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The Long Leave-you-on-hold-time Leader

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I’ve ranted about this. JP has ranted about this in Drug Topics. However some big-chain pharmacists *ahemWalMartahem* don’t seem to get the idea across.

You see, I really hate to bug pharmacists for copies/transfers.  Usually I’ll call their confusing little voicemail system, hit the proper combination of buttons to get to the “Voice Mailbox for New Prescriptions” (that is reserved for doctors), and kindly give all my information, what I need, my fax number, etc.  I figure that the pharmacist will check the mailbox for any new prescriptions, get my request, and fax over my copy.  Works great for Walgreens, Rite-Aid, CVS, etc.  The pharmacists like it too since I’m not bothering them and they are already in the ‘write down stuff’ mode when they check the voicemail.

Note to all of you out there:  I tried to do this with WalMart.  I waited 3 hours with no response.  I called WalMart and was left on hold for over 10 mins.   My tech called on another line and said “My pharmacist has been on hold for over 10 min, why are you answering my call?”.  I didn’t even get the common fucking courtesy of “The pharmacist is tied up, can he/she give you a call back”, “What numbers do you need and your fax number and I’ll give them to the pharmacist”, or even a “We’re really sorry, it’ll just a little bit longer”  I was just left on hold for 10 long non-intterupted mins with nothing but dead air to listen to.  I fucking hate being on hold because not only do I hate working while cradling a fucking phone on my shoulder, but its $1/min wasted for the store and just tells me what kind of outfit I can expect when someone does pick up the phone.

The response when I finally got through to someone (15 min hold time total by the timer on my phone): “You shouldn’t leave copy requests there, you should just call us.” *blink blink*  For once, I was at a total loss for words…  Yeah, after I was left on hold for 15 mins he said that…  Please tell me that I’m not the only one who thinks that what this pharmacist just said the completely wrong thing to me.  I’m sure glad I wasn’t a doctor leaving a new prescription on that voicemail system since it would be 5 hours before it would be filled!

Is this really how we treat our own?  Seriously, what the fuck.

Listen, we’re all busy.  We all have shitty patients we have to deal with, shitty doctors offices, and shitty staff.  We are overworked and stressed.  However that’s no excuse to shit all over someone who is in the SAME boat you are in and sooner-or-later you’ll need a copy from them.  If you didn’t get the whole idea about professional courtesy from my previous rant and JP’s rant, then obviously you need to go work in a mail-order joint and get the fuck out of retail.  I don’t give a fuck what your ‘corporate’ office says, or what your district manager or store manager says.  You know those people who boss you around in ‘management’ positions?  They couldn’t cut it in the trenches, thats why they have to boss you around.  If your manager actually works retail, they won’t bitch at you for letting that whiny crackhead bitching up a storm wait a whole 2 more mins longer while you give some professional courtesy to someone else who has that exact same crackhead bitching at them on the other end of the phone.

Unlike how I act on here, I choose to take the high road.  I don’t “lose” copy requests from pharmacies that are slow/unresponsive to copy requests.  I don’t get even with them.  I don’t fax over reams of pure black pages in the middle of the night to burn out all of the toner in their fax machines nor filling up their voicemail with me singing drunkenly in their voicemail at 2am on weeknights.

In the long run, its not worth trying to get even by petty things, real retail pharmacists are better than that. What really counts is when you’re at that fancy CE dinners (with the free booze), and after 4 gin’s you meet that WalMart pharmacist from the store that is giving you grief.  As you look him/her straight in the eye, you introduce yourself and say “Your store is the shittiest store in town for sending out copies.  I send copies to you within 10 mins, and you send them hours later if that.  That’s really bullshit, I hate calling your store, but your lack of service brings a ton of business to mine so I’m forced to.”  Then you see the reaction.  You see the stammering, the excuses, and with all that Gin in your system you can get that good concerned/blank look.  Blowing up on the phone at the person won’t do a bit of good, but in person, face-to-face is when you can really nail someone.  And after all of the excuses and apologies that fly in your direction, you just shake your head and walk away disgusted leaving them feeling like shit.  One of these days I’m going to stop by the DrugMonkey’s store and use this on him, then we’re going drinking afterwards.  I know he’ll want me to subsidize his bar-tab.  Some things never change (I kid, I kid!)

I’m prepared for the onslaught of Walmart pharmacists now who read this site commenting with “You’re right” or “You are so wrong I’m never reading this site again”.  You know, thats life, sometimes the truth hurts and it takes someone to publically blast the lack of professional courtesy that some chains have (plus you all get off on how awesome and blunt I am).  If you give this letter to your boss/DM and they say “eh, whatever” vs “I’ll look into this”, doesn’t that say right there what kind of company you work for and how they view pharmacists?

Walmart – $4 prices, $4 service.

Comments #

Comment by Anonymous on 2009-08-02 10:37:30 -0700 #

My father owns an independent pharmacy and he loves Wal Mart because their service is so crappy that people eat up the kindness they get from his store. Refills only take 10-15 minutes, doing transfers take less than 10 minutes, and the service is great. People get one prescription filled here rather than wal mart and they get hooked.

I’m not sure if you own an independent pharmacy or work for one but I’m sure you can agree with me how much better the service is at your local pharmacy rather than the chains.

Comment by PillPharmer on 2009-08-02 10:50:32 -0700 #

I totally agree. I worked for Wal-mart (or as I call them the Evil Empire) as an intern and when I graduated some reason had an interview with them (to be young and foolish again). The thing that really pisses me off about them is that there Pharmacy managers or DM’s aren’t even necessarily a pharmacist. WTF! How could anyone ever expect the pharmacies of the Evil Empire to function properly when you have someone who is completely clueless about how a pharmacy operates calling the shots. They tried to tell me that some pharmacists go on to be store managers and managers of sporting goods and other shit like that which blew my mind. Seriously, would anyone go to school as long as we do to manage sporting goods? Not to mention how much they have to be paying the managers if pharmacists are willing to up and leave the profession. At that point I vowed to never shop at the Evil Empire again and didn’t for awhile, but when you live in the middle of nowhere and that’s all that is around (because they drove everyone else out of business) you’re kinda screwed.

Comment by Suzanne on 2009-08-02 11:14:21 -0700 #

well, 15 minutes must be the norm for them! I held for a transfer for 13 minutes and I decided to hang up and call back. So, I called back and finally got to talk to a warm body and told them that I had been holding for a transfer for an excruciatingly long time and I wouldn’t be calling back for it but I have the customer here waiting and I’m trying to give them the customer service that Walmart could not. So she turned around and repeated everything I said to the pharmacist. He got pissed and got on the phone and said “YEAH WELL DEFINE EXCRUCUATINGLY LONG TIME”. I just replied… “13 minutes”. And, he actually seemed shocked and I heard a moment of silence on his end. He was almost confused. He thought I was just joking!! NOPE… the timer on the phone does not joke! Thank goodness for that timer. Anyhow, I got my transer and the pharmacist there now knows the definition of “excruciatingly long time”.

Comment by LK on 2009-08-02 13:05:41 -0700 #

Give me a break. You are seriously going to tell me that Wal-Mart is the only chain pharmacy that is a pain in the ass to get copies from. I am a Wal-Mart pharmacist and I run into the exact same problem with every other pharmacy I call. Do you check your voicemail every five minutes? I didn’t realize it was so hard to work with a phone on hold. Put it on speaker and move on until someone answers. Faxing copies is not the answer. What do you do if you have a question about the copy or the fax doesn’t go through? You call to clarify. Now you’ve just wasted even more time. Every job sucks. Pharmacy sucks. You chose the profession just like I did and we get compensated pretty nicely for taking the shit we do. Bitching at each other solves nothing.

Comment by Matt on 2009-08-02 13:07:20 -0700 #

I’ve had this experience in dealing with Walgreens. As an intern, my pharmacists usually give me the pleasure of calling other stores for copies. After waiting on hold for 15 minutes to speak to the pharmacist, she gave me attitude for not having the Rx numbers, even though I had patient’s name, DOB, drugs and strengths.

Comment by rph3664 on 2009-08-02 13:24:46 -0700 #

I can’t believe anyone would want to work for Walmart or Sam’s club, considering how poorly they treat their employees.

One of the pharmacists at my local Walmart also has a law degree and is a licensed attorney in this state. They know not to screw him over.

Comment by PharmGamerKid on 2009-08-02 14:16:05 -0700 #

I feel really bad when other pharmacist call our pharmacy to get copies and sometimes it’s just me (the intern) stuck doing consults and the only pharmacist in the pharmacy stuck doing discharges and final checking. So they’re stuck waiting for a VERY long time. After reading these posts and see how frustrating it is for the person on the other end, I try to do the transfers first even though there’s customers yelling at me to do mandatory consults.

Once, I got put on hold for a very long time while waiting to get a copy. I stretched the phone cord while trying to fill some prescriptions as I’m waiting. I ended up pulling the phone off the wall 😛

Comment by pharmdgirl on 2009-08-02 15:05:09 -0700 #

I’ve has the same experience with Wal-Mart, but the worst was with a pharmacist at another chain. I held for 15 minutes, so I knew he was extremely busy. I told him I needed 4 copies and he could fax them to me when he got a chance. After 4 hours and no fax, I called back. I told him I had not received the copies and wanted to verify the fax number he had. He told me that he didn’t have time to give them to me or fax them and I should tell the customer to go to his store. That’s the whole reason they came to me to begin with…..they were tired of dealing with him. I ended up calling the doctor and getting new rxs. What a pain in the ass.

Comment by ChemoQueenRPh on 2009-08-02 15:07:48 -0700 #

I am so glad I don’t have to call for copies. I have been on hold for a long time doing med recons, or waiting to speak to a pharmacist to resolve a prior auth issue. But for the most part, have been pleasantly suprised that I didn’t have to wait too long. I know you guys are all crazy busy. I haven’t noticed a pattern as to how long I’m on hold and the chain I’m dealing with.
One thing I have noticed, is that most of the Wal-Mart Pharmacists in my town don’t speak English. And I have heard the nurses bitching about how if there is a problem with a script, it is always Wal-Mart.
But lest you think I am seizing the opportunity to bitch about Wal-Mart, I had a really positive experience with a Wally World Pharmacist recently. We spoke several times over a several day period of the insurance company fucking around with both of us over a prior auth. Emend, it’s ALWAYS fucking Emend. Part B or Part D? Anyhoo, she was so nice, and so helpful, and we were both joking about how we hoped this was the last call & we didn’t have to talk again. She sounded young. She hadn’t been beaten down by the cold cruel pharmacy world yet.

Comment by Katie on 2009-08-02 15:22:04 -0700 #

Hi! I’m a CVS Pharmacist and I am in total favor of just leaving a voicemail when you need a copy. Especially when you a current label with all of the information and have no questions. It’s routine business. Rock on!

Comment by Hardy on 2009-08-02 15:38:55 -0700 #

I prefer to check my voicemail as soon as Intercom Plus (OHNOZ EVIL WALGREENS) tells me one is there. It’s easier to take 45 seconds to do one vmail at a time than schedule out a 15 minute block if I let them pile up. =/

Comment by The Pharmacy Princess on 2009-08-02 16:01:27 -0700 #

Um, seriously? The Mart is the only crappy pharmacy out there? No. Sorry. I’ve had the worst time trying to, in the Gynorm BoxStore Pharmacy that I work in, get copies/transfers/etc. from independents. But that may just be retaliation at the Gynorm Pharmacy for stealing their business… so I guess I can’t really blame them in the long run for being bitter.

Comment by DisgruntledDruggist on 2009-08-02 16:48:05 -0700 #

Faxing transfers is not allowed in my state. Walgreens is the worst to wait on for copies. Next time you actually talk to the WalMart pharmacist, ask for their Dr’s line number. This is the line that our pharmacists answer.

Comment by Hoagy74 on 2009-08-02 18:05:16 -0700 #

I’ve worked all over the country (military spouse) and have noticed that invariably there is 1 chain in each region out there that drives you nuts trying to get copies. Walmart isn’t the only one, but it does seem to be one of the repeat winners.

Copies are an inconvience to everyone. I especially hate those damn transfer incentives. GOOD GRIEF. You take a copy and then give a copy right back over and over again just for a freaking 25 dollar gift card or whatever. The a-hole who dreamt up that scheme is the one I want to beat over the head. 🙂

Comment by another pharmacist on 2009-08-02 20:01:01 -0700 #

Around here Wal-Mart is definitely the worse, but Walgreens come a close second with the new call centers. You can be 100 yards from the Walgreens store, but you have to go through 3 automated menus to get a receptionist who will connect you with a Pharmacist 70 miles away. It’s almost as bad as trying to get a copy from mail-order which is where I draw the line and refuse. Around here the Wal-mart techs often do not put the calls on hold, the just lay the phone down on the counter so that if you hang up and try to call back you get a busy signal. Because of this, we will not do transfers from Wal-Mart or Walgreens as “waiters”. We ask two hours. Most customers understand since they can’t get them on the phone either.

Comment by Irritated, RPh on 2009-08-02 21:01:09 -0700 #

There’s a reason walmart shows up consistently on the long wait time list everywhere. I’ve worked for 4 different chains as a tech, intern, and now a pharmacist and I can say without a doubt that walmart has more demands on their pharmacist’s time than any of the others I’ve witnessed or heard about from friends in the biz. I could list off a few that seem to be unique to walmart, but the major one is mandatory counseling. Every single new prescription has to be counseled. Not an offer to counsel, mind you, but actual counseling by the pharmacist. And this is in every state, not just the ones that require this by law. Our stress level skyrocketed after walmart initiated this policy a year and a half or so ago. As everyone here knows, the demands on our time are extensive anyway so just imagine what this would do to you in your store every single day. Oh yeah, and the genius execs who put this into place neglected to add any sort of timesaving measures or additional pharmacist hours to cover this increase in time spent not filling Rx’s.

Bottom line is, either you think that different types of people start working for walmart than any other company (which doesn’t seem very intelligent), or walmart does a better job of crushing their pharmacist’s souls.

Comment by CrazyRph on 2009-08-02 23:48:19 -0700 #

Common curtousy is all I ask for- if it’s going to be more than 5 minutes just pick up the phone and say you will call us back. Now, on the Walmart thing – 15 minutes around here is actually a pretty timely manor- we have had to wait over an hour before- no big deal- you put them on speaker phone and try to remember not to hang up because they have no hold music- and then call their supervisor -the hold times improved after that and one of the pharmacists got moved.

Comment by Random Pharmacist on 2009-08-03 01:05:12 -0700 #

This website is very amusing! Any Pharmacist would understand that we need a website this amusing to get through our days. Thanks for the honesty:)

Comment by WAG Girl on 2009-08-03 04:24:11 -0700 #

Luckily, in our state, cert. techs can do transfers. No faxes though. I have held at our local Wal-Mart for over 20 mins. before. Ridiculous! And, thanks “Another Pharmacist” for feedback on our stores that have call centers. We haven’t heard anything but good stuff on our ends so it’s nice to hear how it’s REALLY going. Thank God certain states and their laws will keep this set-up from going nationwide!

Comment by Hewert on 2009-08-03 09:39:46 -0700 #

URGHHHHHH…..after reading yet another CE on medication mistakes…(this one was obsessed about the distance between the pharmacist and the counseling area….) and reflecting on what I consider to be the primary reason for errors..I couldn’t help but cue on the sentence \Refills only take 10-15 minutes, doing transfers take (sic) less than 10 minutes, and the service is great.\ in ‘Anonymous’s’ comment. Come on folks…isn’t it time to take the ‘PHAST’ out of pharmacy? Speed should not equal customer service and you should know that by now. I work as a temp, and I’ve seen numerous mistakes that can only have occurred because the pharmacist was rushed. I’m not saying I don’t care how long people have to wait….but we have conditioned them to think they shouldn’t have to. I would argue \customer service\ means NOT RUSHING through someone’s script.

And let’s quit EATING our own. You know damn well a lot of pharmacists out there are severely overworked. We can’t all work at your dandy, low-volume independent pharmacies. In fact. two of the most egregious med errors I’ve seen occurred at a Mom n’ Pop that did a whopping 70 – 100 scripts/day. The owner (and the techs) felt that customer service meant wait times of 5 minutes or less…….

Comment by VaTech on 2009-08-03 17:14:06 -0700 #

As i’m sure you’re probably expecting, there will be some of those that work for Sam’s Club or Walmart (i myself am a tech for Sams) that argue wholeheartedly against you. I can honestly say that we are a small-volume pharmacy with a grand total of 2 techs…and when there is a problem, as in…the pharmacist is with a patient who won’t stop asking questions…or they are on another call or even need to get that person at the register out of there that is staring me down because i said 15 minutes and it’s been 9.2 exactly…if there is a copy or a transfer on the line, I will always tell them what the situation is and if they’d prefer to hold or if they’d like to leave a list of numbers and their name/location and then we’ll get back to them when things calm down. Yeah, we are low-volume, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have rushes. If you had a bad experience with Walmart, all i’m sayinjg is don’t judge us all, just because we offer $4 scripts, doesn’t mean that we’re all jackasses. How about the time my pharmacist called Costco because a patient was literally in tears, screaming at her to transfer her medication RIGHT NOW….the costco in our area has caller id…we know because they answered the phone after 23 minutes on hold and said ‘what can i do for the pharmacist at sams today?’ with laughter in his voice and without my pharmacist even mentioning where he was calling from. They let us hold for that long while a patient waited simply because we are their main competitor in the area…how’s that for shitty service?

I really do adore your site…and i agree with pretty much everything that you’ve ever said =) I even agree that i’ve had kinda shitty responses from other stores within my chain…but they aren’t the only ones who give us shit, promise.

Comment by MaineRPH on 2009-08-03 17:51:02 -0700 #

Walgreens just came to maine and the people in this state love us…perhaps ONLY because we’re new and dont have huge script volume yet, thus they receive superior service and attention. Thats the bitch of it though, the execs want to save money in the wrong places. Every pharmacist should have adequate help to take care of business and be accessable to patients, thats what people really want is attention from the pharmD. Give me 3 techs and we’ll fill 300 + a day no problem, let the “managers” stock the shelves. The pharmacy isn’t where you cut costs.

And i’ve been on hold for almost 15 minutes before with walmart as well…but guess what? it isn’t the pharmacist’s fault. That poor motherfucker has to deal with bullshit from all angles and doesn’t get any support from his higher-ups. We’ve all had shitty days in retail, the walmart dude gets slack from me. How many medicaid rx’s do you think that poor bastard fills in a day! hahaha

Comment by mo on 2009-08-03 18:59:19 -0700 #

I think it depends on the store. Im a walmart pharmacist and I have long hold times when calling other stores too. There are a few cvs stores in my areas and its always the same 2 stores that keep me waiting over ten minutes while the others respond quickly. I just assume those stores are busier than the others but I cant speak for the stores that you have dealt with. By the way love the site!

Comment by $4 Slave on 2009-08-03 19:13:14 -0700 #

well I work for the $4 monster that destroyed our profession but I can tell you that we’re not the only chain that does this. I encounter this from other chains and independents as well. I dont do it on purpose. There are times when Im so short handed, stress level so bad cant go to sleep till 1am in the morning, get home all I do is cry. When I have help so I can actually do my job…then you wont wait. But when I dont have the help Im too busy doing a tech’s job, cashiers job, etc. I have no problem doing my job. But I dont get extra paychecks for the other duties I have to do. Sadly enough no one cares. I had to deal with a lazy pharmacist and nothing was done about her. Me? I work my *&&^%^&%$ ass off and only get crapped on, and be asked to do more and more all the time. Upper management are not pharmacists. I deal with idiot now who only cares about makeing sure his numbers look good. I dont trust him and know he has lied to me.

So if you have to wait…its not because im on the other side laughing at you. Getting my kicks to make your blood boil. Its because I dont ahve the help I need. Its because my DM sh*tty boss doesnt care. Its because Im working the drop off, filling, checking, and ringing up people. Or being bitched at by the store manager for something stupid that doesnt even involve me. Does it look like i fucking care if and OTC display is wrong??

If I have time….I’ll answer you.
If its alot of copies…I offer to fax them.
If I get late to you…..its because im having a really sh*tty day.

Comment by sumotoad on 2009-08-03 19:49:13 -0700 #

It’s a shame. One of the best pharmacists I’ve ever known works for Walmart and I never get to call him for copies. For me, the common denominator of professional discourtesy is not the chain the sap works for; it seems to be an inability to speak English well. I never, ever ignore a pharmacist and whenever I get bent out of shape at being ignored, it seems a 90% probability that the ayhole on the other end has English as a far-distant-second language. Thanks to the Board for dumbing down the exam…

Comment by jacob on 2009-08-03 21:12:45 -0700 #

I have always had problems with Walgreens being the evil pharmacy, not walmart..but to each their own.
I once had such trouble getting through to a walgreens that I just called the Dr. and asked for a new Rx because the patient is trying to transfer and Walgreens is not responding. (It was for a maintenance diabetes drug). The Dr’s office just laughed and agreed to call in a new script at my pharmacy instead of making me suffer and hold at walgreens.

Comment by TechJess on 2009-08-03 21:14:55 -0700 #

I am a tech at Walmart, and the company and upper management do treat the employees like crap, but in the pharmacy itself, I couldn’t ask for better supervisors. I am working through college and the pharmacy manager is always willing to work with me, but the store management sucks ass and I can’t wait to finish my degree this spring so that I can get the hell out of there. That being said, our pharmacists are extremely courteous and quickly respond to calls and accept transfers readily, but there are nearby Walmart stores where even we will wait on hold for 45 minutes or they just won’t answer their calls at all. To top it all off, we are the busiest store in the district, filling upwards of 700 scripts per day! I always present my customers a smile and good attitude, even if the last asshole just spit in my face.

Comment by Brendan on 2009-08-03 22:31:50 -0700 #

Speaking of being placed on hold.. Can all you CVS pharmacists petition your corporate to change the hold music on your phones? If I ever want some suicide music, I know which pharmacy to dial…

Comment by Watson349 on 2009-08-04 00:00:42 -0700 #

I don’t believe it’s the chains themselves. For me, it has always been the same stores that gives me attitude or puts me on hold for >5 minutes. Most of the pharamcists are kind enough to pick up the phone ASAP or apoligize if they were not able to. These stores (1 WAG, 1 SWY, 2 CVS) are all run by managers who lack the skills to do the job.

I recently witnessed the following exchange at one of those stores. Tech: “Pharmacist line 1.”
RPh: “what does line 1 want.”
Tech: “Refill”
RPh: “You can do get refills”
Tech: “Yes I know…Pharmacist line 1.”
RPh (loudly): “I am the pharmacist you’re the tech, now I’m telling you, pick up line 1.”
Tech: “I going on break.” (in the middle of ringing up a customer)

Now if I’m on hold forever for a copy, I’m no longer upset. I pity the manager who is obviously unqualified and/or incompetent for the job.

Comment by Watson349 on 2009-08-04 00:07:42 -0700 #

Isn’t there a directly line to individual pharmacy that’ll bypass the call center? I hope so. Part of customer/patient loyalty is that they can always reach their local pharmacists. Otherwise, it’s just like Kaiser

Comment by The Bus Driver on 2009-08-04 05:25:15 -0700 #

And this rant is JUST why I prefer the local small pharmacy over the large Walmart one. I even don’t particularly care for CVS or Walgreens as at one point I had no prescription insurance and was paying out the nose for some items. The small local pharmacy allowed me to get generics for HALF the price of those big chains.

As a customer, I despise waiting in line just to talk to someone who doesn’t really give a crap except for making a dollar. My local pharmacist always takes time to go over any concerns I have and answer any questions that concern me.

Comment by PharmIntern on 2009-08-04 07:10:14 -0700 #

This rant explains why the big box pharmacists can’t talk to you personally as much as they’d like — they’re too damn overworked by corporate! It seems to be a common denominator among stressed, overworked pharmacists. Obviously the indies have stress of their own, but they likely have the help they need and no DM bitching at them about script count or OTC displays being set up wrong.

We’re in the profession because we like to help people. We would LOVE nothing more than to sit down with you for 15 stress-free minutes or so and go over anything and everything you may want or need to know about your medicine. But the fact of the matter is that that’s not always possible for a myriad of reasons.

My bottom line is don’t blame the chain pharmacists. They work just as hard and share the same stress level as the indie pharmacists.

Blame the corpo-chains for their ridiculous expectations of the pharmacy world.

Comment by ellie on 2009-08-04 08:28:09 -0700 #

blah blah blah. they say that everyone else is doing it. How come then I have the MOST problems with Wal-mart out of ANY chain. Here is a tip. I wait on hold, hang up, call back and tell them that the patient is waiting and it is urgent that i speak to the pharmacist.

Comment by Another mad rph on 2009-08-04 09:01:54 -0700 #

Why would anyone ever tell someone they can wait for a transfer? I work at a busy Walgreens and tell everyone at least an hour on a transfer… and I can’t even assure that time. I make sure to point out that I can only have the transfer done at the speed the other chain responds to me at and that that is probably why they are transfering the RX in the first place is because the other pharmacy sucks. When people realize that it is the place they hates fault the wait will be longer they seem to usually be pretty understanding.

Comment by another pharmacist on 2009-08-04 09:08:13 -0700 #

There is but it is not easy either. What you have to do is NOT choose the Pharmacy option when the IVR answers. Wait for some one in one of the other departments of the store answers. Tell that person that you want to speak to someone in the Pharmacy. They will page the pharmacy, and you have to wait until someone answers back there. Depending on how busy they are, and who is one, it can take as long as going through the call center. It is worth it, however, if you are just trying to get a stock check on a CII etc. The call center people are instructed to handle every for the stores including stock checks.
I personally have gained at least 10 new customers from the local store since the call center was instituted. At least, that was the reason they gave for switching.

Comment by The Bus Driver on 2009-08-04 09:44:42 -0700 #

Thats very true, i do blame the chain not the pharmacy person.

Comment by PharmIntern on 2009-08-04 11:27:54 -0700 #

Wait times are dependent on many factors. It is possible that the Wal-Mart in your area just employs dick pharmacists. However, the more likely reason is that they’re super overworked and simply may not have time to answer your call in ten seconds or less.

In my area, the Wal-Mart down the road from us is average, like everyone else. It’s the one grocery store chain in our area that seems to always have a hold time of 20+ minutes for copies, especially at the one location.

That said, I just have a hard time believing that because you always have a hard time with Wal-Mart, that ALL Wal-Marts inherently suck and keep you on hold for a half hour while laughing at you.

Comment by Wal-Mart DM on 2009-08-04 14:09:18 -0700 #

The problem with Wal-MArt is that you get shitty rphs on baord, and then you cant fire them due to loopholes, mandates, protocols, lawsuits, etc. Very frustrating.

Comment by FL PharmD on 2009-08-04 14:39:24 -0700 #

All pharmacies are guilty of this. It seem like WalMart or WAG is the worst, maybe it is bc they fill the most scripts and are involved the most in copies back and forth. I personally dont beleive its the company you work for at all. When I was with WAG, I worked with plenty of pharmacists where I questioned their abilities. I do the same today with WalMart. Bottom line is, many of the pharmacists cannot handle the workload and multitasking is a foreign word to them. If you call me, I get to you ASAP just bc I know you’re going through the same shit I am. Afterwords I will even bullshit with you to see how your day has been. After all, we as pharmacists will help eachother out when we need to, our employers will never have our back.

Comment by marsha on 2009-08-04 15:38:03 -0700 #

Let’s face it we’re all screwed. Somehow we’ve all bought into a system that is a choice between either working for a chain and dealing with transfers from another chain, or working for an independent with a megalomaniac as a boss. What is a nice Jewish pharmacy girl to do?

Comment by $4 Slave on 2009-08-04 18:10:34 -0700 #

Who’s fault is that? Why doesnt the DM ask other Rph’s about the applicant? my last DM didnt ask mine but asked in another district. Now this person only knew her…did NOT know her work habits. And Yippie…she gets hired. And I got stuck with her. She refused to want to learn anything. Didnt care if scripts got out. Nothing. Me? I had to end up doing her job and mine. I begged, pleaded for something to be done. Nothing was done. Only thing a DM cares about is making sure there are no holes in any store. I wonder if that is whaat they are told on the first day: if anyone quits…make sure the hole is filled asap. Doesnt matter the quality…just fill the hole and watch payroll. And the one who works, puts everything they can into it…only gets asked to do more, get no where for doing it.

Comment by sumotoad on 2009-08-04 19:56:14 -0700 #

have to agree with $4 here. i was recently blessed with a staff pharmacist and i did not know she was coming on board until the day she arrived. i’m the guy with his name on the wall and i had no say in the hiring of my partner, the person whom i am supposed to trust with my patients, my practice and my drugs…. she is a train wreck of poor English, zero clinical knowledge, foreign grad.. sorry DM, it’s your fault. get some input from the people in the trenches who know their clientele. don’t just knee jerk hire anything breathing with a license. BTW, why is this worthless twerp worth a sign-on bonus but it is not worth anything to the company to retain me in my present position?

Comment by sumotoad on 2009-08-04 19:58:02 -0700 #

say Kaddish for our profession. Mazl tov…

Comment by walmart rph on 2009-08-04 23:12:00 -0700 #

To Wal-Mart Dm; there are several reasons that you get \shitty RPhs\ on board, you are the ones doing the hiring. You don’t have enough pharmacists because of the shortage. You open stores until 9:00 pm that have no business being opened until that time because \YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH PHARMACISTS IN THE FIRST PLACE!\ You hire a second pharmacist so you can open the store until 9:00 pm, but you then promptly move them to fill the holes you can’t cover because YOU HAD NO BUSINESS OPENING THE STORE UNTIL 9:00 PM IN THE FIRST PLACE. Mr DM, you then have the audacity to tell the pharmacists they must work 12 hours without a second pharmacist because the pharmacist needs to fill a certain script volume before that can happen. Now depending on what numbers you care to share, you then conveniently leave out the middle numbers, ie; 0 to 1500 scripts, 80 hours a week (7 days), however in speaking with another RPh, he said, no that’s not right…0 to 1250 scripts is 80 hrs, 1251-1500 hrs is 90 HOURS of RPh hours, SO YOU LEFT OUT THAT EXTRA 10 HOURS SO YOU COULD BE A HERO AND YOUR UNDESERVING BONUS COULD SKYROCKET!! You can’t fire the pharmacists because you don’t have enough of them and you have them doing such ridiculous nonsense all of the time we can’t get anything done. I deeply care about what I do and I want to take care of my patients. I worry constantly about errors and I cry worrying about it. I don’t want a bunch of different RPhs floating into my store, the biggest complaint I hear is the patients never see the same pharmacist. I had no say so in my \partner,\ which is very frustrating. The $4 program is a joke, the only reason the company does this is to get more customers buying in other parts of the store. Believe it or not I like my job for the most part,I love my staff and demand a lot from them, but they consistently step up, and I would be lost without them. I try my best to not leave anyone on hold for a long time, especially my peers…but sometimes it happens unfortunately. Don’t even get me started on the \open design\ of the pharmacy.

Comment by walmart rph on 2009-08-04 23:24:21 -0700 #

I agree 100%. DM, stop hiring RPhs who only have a license and a pulse to offer. When I was hired, I was told to treat this pharmacy as my own business. I took that to heart and I have poured myself into that concept. I don’t hesitate to tell you what I think, I intend to do what I need to do to operate safely,lawfully, and effectively. I will spend my time taking care of my patients (yes, they are patients here,not customers). I have a very loyal patient base and they know it. You need to take care of the pharmacists you have.

Comment by walmart rph on 2009-08-04 23:53:15 -0700 #

Bull, I don’t believe you. Yes, you are correct that most of the DMs are NOT pharmacists (this is a whole other rant), but I flat out don’t believe you when you say some pharmacists go on to be store managers or the manager of sporting goods. That’s a load of crap if I ever heard one. I also don’t believe that there are pharmacy managers in Wal-Mart that aren’t pharmacists. I have never heard of that, and I have worked here a long time.

Comment by walmart rph on 2009-08-04 23:56:20 -0700 #

Susan, I am so sorry you had that experience (I truly mean that), I work for Wal-Mart and really try to avoid leaving someone on hold, especially a fellow pharmacist. We all have crappy days now and then, and days when our patience is short-fused.

Comment by walmart rph on 2009-08-05 00:06:58 -0700 #

I don’t jump to do transfers/refills either…every error I have made has had to do with trying to go to fast. Patients can be trained to be courteous (to a point). I don’t care either how long they have to wait. I am the only pharmacist on duty, I am not there to go as fast as I can because the patient has a plane to catch, going on vacation (by the way, the vacation took some degree of planning, I am there to monitor drug therapy. We have to demand respect and put customers in their place when needed.

Comment by John on 2009-08-05 04:04:18 -0700 #

Whilst the big chains still mess people around it helps us independent pharmacies. If you want an impersonal service where they really don’t care, use a big low cost chain.. if you want proper advice visit your local pharmacy.

Comment by ORINDI on 2009-08-05 13:53:40 -0700 #

If your voicemail doesn’t print a call ticket when someone leaves a message, your shitty system needs to be replaced. I have had voicetech for years and it prints a call ticket on a small dot matrix printer every 15 minutes untill you check the damn thing. Can’t imagine working without it.

As for faxing, no question it is the BEST way to give and recieve transfers. The overwhelming majority of the time, it is readable, quicker, more professional and eliminates errors. I am sick of chains that resist it. There is no good reason not to do it. Verbal transfers are a total waste of time.

Comment by ORINDI on 2009-08-05 14:17:36 -0700 #

Ahhhhh this is why I quit Walmart 10 years ago. I was working next to a drugged out RPH, that hated life and hated work, all he did was complain all day long, they just want boddies and don’t care about the quality of the person. Thanks for reminding me.

Comment by jeepfreak2002 on 2009-08-05 15:21:37 -0700 #

As an owner of 4 Independent pharmacies, let me offer this solution to my kin: never transfer an Rx. Tell the customer that you would prefer to call the MD for an entirely new Rx (or don’t tell them and just do it)

There is a BIG reason that you do not want to transfer their rx’s out of a chain. They run transfer reports. A week later they are sending $25 gift certificates in the mail trying to blow the customer to come back. Meanwhile, all they had to do was offer half decent service. Keep it under the radar, man.

This policy really does not apply to controls (I’m not a total whore) but as for maint. meds… I always say – “Let’s start fresh, and get all new Rx’s” The customers LOVE that and can’t believe that a pharmacy would call their MD and get new Rx’s for all 12 of their maint meds… As a bonus, it avoids dealing with all of the fuck up’s from the other pharmacy… They have 2.789 refills remaining… seriously, WTF??

NEVER TRANSFER AN RX. Let it die at the other pharmacy. My 2cents.

Oh the difference of being paid by the Rx instead of by the hour. Keep ranting TAP!!!!!!!

Comment by $4 Slave on 2009-08-05 16:44:17 -0700 #

oh it always gets better when your DM isnt a pharmacist. Doesnt know jack sh*t what you go through. Buy hey…since he is willing to be someone’s B*tch and say how high when asked to jump…then guess what ..YOU ARE HIRED!! Now im stuck with with an ingnorant dumnf*ck who only looks at #’s, delegates nonsence cause of laziness, and nickpicks at stoooooooooooopid stuff. Key example: someone went on leave. We are short. It gets better…we are also 1 Rph short. Now we started to get a floater…but ohhhh no. We cant have that kind of luxury….its called a day off. Nope…the floater was costing too much so it got taken away. So what to do? Have a pharmacy in chaos on a daily basis or work extra to keep it under control? Yes, Im the sad f*ck who worked extra (not for money) to try and keep things normal. Does he give a flying f*ck what I go thorugh? Nope. But hey….its no big deal. I get a call from him to ask if I can spare a tech for another store? why? well that store is only going to have 2 rphs and 3 techs and 2 cashiers that day. they are going to be short. And I say to him….” Ive been solo with only 3 techs…..sometimes had only 2 and no cashiners at all I dont see why they need it?” SILENCE from him. Just says to call him back if someone wanted the extra day. Bigger kicker: that store always gets more help while my store has less and we do the same volume as they do.

So again….its not that I leave you waiting on purpose…no one cares about us. They dont care who they hire as long as a body is there. And then when you are faced doing the job of 2 Rph’s while another is sitting on their @ss getting paid for it, complaining gets you no where, except labeling you as someone who is stubborn/wont get with the plan. When in reality is the one who cares and works her @ss off and gets nothing but grief in that it will NEVER be good enough

Comment by $4 Slave on 2009-08-05 16:59:17 -0700 #


100% true. Its sad when I say Im willing to give back a bonus and take a paycut to have enough help to take away my stress and take care of people like they should.

What about the new ” cal your patients if they dont pick up their rx’s” Yeah, I got time to tell people who dont to do that when waiting on people who are physically at my store needing their medication.

I lucked out with my remodel…Im not getting an open layout…THANK YOU GOD!!

Comment by TexasRPh on 2009-08-05 18:10:41 -0700 #

I can’t believe how ignorant some people are to TRULY believe that this only happens at Wal Mart. You, as a pharmacist, can practice pharmacy the way YOU want to practice pharmacy. Yes, we do have to follow corporate regulations but there are NOT huge differences between retail companies. Wake up people… its our profession. Its up to YOU, the pharmacist to take care of each other. It has NOTHING to do with the company you work for. This is what is wrong with our profession!! We only have each other to blame. You can make an argument about something against any chain drug store… at least I don’t have someone monitoring how many rings it is BEFORE I pick up the telephone! Ha.

Comment by another pharmacist on 2009-08-05 19:09:17 -0700 #

I’m really surprised by all the unhappy Wal-Mart Pharmacists (not really). I know they expect more than a lot from you and do not give you enough help. I used to work there in one of their busiest stores. But frankly, you continue to work there while others are hiring. You continue to work for non-pharmacist managers. You stay there while they expect you to check over 300 scripts on your shift– while they are expecting mandatory counseling on all new scripts. There are other positions out there that are not as bad as Wal-Mart.
Now if we could only get our colleagues to realize that 12 hour shifts are hazardous to our health, we might get somewhere. I know there are a lot of us who like the 12 hours shifts because you get more days off, but working those long days allow the chains to run Pharmacy on the cheap. If they all had pharmacists scheduled 8 or 10 hour days, they would have to hire more pharmacist to cover the 7 days. As Jim P. says, we are our own worst enemy.

Comment by another day another $4 on 2009-08-05 19:40:39 -0700 #

slavery has ended, if your situation is that bad stop with the self pity and find a job elsewhere!

Comment by undercover DEA agent on 2009-08-05 22:45:16 -0700 #

well In 20 years of policeing the industry I did’nt know that any state had any authority to say any thing about how drugs were sold and handled
thats why FEDERAL LAW is above state laws , wal-mart wants you to wait and buy something in the store , the best ones I have seen are in small towns ,but TAP is very right lets hold the phone while they do there thing , and watch that crack-head he just might be me getting ready to pull your ticket !! remrember no ticket no JOB , I have had some ask what ticket ??

Comment by $4 Slave on 2009-08-06 04:26:46 -0700 #

Then who is speaking for us? Yeah I know about the organizations and thus far after 10 years I havent seen anything done for us? I find it funny in that they dont want a Dr working 24 hours straight, dont want a piliot working X hours, but hey its OK if your pharmacist is overworked. Ive been through 2 lazy RPh’s…..complained as much as a person could complain. NOTHING! Only thing that mattered was the HOLE was filled. Im pretty sure thats what a DM is told on the first day. And now that my DM was a previous store manager, he knows all the tricks to trim a budget so he looks GOOD while we suffer. Case in point, he makes sure 1 sore gets all the help they need. I went through a hellish 5 month period with a floater taken away, tech on leave, forcing me to work extra. 1 place gets 1 person absent….wahhhhhhhh we need help. And he makes sure they get it. I know it may seem a shcok to some people, but if they actually get off their @ss to work….alot could get accomplished.

I would leave if I could right now. Walgreens is starting to pop up in my area. But after looking at Walgreens POWER and comments on that, it wouldnt be the wisest move. Rite Aid…WRONG aid is only getting worse and every store in my area is looking for a body. Translation: which means you will be short handed.

Its a shame the profession got so f*cked up.

Comment by $4 Hater on 2009-08-06 12:39:31 -0700 #

I agree about the wait time for copies at Walmart, in my experience I’ve always been put on hold for > 5 min. and when my line does get picked up the pharmacists are not as friendly as other retailers. My biggest complaint about Walmart is their $4 generic program. My company price matches competitors thus we go to the $4 list to see if a particular drug is on there when a customer requests. Many of the drugs have a little * next to them, meaning that in some states (CA being one of them) the price could be higher than what is on the list. We have to call the local Walmart and get the CA price of the drug. The first thing I get when I ask for a quick price is “are you the patient”? One time I decided to be honest and tell them that I am a pharmacy calling on the patient’s behalf and they denied me the price quote!! How many seconds would it have took you to just look up the darn price on your computer? You’re going to have to do it anyways when my patient calls you! I hate having to lie on the phone to get a price, I’m always afraid my phone lines will start ringing and the person on the line will realize I’m calling from a pharmacy. If your company is going to start a $4 program and market is like crazy you better expect other companies calling you more often to get prices, it’s not like we enjoy having to call you! I am always very nice to anyone who requests one of our drug prices, it only takes a few seconds of my time. I don’t see why Walmart gives us such a hard time anyways, it drastically reduces our gross margin and in some cases we lose money by matching the price (the cost of the drug is more expensive than Walmart’s retail price). They are also very tricky in the fact that they put packaged drugs (like inhalers) on their $4 list and it’s 1/2 or less the doses than the normal stock size, so if you don’t look real close at their list you’ll price match a full quantity product for $4. I really dislike what this chain represents. It’s sad to see so many local businesses suffer when chains like this start expanding and converting their already successful stores into “Super” walmarts. I personally hate dealing with Walmart as a pharmacist and as a consumer, I hate shopping in their dirty and overcrowded stores!

Comment by vulgarfoulbastardpharmacist on 2009-08-06 17:01:11 -0700 #

Undercover DEA agent, I’m glad you are watching over the populace, given your command of the Queen’s English and spelling skilz. Eat a dick.

Comment by DisgruntledIntern on 2009-08-06 17:05:26 -0700 #

That’s not true at all, actually. Just because I work at a big chain doesn’t mean I don’t give a shit about what I do or the people I do it for. This isn’t Walgreens for christ’s sake! : P In all seriousness, I work for a big chain but at a low volume store. We do roughly 1100 scripts per week, which is about half or less of what other stores in our area do. Our service is VERY personalized. We get transfers from other chains (Walgreens) all the time, raving about how great and fast our service is! Yes we have the corporately mandated bullshit we have to do, but the basic pharmacy practice principles are still there regardless of whose name is on the store. Saying people who work for large chains don’t care is nonsense. I love everyone I work with and wouldn’t change it for the world. Are we overworked and underpaid? Of course! Who isn’t?

Comment by drednomad on 2009-08-06 21:41:01 -0700 #

I don’t work at Walmart, but I have left other pharmacists on hold for a long time when they call for transfers (not out of spite!) when I’m really busy. SORRY! I’ll try to get there faster in the future.

Comment by kizell on 2009-08-06 21:51:24 -0700 #

I don’t mind waiting a little for a transfer, but being on hold for 10 minutes is fucking horseshit. That’s just a lack of respect to your professional brethren. But the real reason I think transfers can take so long is b/c pharmacists are so severly understaffed. I don’t think anything can make a pharmacist’s day more shitty than a lack of help

Over the past two days I’ve filled in at pharmacy on an island of the coast of Georgia, so lots and lots of vactioners. So as you can imagine, I have had to do lots of transfers for people who \forgot their medicines.\ Every time I hear that statement I just want to jump accross the counter and choke someone. These motherfuckers will make damn sure they pack the ham sandwiches, that new bikini, the five pounds of makeup, the dogfood for the pet, ect, but will always seem to forget their life-saving heart medicine. Blows my fucking mind. So naturally I have to call and get multiple transfers throughout the day that put me well behind. Not to mention figure out how to get their insurance to pay for their valium and vicodin that was written for them in Michigan (and I have no doctor info on the script either)………just the kind of shit you deal with when you work in a vacation area

Comment by M. Augustine on 2009-08-07 15:25:08 -0700 #

I fill in at various pharmacies with an agency. It is not surprising that the pharmacies with the most unfriendly computer system or unsmooth tech/pharmacy protocols cannot work together to perform all functions in an efficient manner.

However, every time I work at a different Wal-mart it is a different story. The shops that consistently meet the standards as set forth by company execs as well as provide adequately and budget their help, supplies, etc. allow me in my ‘untrained’ state to do what is necessary in an organized manner.

We use the fax as well as possible, and when pharmacists call and wait to speak to me for a transfer I recognize that it’s an encumbrance for them as well as I, and attempt to explain what is going on as best as possible. When the rush becomes a tidal wave, I let the techs handle triage. Wait times for transfers increase as the busyness, dishevelment factor, and disorganized tech routines increase. I have worked at Wal-marts, and Target, and K-mart, and many small grocery-store type chains, etc. where I have had to apologize to a pharmacist that I cannot access the necessary information right away and must call them back. If it is an emergency or the customer is staring them in the face, I have to go with the my best decision about my patients staring me in the face, etc. Each situation is different.

However, I have started developing a personal rule about getting a transfer from a mail-order facility–very strongly discourage it, due to universal experience that wait times are consistently longer than 45 minutes, which is a bit long to tie up the phone even when putting it on loudspeaker.

Comment by this is crazy on 2009-08-08 07:52:14 -0700 #

The Wal-Mart pharmacist gets paid the same amount no matter if they sell you something or not. I have advised many people against wasting their money on something that won’t help them. On the other hand the local pharmacist gets paid by what they sell. I try to spend as much time with a patient as possible. I am one of those pharmacists that wants to help people. If people have to wait a litle longer for their prescriptions because I am helping someone else I hope they have enough smarts to realize I will give them the same courtesy. By the way CVS is the main culprit of wait times in our area. If someone gets mad at us for our wait times and transfers to CVS we just laugh.

Comment by anonymous on 2009-08-08 11:10:58 -0700 #

For an undercover DEA agent you sure do lack in the “english” department.

Comment by peon on 2009-08-08 11:34:28 -0700 #

I work at Wal-Mart and the one pharmacy that I hate to call is Walgreens. In my area, Walgreens has the longest wait time to get a transfer. When I am told another pharmacist is on the phone, I will get to it as soon as possible. I am thinking about that other pharmacist. My guess is that wait times for transfers depend a lot on the individual store and not particularly the chain.
As to the Wal-Mart pharmacy manager, I can only say that, from my experience, there is not enough investigating of potential new hires. Pharmacy managers hire these folks that are problems and they create problems for everyone with whom they come in contact. I worked at part time at a Wal-Mart pharmacy and another pharmacist, working part time, whined to a regional about her situation and she was given my job at that store. She made so many mistakes that she was finally let go. The whole situation could have been avoided if the regional and dm had asked some questions of their fellow pharmacists about her. I have only been asked, maybe once or twice, in 15 years about another pharmacist by a DM. Having worked all over the northern part of my state for Wal-Mart, I have a good knowledge of pharmacists in the area. What I have found is that DM’s and pharmacy managers don’t necessarily make the best decisions when hiring someone. An assistant pharmacy manager hired a tech because the tech had given the “best interview” the pharmacist had every seen. Turned out that the tech was one of the worst we ever had. Always make inquiries with the pharmacists in the area that know the potential new hire. That can save a heck of a lot of trouble for everyone.

Comment by RphMadAsHell on 2009-08-08 21:36:50 -0700 #

I find it funny that we bitch at one another about trival things like this. I mean really? We get paid all this money to stand there all day and put tablets in bottles and then in bags and then give to people. And then have the opprotunity to improve outcomes, and what do we do? Bitch about it. Not enough time, money, help, phone lines, reimbursement, etc etc.

The country is at 10% unemployment, budgets arent passed, healthcare up in the air, houses for sale, 2 wars going on, etc etc.

And you want to bitch about having to be on hold while living the highlife.


Comment by Anthony on 2009-08-10 10:48:43 -0700 #

And blame us for not standing our ground. I honestly have seen many techs get away with murder and not get fired for PETTY crap, so if we as pharmacists were to stand our ground AS PROFESSIONALS about going too fast, the corporates would bumble and sputter but there’s not much they could really do about it. Put them in a position of firing us for being careful… that’s solid ground for them, eh?!!?

Comment by PharmIntern on 2009-08-10 20:47:51 -0700 #

“I find it funny that we bitch at one another about trival things like this.”

Trivial? YOU try calling it “trivial” after YOU’VE been on hold with XXX chain pharmacy for 30 minutes for a fucking copy, usually for no damn good reason.

According to your logic, why should anyone bitch, piss, moan, or otherwise complain about anything? We’re all ALIVE, aren’t we? We’re all living and breathing, aren’t we? Why should we complain about ANYTHING? Isn’t that as good as it gets?

While work is supposed to be just that, “work”, it shouldn’t have to make us miserable. The opportunities that we have to improve outcomes are usually more of a pain in the ass than anything else. “Improving Outcomes”, my ass; it usually ends up annoying people more often than not.

No matter how much one is compensated for their work, their work will still more often than not beat the life out of them. I could be paid $1 million a year to be a pharmacist, and I guarantee you I’d still bitch about *something*.

It’s human nature. Get over it.

Comment by Fee on 2009-08-11 13:54:47 -0700 #

Hi there.

I recently wrote/shot a web series pilot called “Hard to Swallow” based on my experiences working at a small retail pharmacy. Found your blog and thought you might find it humorous.

Hope you enjoy it and share with whomever might need/enjoy a 6 minute break.

or try

Comment by scary apothecary on 2009-08-11 16:47:52 -0700 #

WAIT! Maybe the pharmacist was on their lunch break! The WalMarts by me give their pharmacists an ACTUAL LUNCH BREAK. WTF is that? I would pay money for a lunch break…but I work for the state, so no luck there. I tried calling in a prescription once (I work in a clinic, too) to a WalMart, but had to talk to someone about it (can’t remember why)….not only did the phone ring and ring and ring and bounce me back to the brain trust at “customer service” like 4 TIMES, but, when I alerted the pharmacist to the fact that his automated system wasn’t working and the phone kept ringing while no one picked up, he accused me of dialing the wrong number. Yeah, sure, I’m that stupid. Wonder how many customers he lost while I was trying to call and get through, too? I guess they figure with $4 prescriptions, why WOULDN’T people flock there??? SOOOO proud of my “colleagues.”

Comment by kizell on 2009-08-11 17:42:59 -0700 #

Wal-mart is fucking despicable. No doubt about it.

Comment by boston intern on 2009-08-12 19:28:45 -0700 #

im with yon u man but i think a certain chain whos name is composed of 3 letters takes a close 2nd if not a tie with wal mart

Comment by RphMadAsHell on 2009-08-13 04:29:21 -0700 #

Yes, you are entitled to bitch and moan. It is your right. But because u have that right, it doesnt make it right.

This seems to be a more common occurence in the field nowadays, rphs whining and moaning about every little thing. So you were on hold. Get over it. Tech called off. Suck it up.

It seems that we are a field where we think we are owed something automatically. I dont get it myself. The field has changed since 20 years ago.

If you find that improving outcomes is worthless and your patients are annoying, then I think you are the one with the problem. Bitching and moaning about it is the easy way out. I dont find it constructive to have a site where we slash each other down in order to make one feel better when they go to bed at night. Doesnt make sense. You went to school and signed on for the job. You knew what u were getting into, and you can see where the market is heading now.

Comment by rph2005 on 2009-08-13 08:23:02 -0700 #

I’ve worked for WalMart for almost a decade and I’ve NEVER, EVER seen a Pharmacist EVER go to Division 1 for ANY employment. Further…you can’t transfer over with the same rate of pay – you have to take a demotion. Further, what most don’t know is that a Pharmacist has the same level of management/authority as the store manager. So, sorry PillPharmer…you’re full of shit.

Comment by rph2005 on 2009-08-13 08:27:35 -0700 #

Suzanne…that’s aweful. I’m a WalMart pharmacist. I’m not going to make any excuses for any other Pharmacist…I just don’t work that way. It really bothers me that my integrity might be compromised by someone elses shitty behavior. I too have waited long periods for transfers from other stores/companies and I get annoyed…but I don’t retaliate and still treat every pharmacist I come in contact with with the same respect I expect from them.

Comment by rph2005 on 2009-08-13 08:30:02 -0700 #

LOL! Faxing is a waste of paper especially when there are no refills left!!…go green ORINDI, go green!

Comment by rph2005 on 2009-08-13 08:33:39 -0700 #

Wow…WalMart Pharmacy is great to work for…I’ve been there for about a decade now. They work with my schedule, I get vacations and time off when I need it. I’m maxed out on my Pharmacist to tech ratio resulting in fabulous staffing and patient care. Perhaps your friend the Pharmacist/Attorney stirs the shit unnecessarily and has become viewed as a problem…or maybe he’s just an unhappy person in general. You know, there are people out there who go their entire life with their glass half empty.

Comment by rph2005 on 2009-08-13 08:47:09 -0700 #

I’m curious if Walmart DM is a pharmacist…

Comment by rph2005 on 2009-08-13 09:05:24 -0700 #

Lol! So…you’re pissed because the phone system was out of the Pharmacist’s control and he might not have known there was a problem? …or are you pissed because you had to talk to a customer service associate – a non-pharmacy employee? …or are you pissed because the Pharmacist received your call from the store line (it shows on our phone) and thought that was where the call originated from and “accused” you of dialing the wrong number? …or are you pissed because that Pharmacist gets a lunch and you don’t? Wow…you appear to be pissed on a whole host of levels…perhaps you need a vacation…life really isn’t that bad!!

Comment by rph2005 on 2009-08-13 09:07:42 -0700 #

Hmmm… The 450 to 500 prescriptions I fill each day and the thanks I receive from my patients by way of cards, chocolate and flowers don’t seem to mesh with your opinion… But…opinions are like assholes…everyone’s got one! Have fun with that!!

Comment by rph2005 on 2009-08-13 09:11:45 -0700 #

Dear Angry Pharmacist,

I promise never to do that to you.

“I’ve reached my threshold” on this issue too and refuse to respond in kind.

Comment by rph2005 on 2009-08-13 09:17:14 -0700 #

Wow! That message is one hot mess. Pull my “ticket”? Is that special verbage they did’t teach me while I was getting my doctorate…did I miss out on some “special ed”? Further…you should know that some state laws are more strict that your beloved federal law…in cases where the aforementioned is true, state law supercedes federal law. See? Yeah…now that’s the “ticket”…

Comment by paperboyditty on 2009-08-13 09:41:05 -0700 #

One thing I do not like is when another pharmacy has their tech call my pharmacy for a copy when my state law states it must be given pharmacist to pharmacist. (no mention that it has to be by phone so fax is ok). So I ask to speak to the pharmacist and then they put me on hold when they are the ones asking for the copy. Luckily they don’t have to wait on hold for long since I’ll give them 10-20 seconds and then I hang up.

Comment by Mango Girl on 2009-08-13 16:45:12 -0700 #

I hate Wally World.

Comment by steve on 2009-08-14 17:21:17 -0700 #

A few weeks ago I called our local walmart for a copy and spent a total of 50 minutes on hold. During that time i hung up twice and called back. I finally asked the girl that had answered the phone each time if the pharmacist was even there. She said he was out shopping in the store!!! What the hell?!?! For 50 minutes! I have yet to call that walmart and be on hold anything less than 10 minutes. The last time I called there the girl told me that it would me a minute or so and I asked her “Let me Guess he is in the magazine isle?” She kindly confirmed that I was correct. Man….i would hate to have her job.

Comment by kizell on 2009-08-14 18:52:28 -0700 #

All that thanks just to feed corporate giant that doesn’t give a flying fuck who are, or that you’re even there. Wal-mart is the biggest fucking welfare corporation on the planet, getting tons and tons in subsidies every year. This whole $4 nonsense simply does not happen without government intervention, or should I say, government favoritism. Whether or not you enjoy your job does not make Wal-mart any less a piece of shit organization. So yes, wal-mart is fucking despicable.

Comment by walmart rph on 2009-08-14 23:00:58 -0700 #

no,most DMs are NOT pharmacists. Wal-Mart doesn’t like having pharmacists for DMs. The pharmcists make more money as a pharmacist. It wasn’t too bad when our regionals were pharmacists (we had two pharmacist regional managers before our current idiot),so it was reasonable. Now are regional is completely clueless along with 90% of our DMs.

Comment by rph2005 on 2009-08-15 18:23:36 -0700 #

Maybe it’s that I see things differently than you do…I don’t work for any company – I work for my patients. If I can make a difference to one person I’m happy. It’s too bad you’re so narrow minded that you can’t see there are ways to use companies that have this type of power to many patient’s best interest. Stop focusing on things that are out of your circle of influence and make a difference in the areas that are…you’ll find that the latter starts to get bigger.

And just so you know…I don’t give a shit whether they care about me or not – I get 4 weeks of vacation, I make more than most Pharmacists, I get great tech coverage and I’m excluded from the store management (an island unto myself). The people I work for are my patients and those that are waiting for me at home!

Comment by rph2005 on 2009-08-15 18:37:26 -0700 #

Hmmm…under our new management structure, we don’t have DM’s – we have a “market manager” which is overseen by a “regional”…and for the last 12 years we had a Pharmacist that was our DM…in fact WA, OR, ID and AK had DMs that were Pharmacists. I know that my DM was offered the new job but declined because she had acrued 40 weeks of paid time off and wanted to take some time for her family but will return as a pharmacist in the district she managed.

Comment by MtVernator on 2009-08-16 04:02:58 -0700 #

What do you expect from an individual that is suppose to be a health professional and allows their employer to sell their profession out for $4 a bottle. The Walmart $4 prescription is going to create more and more pharmacists like the one you had to deal with. I do not understand how pharmacists that work for $4 chains or the ones that give their services away free with antibiotic giveaways, talk about unprofessional drug resistant retarded corporate policy, can live with themselves. Those pharmacists can’t have much self respect. It is all about concentrating the wealth and crushing the little guy.

Comment by JC on 2009-08-16 15:34:02 -0700 #

I HATE walmart. I didn’t have rx insurance for a short while and long story short, I went to walmart to fill my z-pak. They told me to come back (didnt even ask if i will be waiting) in 1 hour. I went back an hour and half later, it was not ready.. Went to complain to the lady at the in window (and mind you i had absolutely no voice) who plainly looks at me with the bull shit reply “I dont know, I only work the in-window” F-ing A lady, cant you just yell out my last name and ask the lazy ass pharmacist if it’s ready or not? They are slow, mindless, lazy ass munches that shouldn’t offer any pharmacy services. And I interviewed with a district manager when looking for a job.. he was a tool as well. anyways, i think Walmart as a whole enterprise is the devil and it should go bankrupt. But of course we all know it thrives on the ghetto population. I have decided to stop contributing my hard earned money to those greedy bastards.

Comment by JC on 2009-08-16 15:36:50 -0700 #

then dont read his site.. it’s an outlet for people who need to blow some steam off. I guess you never bitch about anything trivial. byung-shin

Comment by kizell on 2009-08-16 18:17:27 -0700 #

Wal-mart has never done one fucking thing in the interests of the public. Everything they do is to try and run other businesses out of town, including the $4 shit in pharmacy. To think that wal-mart gives a shit about it’s customers/patients is very naive. And you don’t work for your patients, you work for the government being as pharmacy has been taken over by the government. If you would like clarification on this, I’ll be happy to explain.

Comment by Ozzy West on 2009-08-16 20:49:23 -0700 #


The very first thing i got when I became an Indy Pharmacist was a cordless headset. No more pinching the telephone on my shoulder. Well, actually, I got my very own Red Stapler too.

Get a headset. Become Free.


Comment by Ozzy West on 2009-08-16 21:09:15 -0700 #

It has been 137 days since I have been in Wally World. I basically try to never shop there. Sometimes, at 3am or whatever, I just have to go there because they are they only ones open in town.


Comment by RxChick on 2009-08-17 04:48:12 -0700 #

I work for Wal-Mart too, and there is a pharmacist who became the regional distributor of jewelry on the east coast.

Comment by indieintern on 2009-08-17 17:40:52 -0700 #

Here the hold times for Wal-mart are about equal to Walgreens both not great, but usually not too bad. However a Walmart around here tells patients who want to transfer a prescription to them to call their pharmacy and have them call Walmart. So instead of them just calling us and getting the script; the patient has to call us and we have to call them. Nothing makes me madder than sitting on hold to give them a script and give them business that they were too lazy to get themselves. Thank goodness we only transfer about one script to them for every 10 we take.

Comment by PissedOffPharmD on 2009-08-17 21:16:17 -0700 #


Dear bitchy technicians,

Guess what, I’m a fucking pharmacist and you’re not.
I went through 6 years of hell to be called Dr. and you didn’t. (oh that’s right, I don’t even make you whores call me Dr.)
I make $120,000, and you don’t.


I don’t give a shit if you think you know better than me. You don’t. (please refer to the 2nd line). So go ahead and rub it in my face that you’re all gonna go out on Friday and get drunk without me. Oh wait, that’s right, I DO THAT EVERY FUCKING WEEKEND ANYWAY, only I do it with people who are interesting, hot, and make more than $4 per hour. Hell, we make more than $40/hr. Welcome to my world.

Just realize that the more you talk shit just makes me (and everyone else) pity you even more, you pathetic pieces of shit.

Here’s what I AM sorry about:
I’m sorry I didn’t have 2 illegitimate children before I had a high school diploma (that’s the big piece of paper people get after 12th grade).
I’m sorry I can spell illegitimate.
I’m sorry I don’t have to plan things around my babysitter’s/baby daddy’s/mother-in-law’s/probably-all-of-the-above’s schedule.
I’m sorry that I didn’t get a divorce before I was legally allowed to drive (and possibly legally allowed to get married).
I’m sorry that I don’t care about the new Disney Pixar movie or if Nemo found his way back. Fuck Nemo, I ate him for lunch.
I’m sorry if every time I see pictures of your ugly ass kids, I envy chemo patients for having less nausea than I do.
I’m sorry if my prudishness leads me to NOT sleep with a guy on the first date, or before that, for that matter.

Here’s a tip, when you go school shopping for your kids, you might wanna buy two backpacks: 1 to put on their back and 1 to put on their head. Oh and don’t invest in safety scissors–do the world a favor and let fate (ahem, Darwinism) take it’s course.

So bitches, rant about how you wanna kick my pretty little face in with your damn ho-boots that my fucking tax dollars paid for. Just remember one thing, your kids’ skulls make a nice popping sound under my tire.

Warmest regards,
Dr. Pissed Off, PharmD

Comment by LK on 2009-08-17 22:52:10 -0700 #

Today while at work at a chain pharmacy in Ohio I called an independent in California for 4 transfers. I was dreading it since getting 4 transfers from anywhere blows, espeically across the country with doctors not on file. I have to admit, it was probably the easiest fucking transfer I have ever done. I called, spoke to the pharmacist who took my prescription numbers and in seriously less than 5 minutes I was sent the 4 transfers, all of the patient and insurance information and even all of the doctor’s information. Holy shit, the pharmacy across the street doesn’t even do me that kind of favor and I know them! Your state (or atleast that pharmacist) is fucking awesome.
From, intern in ohio. (whose good mood was later ruined by crackheads and people bitching about copays)
ps walmart is a piece of shit

Comment by glorified tech (i.e. 1st year intern) on 2009-08-18 22:56:28 -0700 #

After Mr. Plagakasis’s interesting article, there was a reply in the August Drug Topics… I did find the original article an interesting story and realize that that is probably the exception and not the norm. But, the pharmacist who saw fit to reply directly insulted the store that I work at. Maybe instead of complaining about this and big-box chain stores, people **cough PHARMACISTS*** could realize that while some people may perform shenanigans like those mentioned in his article, most of the time they are simply swamped. If you call us on a busy day when we have two pharmacists, one of whom is slower than molasses in -50 degree weather, you can expect a wait. I feel bad when I tell someone it’s an hour wait because we have 60 scripts that the pharmacist has to look at before they get to yours. Imagine how I feel asking them to come back the second or third time (although, to be honest, I try really really hard to make sure I get it done when they come back to me).
Pharmacist, doctor, nurse, severely annoyed customer, whoever you might be, you’ll probably wait on a day like this. Maybe think about the 700+ scripts we are doing to your 150. You have half the staff we do, and do less than a quarter of the prescriptions, so do the math. So many people say that they wouldn’t do retail if it were their last option, and WHY?? because we’re understaffed, over-worked, and extremely busy!! So, thank you, Mr Pharmacy manager of the pharmacy in a grocery store in a town of less than 100,000, for your insight into the situation at your local big-box chain store.

And to every pharmacist who has to wait for said shenanigans to be completed, I hope that you don’t have to go through that often and promise to aspire to be attentive, pleasant, thorough, and expedient in giving you your copies when I’m in that place.

Comment by IntheKNowing on 2009-08-19 08:34:09 -0700 #

I work at a wal-mart pharmacy and i will agree w/ you that the service can be shitty because for one thing most of the time the person who picks up the phone is a clerk who at wal-mart can’t do a damn thing for you except put you on hold and tell the appropriate person that you are there and hope they pick-up before you get sick of waiting and call back to yell at you for putting them on hold…however because i get to hear this on an almost daily basis because it pisses of our pharmacist you really should note that wal-mart policy NOT DEA regulations do not allow wal-mart pharmacies to fax transfers/copies to other pharmacies they HAVE to TALK to A REAL LIVE PERSON at the other pharmacy. And as for the poor customer service i would really love to see you do the volume of business that we do as drastically short handed as we are. Also i will agree that the pharmacy district managers should be pharmacists so they know there ass from a hole in the ground and give us what we need…and one last bit that i’m sure you can appreciate the person to hire new pharmacists should be the pharmacy manager NOT the STORE MANAGER or his ASSISTANTS so that the person being hired actually has the qualifications and experience to do the job.

Comment by $4 Slave on 2009-08-19 17:01:45 -0700 #

I enjoyed this. I have a Ms. Suzie Q tech who thinks she knows everything. She tried to get out of work. Wants her cake and eat it too. Plays all the techs on each other…and tries to play the other pharmacists on each other. Reality: she married a guy 10 years older than her because she doesnt know how to make it on her own. And totally depends on his money. That is the only reason why she is part time. Acts like she is above everyone…when in fact shed be no where without her father figure. Your posts makes me realize….Ive worked, sacrificed, and yes I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor….while she has to sponge off someone…I can be confortable and splurge when I want to and not think twice.

Comment by Psquiddy on 2009-08-20 20:52:34 -0700 #

Oh Walmart…how I hate thee. I called them for a copy once. Was placed on hold for 15 minutes for a pharmacist. When they finally picked up the phone, do you think it was the pharmacist? Oh no!!! It was the tech to tell me to leave a call back number because the pharmacist is going to lunch! WTF??!! It makes no sense to me. I was flubbergasted. I will never work for Walmart or get my rx filled there. For some reason, they always have these old ladies who could barely walk work as the front clerk. And they move at a snail pace!

Comment by wmtpharmd on 2009-08-27 18:45:54 -0700 #

Like most people have said life sucks, jobs suck, pharmcy sucks get over it. Walmart is not the only chain that is this way, trust me i’ve dealt with long wait times with everyone independent and chain. Basically we do the best we can. And i doubt most of you on your high horse have always gotten the phone like quick draw mcgraw on every single occasion. And walmart is an easy target, they’re big, they’re busy. We do anywhere from 400 to 600 scripts (800 to 1000 at my old store) a day depending on the time of the month so needless to say customrer service is a little difficult at times but when you all start doing that many per day let me know how yours is. This is the reason why walmart gets picked on anyway, they have the business, volume and customers you will never see. I don’t know about your disctricts but I have been very happy with walmart, they have been very good to me and don’t get me wrong everyone has shit to deal with but we can’t all be ideal, wonderful, love-my-job, i’m so wonderful and customers love me independent pharmacists. (oh and i get an hour paid lunch everyday to leave the pharmacy and do as i please, how many of you can say that?) So basically my point is don’t single out any one pharmacist or one chain, everyone has their problems so deal with it!

Comment by Kimberly on 2009-08-27 22:45:25 -0700 #

I work at at Walmart as a pharmacy technician. I have been a technician for 11 years. I have worked in 3 different environments in those 11 years. The last 2 jobs I have held have been at retail level. I worked community pharmacy for 5 years before I came to Walmart. Yes, I liked the environment better and you get more one on one time with your patients. At Walmart we fill so many prescriptions we do not have this option with all our patients. Working at Walmart, I have come into contact with many people who want something for nothing because we have that stupid $4 list. There are also a lot of people who are thankful that we have it. I know this for a fact, when someone calls my store for a copy , they are usually not on hold very long at all. If I have more than 1 pharmacist on duty , they are helped very quickly. If , for some reason I only have 1 pharmacist, you might have to wait. In the state of VA , I can’t give you the info you want. When I worked community pharmacy, if the pharmacist was busy with a customer or on the phone a lengthy amount of time, you were just stuck and you had to wait. Every one has crappy days and crappy customers. I hate that you feel that you have to pick on Walmart. We have called many other chains as well and have been put on eternal hold too. Just get over it and quit crying about it!

Comment by Kimberly on 2009-08-27 22:58:26 -0700 #

So you think because you have a degree that you are better than technicians! Let me tell you something! Technicians can make or break your pharmacy. Pharmacists that have your attitudes are assholes! It does not matter how much money you make or what you do on the weekend! You WILL be put in your place one day, probably when something happens in your life that you have no control over. You might need one of us little “bitches” to help you. If I worked for you, first thing we would have to do is go to the hospital and get my “ho-boot” out of your ass! I have never or will never get anything for free. I work for every single thing that my family has. You really need to think about how you treat people and how you want to be treated. Just because we don’t make $40 an hour does not mean we are shit! Money is not everything in this world and one day you will realize that you arrogant ass!

Comment by Drugslave on 2009-08-28 15:42:44 -0700 #

Nothing makes a person better than another when it comes to how valuable a life is. BUT, when it comes to being a pharmacist vs a technician. Then I would say: know your roll. You may have some knowledge of whats done, but you do not have the IN DEPTH knowledge we have acquired or continue to get on an annually basis. Just because you hear me repeat the same answer to a question doesnt make your knowledge better than mine. Personally, I work. I dont sit around on my ass all day. I do my job and a tech’s job. So when you say you can “make or break a pharmacy” not with me you cant. I know how to do everything from beginning to end and I can work circles around any tech. Ive even had days where I have been by myself and did everything….then on some days techs had more help than I did and left things in a mess. So do realize this…dont develop a pompus attitute thining that without “you” a pharmacy will be shot down and not be able to survive without you. I could care less who quits on me and they know it. I put in more effort to things than they do, so they know quitting on my will only hurt them in the process. Last thing I cant stand is a Miss Suzi Q technician who thinks she knows it all and without her a pharmacy will implode. Reality is…you can be replaced.

Now as for anyone who is willing to learn, work, and be productive…I give my kudos to those type techincians who also doesnt develop the attitude of thinking they are invisible. Because they are not.

Comment by rph2005 on 2009-08-30 15:18:03 -0700 #

No need to explain kizell…you don’t know what you’re talking about. When you use the word “never” you mess up…”never” is a long time, and you are wrong. You should re-check your sources and look to Children’s Miracle Network and donations each Walmart is REQUIRED (by the company) to donate to the cities they set up house in, as well as REQUIRED (by the company) volunteer community service management does.

…duplication is the finest form of compliment…look to Target, Walgreens and Fred Meyer who have duplicated our efforts ($4 generics…). We aren’t the only pharmacy who recognizes that medication prices have gotten so ridiculous that something has to be done.

Big businesses don’t put small businesses out of business…that is naive…people put businesses out of business by voting with their feet. It’s simple “supply” and “demand”.

…as for “working for the government”… If I worked for the government my benefits would be a lot better than they are! LMAO!! Now THAT is funny… Dude…take a chill pill…

Comment by kizell on 2009-09-03 07:57:12 -0700 #

I love how wal-mart pharmacists think they are the only busy pharmacy in town. On average I fill 400 scripts a day at my store as the ONLY pharmacist on duty. And no one waits longer than 1 minute before I speak to them about a copy. I actually show some respect for my brethren in the profession. I drop what I’m doing as fast as possible and speak to them. And to all you walmart pharmacists who like to blame your dumbass clerks for not adequately alerting you of a pharmacist on hold, shut the fuck up. I’m not going to give you a pass because you can’t properly explain to your retarded clerk the importance of letting you know when another pharmacy is on hold for you.

Comment by DDH on 2009-09-05 09:20:57 -0700 #

I’m not going to apologize for other pharmacists. What they do is their issue. I do know that I do try to get to transfers as soon as I can, as long as I know that they are there! (IE: Sometimes a technician puts a transfer on hold, and I may not have heard them say it, but I have a habit of asking “whose on line (whatever) on hold?”) If I know it might be a few minutes, I’ll have the techs get the pharmacy name, number, patient’s name, DOB, prescription number, and as soon as I get a pause point, I call ’em back. I’m even fair game for the ‘grey area’ here in Texas. Sharing information, then faxing information. I get all of yours, you get all of mine, and I fax you a refill request printout with all the info you need. Well, technically, the two pharmacists did speak. Hence the ‘grey area’ for some. I’m honestly more prone to leave Dr’s offices on hold. *hmm*

Comment by DDH Pharmacist on 2009-09-05 09:50:05 -0700 #

And ironically enough? If you call the main store number, we’ve got them trained to transfer the prescription to 403, which is the same line you’d get if you dialed the pharmacy directly. So for our WalMart pharmacy, calling the main store # will put you in the exact same place.

The phone operators could never remember which pharmacy extension was where in the pharmacy, and we got tired of being on the phone that was no where near the workstation that we were working from or we’d have to transfer the call to the extension next to our workstatoin. So we trained the phone operators to send every pharmacy call to 403.

Comment by Take note new Pharmacy graduates on 2009-10-05 12:25:43 -0700 #

The big 4 dollar store has a policy to turnover pharmacists quickly by firing them after x number of mistakes, no matter how trivial a mistake may be. Bagging error is considered a mistake !! It seems that the hardest working Pharmacists (highest output) are the most vulnerable. Bottom line is that no matter how good you are, they invoked this pernicious policy to make sure no Pharmacists has any job security (or can accrue benefits). It is like working with a guillotine jsut above your head ready to drop !! Take note new Pharmacy graduates

Comment by bcmigal on 2009-10-08 12:41:50 -0700 #

Who is this MadasHell person? Did he just develop cerebral/anal inversion or was he born with it?? Since when is a person who takes your life and welfare into his/her hands not worth a dollar a minute? Oh, I forgot…you do not think women are “built” to be pharmacists.

Our chain tracks every movement, including whether or not the phone is answered by 3 rings. But we often have to keep someone on hold a long time. I called our store one day and was kept on hold for 1/2 hour! Both our typists had their hours cut from 40 to 24. Most days they do not work a full shift (anywhere from 3 and 1/2 to 5 hours). The pharmacist types and the production person (tech) must go to the register. Orders are not shelved for 3 days. The pick up line is 6 to 8 deep. The one person running the whole store is unable to provide help. I blame the upper management for this situation. One DM had the chutzpah to ask me me why morale was so low…duh….

So, if I put you an hold, I am sorry. We are a 3 person staff running a 6 person department. I thank heaven that I am still putting the right pills in the right bottles and giving them to the right patient.

So, TAP, please get out there and rant about the deplorable and dangerous (to the public health and ours) working conditions in most chain pharmacies. Or at least, find us an ear who will listen and be able to help.

Comment by Jamie on 2009-10-08 19:45:45 -0700 #

There are some cases where a DM for the pharmacy is not a pharmacist. I’ve worked for Wal-Mart and in the last 6 months I was there, they combined the pharmacy and vision center and the DM for the vision center was then over the pharmacy.

Comment by Jamie on 2009-10-08 19:54:05 -0700 #

I worked at my local Wal-Mart Pharmacy for over 3 years and the only problems I had the entire time were with the customers! All of the management at my store was great, always very polite and friendly, especially my pharmacy manager. It was the big dogs in bentonville that didn’t give a shit about the employees.

Comment by Jamie on 2009-10-08 20:09:26 -0700 #

Wow…a rph that works drop-off and filling? None of our’s have ever done anything but 4-point, visual verify and counsel. I agree that the pharmacist can get pretty busy, seeing as you have to be the ones to counsel and take new scripts and transers, but us techs are just as busy if not busier than the pharmacists here. We have to work drop off, input, fill, order drugs, put up drugs, answer 4-6 phone lines ringing constantly, work insurance claims, call dr offices for rx questions, call insurance because the patient thinks there copay is not right, etc. Sounds like you need some more techs or don’t exaggerate what you do. Oh, and did I mention pharmacist nake probably 8 times what techs do?

Comment by Pharm Student on 2009-10-12 19:35:58 -0700 #

I am a pharmacy student and I am currently taking a communication for pharmacists course, it is really interesting. Basically the book talks about how we really need to start changing our profession because we are being forced to lose our dignity and the only people who care about pharmacists are pharmacists. Not DM’s, not doctors, not patients. The author Berger seems to be trying to fire up a revolution where the pharmacists demand better workig conditions by working at a slow pace, taking time with each patient and even going as far as sending bills to the payer for services rendered such as follow up appointments with patients to see how well medication is working and keeping tabs on each patients recovery and then sending these to the doctor for referrals. He says that if a pharmacist is scared of being fired for performing thier job properly and improving the standard of the profession they should not be because they will have a strong lawsuit against anyone who would fire them and there is an PharmD/J.D. Jesse Vivian that would welcome the oppurtunity to defend any pharmacist who is fired for raising or upholding standards. The book even offers a website to showcase pharmacists that are billing and being paid for offering extra services ( ) If any of you were interested in buying the book it is called : Communication Skills for Pharmacist by Bruce A. Berger and if you wanted to order it offline the ISBN is 1-58212-099-4

I am not trying to sell the book or anything if you think it sounds dumb, don’t buy it! But I am seriously concerned about the future of my chosen profession, if pharmacists just keep dispensing exactly what is written on the rx without offering any other expertise (which we DO have) we really can be replaced by robots, in one form or another.

Comment by noshi on 2009-10-12 21:07:02 -0700 #

Simple answer to this bs concept. Tech myself and I understand the gripe my boss has with copies, sigh. YOU DON’T MAKE MONEY ON OUTBOUND RX’S. A pharmacist will drop all crap to get a doctor call or any other INBOUND RX because it means more money in their pocket. An OUTBOUND one though means loss of profits. You don’t want to give any rx’s but want all the doctor calls for yourself. It’s a _duh_ concept and a flawed concept at that. There should be laws that regulate the copy process but they would probably alienate the chains with literally slavery-like pharmacist only on the floor. (i.e. no clerk or tech). Then again if I was a pharmacist I would never agree to work at a site that had no tech on staff. Too much insurance crap that needs a helping hand to sort out.

Inbound Rx = good (gaining customers)
Outbound Rx = bad (losing customers)

Comment by Edward Leathers on 2009-11-02 06:38:28 -0800 #

I have the opposite problem. I get promt response from chains when I call for coppies/tranfers and have to wait or call back several times when I call independents. I myself work for a chain and do not make anyone wait on the phone unless I am on the other line or with a patient.

Comment by rebecca on 2009-11-18 09:19:51 -0800 #

I work at an independent. Our local walmart is so awful. We even have the doctors line phone number thanks to our current pharmacy manager(ex-walmart manager). It doesn’t matter which line you call, the phone will ring for 5-10 minutes before they even decide to pick it up and acknowledge your need of a transfer and kindly put you on hold. I even once had a walmart pharmacist fuss at me for ringing her phone that long instead of calling back later. I didn’t know what to say. I just thought ” well if you weren’t such a slow ass maybe u could have picked up the phone before I made it ring 50 times or maybe one of your techs could pick up the phone once in a while. Jeez.

Comment by GatorRx on 2009-11-30 10:40:07 -0800 #

First off, its fairly ridiculous to paint ALL Walmart pharmacies with such a broad brush, I think you probably realized this after posting. Outside of your small locale, the problems with getting transfers is related to individual PHARMACISTS rather than any kind of “Corporate philosophy,” as you seem to imply. I mean, do you have a “leaked memo” that says “delay all transfer requests as long as possible.” Watch the pharmacist you speak of go to CVS and money says you’ll have the same problem. It really sounds like you have more a problem with WalMart in general, than any particular filling processes.
As someone who has had the experience of opening a WalMart pharmacy, I did notice an almost systematic resistance to providing timely transfers from surrounding pharmacies, not all but some. In the instance of a nearby grocery store chain, myself or my intern was regularly kept on hold for 20-30 minutes at a time – then after waiting – have the tech or pharmacist there simply hang up and have to start the whole process over. Excuses ranged from “We were busy” to “Oh…sorry.” The next day the same thing all over again. Being able to see across the street at their empty parking lot, they were clearly not “too busy” and simply bold face lying and probably getting a pretty good kick out of it.
You can hate WalMart all you want, but with the $4 generic program, they DID provide EXPANDED ACCESS of medications to patients who couldn’t otherwise afford them and now working in a hospital environment, I have heard the praises of physicians for giving them “options” in prescribing to help get medications to low-income patients. It may be 4 times a day hydralazine with Clonidine for a renally-compromised patient or $4, 30-day supply of an ACE inhibitor to a day laborer with no insurance – but they have changed the landscape of providing patient care for the better. It may have pissed on your parade in your company’s attempts to regain market share, but that is the way it goes in business, which ‘retail pharmacy’ is, in the final analysis.
As for the $4 drug/$4 service, the last time I went in a Walgreens or a CVS, getting thru the tech to speak with the pharmacist wasn’t any easier than at WalMart. Fire up your flame-throwers and let the sparks fly….

Comment by Pharmacy Manager on 2010-03-03 13:13:28 -0800 #

Yeah, but wallly mart doesn’t have a problem calling you for copies, and wanting them promptly. Ever since the $4 generic crap they started (that still pisses me off) is seems like they are even more persistant, but when you call them — forget about it.

Comment by Anonymous on 2010-03-03 15:13:23 -0800 #

Here is the truth,

In any certain company, you are going to have pharmacists that are wonderful, and ones who suck. I work as an intern for Wal-Mart right now, and one of the pharmacists I work with is a total waste of space, and is definitely the person that would leave transfers on hold for 15 minutes at a time and never answer. She has this sort of motivation for just about all the work she does. However, the other pharmacists I work with would go out of their way to make sure that no one was on hold for longer than a few minutes, even if that means that they have to call back when we are not quite as busy. If unnamed crappy pharmacist had decided to work for CVS or Walgreens, you may be complaining about their horrible service as well.

Comment by Adolf, pharm d on 2010-03-09 21:38:47 -0800 #

Walmart is where the Nazi’s went after ww2 ended…look it up. They think you are the fucking Jews and you cowardly, fucking morons don’t know how to organize, so your gonna be exterminated. Soon you’ll all be lucky if you are saying, “Thank you for The Pharmacy at Wal-Mart, This is Rape-Victim, pharm D. How may I help you?” You’ll be lucky to have time to piss, much less ‘offer counseling services’ See what brown nosing gets you, you dumb ass cowardly mother fuckers! Go FUCK YOURSELVES BITCHES

Comment by BummedRPh on 2010-03-10 12:51:05 -0800 #

I agree. If your kids wonder how the Nazi’s came to power, have them work at Walmart for 3 months. They still will not understand, but they will learn that Nazi’s are alive and well today.

Comment by BummedRPh on 2010-03-10 13:09:20 -0800 #

You are right, But,but,but the big but. Look around you, I am fairly sure you will see the one tech. he is talking about.

Comment by BummedRPh on 2010-03-10 13:30:20 -0800 #

I am fairly sure that Walmart prefers young, surgically improve types as the face representing there pharmacy’s. The old are removed. Maybe that is just the way it is around here.

Comment by BummedRPh on 2010-03-10 13:56:06 -0800 #

Around here it is Walgreens that has the longest phone wait times. I have waited an hour and half to get a tech. When she answered I said “god, it must suck to be you”. She laughed, agreed an thanked me for not jumbing down her throat. Thank god I didn’t need to talk to the Pharmacist

Comment by BummedRPh on 2010-03-10 14:11:16 -0800 #

Not Dick Pharmacists, Dick managers that spread the love.

Comment by BummedRPh on 2010-03-10 14:25:01 -0800 #

Slavery is live and well at all the corporate companys I have worked for. Only difference is I pay for my own room & board. They call me at home and expect me to jump so I am not even free in my own home.

Comment by BummedRPh on 2010-03-10 14:42:13 -0800 #

I agree. I have been told by Walmart upper mgmt. That they do not retaliate, disrepect or harass their pharmacists. Now why did I think I would be treated better than the people up front were being treated. I believed them. I was a fool. They were selling lies. That is just one part of the bullshit that a Walmart Pharmacist has to deal with.

Comment by BummedRPh on 2010-03-10 15:15:02 -0800 #

I worked for an independent. We never had to advertise. We just waited for the local corprates to fuck up. In this case Rite Aid was number one, but other corprates also helped to keep us busy. Unfortunately, the rent went up and the owner would have to actually come to work to stay in busines. He said fuck it and retired. Now I am in corprate looking for another indepentent.

Comment by Bill J on 2010-06-12 11:00:43 -0700 #

I hate having to call Walgreens these days for transfers, and I usually tell my customers that it can take up to an hour. The worst part about it is having to talk to those flippin’ customer service reps who are now the Martin Bormann-esque “gatekeepers” for access to a pharmacist. Does anybody know if these people are actually certified technicians? (I would venture to guess not, based on some of the horrific mispronunciations of drug names that some have uttered.)

Every time I call for a transfer, I have to go through this whole rigamarole of giving the Rx number(s), then the patient’s name, DOB, what the medications are…and then 9 times out of 10, when the pharmacist comes on the line, I have to repeat it all again! Requests to “just put me through to the pharmacist, please” are met with attitude, claims of “HIPAA Violations”, or other bullshit of some sort. Now, if I was not provided with the Rx numbers, I am more than happy to give any necessary information for them to find the Rxs I need…but seriously, is all this information necessary for EVERY call?! As if I don’t have enough to do already…

Comment by BHunter on 2010-09-01 22:43:00 -0700 #

@billj: I am a Walgreen’s technician. yes, I am certified. I rarely pronounce drugs wrong, if I am unfamiliar I’ll just spell it. I’m totally capable of giving and recieving copies. I don’t need a rx number, just a dob name and the drug. Or at least what it treats.

Comment by Betsy R on 2010-11-27 22:22:15 -0800 #

I do believe Costco started the $4 scrips.

But sometimes a place can be too cheap, my lil Neighborhood Wal-Mart Pharmacy is a disasters.

I fought bitterly with 2 idiot pharmacists who could not understand that when I had paid them in full for glucometer strips, then Medicare reiumbursed them and not me, Wal-Mart owed me a refund, not Medicare. Both times when it eventually got settled, I eventually got double reimbursed; won’t elaborate. Wal-Mart would rather fork out money and make a mistake than try and fix a problem.

One pharmacy tech snot in Wal-Mart, who was visiting with a friend, told me she could not look up a doctor’s phone number. I told her to give me the phone book, and I would look it up. She didn’t have a phone book. I should have walked out right then and there.

Once Wal-Mart gave me 2 extra bottles of insulin.

I really don’t have a problem if people who stock groceries can’t read or count, but in the pharmacy, I have a problem.

A man, who happened to be married to a hospital RN, told me about a year later that he would not use the pharmacy because he had received prescriptions for other people, inluding heart meds.

My little Neighborhood Wally Mart has umpteen pharmacy and other horror stories of rudeness, etc. They sell sh!t fast in the store and can’t keep it stocked.

I won’t fill drugs there anymore. I finally settled on Target. I think Wally World hires them too fast and doesn’t train them enough. A CVS pharmacist across the street told me his store filled three times as many prescriptions as Wal-Mart.

And now Wal-Mart has its own lil drug plan – avoid!

Comment by WMTech on 2011-05-03 22:11:49 -0700 #

Ok, I work at walmart as a tech. I have one pharmacist who is a complete jackass, he makes EVERYONE (including his own staff) wait at least 10 minutes even when we’re not busy. He argues with customers, and refuses to fill prescriptions because he doesn’t like the persons attitude when he told them it would take an hour to fill a simple medrol dose pack rx. Even if the techs get the script filled, he will leave it in visual verify for 15+ minutes because “If you give someone too good of customer service, they will expect it every time.” I hate this bastard, he leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth but walmart won’t fire him because he has worked there for 20+ years.

On the other hand, I have a pharmacist who would bend over backwards for anyone who comes in, doesn’t let people sit on hold for more than 2 minutes. If an RX takes longer than 25 minutes, we give it to the patient for no charge.

Although I fully agree that walmart has become the spawn of satan’s shit, I don’t think it’s fair to say every walmart pharmacist is bad.

Comment by techie on 2011-05-05 20:52:47 -0700 #

Ive only been here a year, and I gotta say I’m with WMtech here not all of them are shitty it depends who you get but since I’m coming off a hell of a week floating in other stores in my state I’m a little pissy… so sorry about the ensuing rant. my pharmacy is the motherfuckin best though however I do have to admit depending on the time of day and pharmacist on duty ( since they will only allow one at a time due to “payroll constraints”(even though they are salaried members of management so that really makes no fucking sense) I do have to give people wait times of 30 mins but the most I’ve ever given is 45… I usually try to get it out in under 10 though… like I said it depends on who my pharmacist is… god help the customers of we have a floater (unless the customer is a total douchebag in which case they can come back on my day off, or tomorrow, and yes I have said it to those few undesirables who throw a shit fit cause their insurance didn’t cover their Viagra, or ultram, or Vic’s.. tough shit I’m not your insurance company all I can do is call, and that only if you ask nicely otherwise call your damn self). I bug the shit outta my pharmacists to get there asses moving when they are dicking around. no disrespect but if I’m working my ass off and your getting paid wayyy more than me you should be putting a little more effort into it than sitting on the stool verifying scripts “when you feel like it”……yea they do hire fast, I had to teach myself for the first few months I was there, it was sad. luckily I work with two very experienced certified techs. and a new pharmacy manager who actually works…. before these 3 came along we had 4 different managers in as many months. all of them were lazy assholes. we have upwards of 150 totes to fill for them to visual verify, and I can’t tell you how many times I ran out of totes to fill because they would be doing some jackoff bullshit or scrutinizing me for writing the full directions of a zpak out in Spanish for our non English speaking customers, when the sig said UAD I swear I got into an argument with the pharmacist for 25 min. just because they couldn’t speak Spanish, they said they couldn’t verify it and just write out UAD in English even though the script specified Spanish instructions were necessary… ( yes I understand that If you can’t read the directions you cannot do your job, but at least sit there and try to hear me out when I am explaining to you what the fuck each word means, take ONE Spanish class and you’ll know how to read the directions for a zpak….ONE CLASS…especially when half your customer base speaks only Spanish…… you prick). while my store has improved since we got people who actually give 2 shits. I unfortunately can’t say the same for our other stores….I float as a tech because the area I’m in apparently sucks…. a few stores I’ve been too in my immediate area have pharmacists that will stop taking new scripts once they get “too overwhelmed”.. by this I mean the rack filled up… dear god no. how about you do your job and VV rather than chitchat on the phone with your friend in another store for 2 hours about the latest gossip going on with the bosses, she didn’t even double count her c2’s I had to double count them and found errors with at least 50% of them…wtf is wal-mart hiring using a lottery or something? the techs at that store piss me off as well. one took her “15” min break to go grocery shopping and it took her over an hour then she had the balls to come check out at the pharmacy counter, and wouldn’t go back to work till she got the groceries in the car….. I swear to God I almost buried her right there….I’m floating in a store with 2 other techs, no cashier and on top of that grocery shopping bitch the other tech decided he was done for the day at about noon so he went home. fucking hippie bastard. how that store even operates anymore is beyond me. well needless to say I got overtime out the ass cause I was supposed to be there training both of those techs (who have been with the company longer than me) till 2 and didn’t get out of there till 10:00 yeah that’s an HOUR after we are supposed to officially close…. cause I had a line out to basically the middle of the store. and we couldn’t close down cause the pharmacist finally decided to do her job and serve the fucking customers…… jeezus. I lost my shit there for a min… but the whole hold time and copy bullshit even happens from store to store…… hell even checking if a certain store has a drug in stock takes 10 min, cause the tech whose perfectly qualified to turn around look at the shelf and say yay or nay has to transfer me to the pharmacist like a retard. even the pharmacist is wondering why I’m on the phone with them….. god forbid I want to pull someone electronically to my store from another one half these techs don’t know how to use the computers cause I’m always ending up on the phone with the other p[pharmacist and she’s giving me a copy…wtf I’m a tech just click the damn button on the screen that says ” put on hold” so I can pull it over… 2 Fuckin seconds. or god forbid we need to transfer a control and have to actually talk to someone in person you’re on hold 15 min then they ask why you didn’t pull it over electronically.. and oh yea we can’t do controls electronically. you dumb bitch you should know that……. so yea wal-mart to wal-mart is basically a crapshoot just as much as it is for you independents…… it all depends on who you get. and what staff you’re working with…… also my dm and market managers haven’t even tech’ed in the pharmacy once in their lives…. I’m not exaggerating either…. so when they tell me about customer service I remind them that they have their tech licenses on the wall and ” we could use the help” that basically shuts them the fuck up right there. And the customers piss me off on an entirely different level… we have customers that have been coming here for years…….. not even old. Like in their 40’s who show up at 5 min till lunch and actually expect me to fill their script……..NO you come here at least once a week and you “ didn’t realize” that we shut down for half an hour EVERY DAY… get the hell out of here. And I don’t give two shits if you have to catch the bus….. the bus runs every HOUR instead of shopping first take 2 seconds to drop off your script so we can have it ready before we close….. no sympathy for certain repeat offenders at this point. And screw your early refills. Your going on vacation one state over….. have that pharmacy call us we’d be more than happy to transfer your rx when its fillable. I’m going to stop here cause I could go on forever at this point. Once again sorry about the rant it’s been a helluva week and it’s not even over yet……

Comment by Cat on 2011-09-24 08:46:26 -0700 #

If you call CVS and you need to get through to the pharmacist…hit 8001 and it transfers you asap. I think they think corporate is calling or something because it is answered in record time.

Comment by walmart ph on 2011-11-08 20:42:33 -0800 #


Comment by eyzonla on 2012-01-30 12:55:38 -0800 #

All the chain notorious for leave you on hold forever need to adapt that new system that Walgreen’s uses called Transfer Safe which allowa you to transfer prescriptions from them through the internet as long as you have the prescription number, patient’s date of birth and it’s a non-controlled drug you’re good to go. Transferred out in about 3 minutes, no need to talk to a pharmacist nor wait on hold forever. GENIOUS INVENTION ! Best thing ever – Love it !!!

Comment by Labrat on 2012-04-08 09:31:42 -0700 #

I worked as a Tech for a short time (thank God) at Walmart and the Pharmacists definitely did NOT have to do mandatory couseling on new scripts. The patients just signed off on a pinpad; don’t know how they could have kept any Pharmacist working there if this counseling issue was actually required.

Comment by eastcoast walmart rph on 2012-05-26 18:35:57 -0700 #

This is an old rant (and yes I appreciate the brutal honesty of the Angry Pharmacist), so I hope my response will be appreciated. I have worked in a children’s hospital, Walgreens, and now Walmart (yes many evil corporate companies I have worked for). I too have never purposely left another pharmacist on hold. Walmart does require that we counsel on all new prescriptions which can take a lot of time, although where I work, many of the lower socio-economic patients have no desire to wait for such a thing as info on their meds (I even had a mom leave because she did not want to wait the one to two minutes it takes to mix a antibiotic for her child) but will bitch and make a seen over not pronouncing their name correctly. My current DM is not only a non-pharmacist but just transferred from Corporate and claims to have written many of the POM (Pharmacy Operations Manuals) Walmart uses so I am doubly ‘blessed’. Target (already) and Walgreens (within the next year) will not have pharmacist DMS–probably a cost saving measure. I often piss off my DM because I will at times call another area DM, who is a pharmacist, with questions only a pharmacist could answer. Believe it or not, the WORST pharmacist in the area to get copies from is a local independent-he’s a total ass and has left me on hold for more than 15 minutes many, many times. I am not sure how he keeps his customers. I personally get my prescriptions filled by an independent pharmacy not because the hours are convenient (which they aren’t) or the service superior (which sometimes it is not) but because I know the owner, they take my insurance, and to them I am just another customer.

The reason you have never received a faxed copy is because Walmart software does not have the ability to create a faxed copy–Walmart just started doing this when they lost the ESI contract. We can’t even do a screen print. So please know that there are bad pharmacists in every company (independent and non-independent), but there are those of out there that do care about the profession and our fellow pharmacists.

Comment by Alan on 2020-09-02 19:39:35 -0700 #

Spent 3 hours on phone and in person trying to get a med Rx transferred from Walmart to CVS mail order. They both refused to call each other to transfer it! Finally I got a very professional CVS supervisor, as the person I.called told me to have the Dr write a 2nd Rx, who said he would take care of it when he came in tomorrow. Bottom line, Walmart 3 hours and 3 visits, no transfer !

Comment by alan on 2020-09-02 19:44:21 -0700 #

Walmart 3 hours, 3 separate visits, pharmacist refused to transfer my wife’s Rx to Caremark cvs. She said Policy! Fire Walmart never again.