have more flu shots than the year before with less hours because of hour cut we had previously to flu season. All the corperate level sees is $$$$$$. So although you may think chain pharmacists and their techs have it so easy, be appreciative you don’t have people at such higher level pushing you to do tasks that really work the employees so hard, but don’t see it or care because they are that high up! so maybe you should think a little more next time when you think chain pharmacist are so whinny!

The Angry Pharmacist
The Angry Pharmacist
Started this site in 2005 out of frustration that pharmacy school does not prepare you for dealing with the ungrateful unwashed public. Was hugely popular until life called and I had to take a break. Now I try to provide low brow potty humor that applies to the pharmacy population at large. Except you clinical fucks, go play doctor with your white coats and snobby attitude.