Three Ways to be Considerate to Your Pharmacist

I was busy; occupied measuring water into an apothecary flask. The exact amount of water was used for reconstituting an antibiotic suspension, a prescription for a toddler.

“Hey! Where is your bay rum?” yelled a man from the middle of the store. I ignored him. Someone else was bound to help him as I was busy filling a couple of prescriptions for a young family.

Now pouring water in the antibiotic, he shouts, “Are you deaf? Where’d you hide the bay rum?”

Admittedly, I pursed my lips. Calmly I replied, “Its on the top shelf, about in the middle of aisle two.”

He stomped off. Meanwhile, I was now pouring some cough syrup for the same toddler. The proud and loving parents were patiently waiting.

I finished preparing the prescriptions. I was now counseling the parents on the prescriptions and some over the counter drugs.

My bay rum customer was heading back to the pharmacy counter. I was still visiting with my couple answering their questions. Without thought, courtesy, or respect for the couple or me, he blurts out, “Come out here and show me! You hide stuff so I can’t find anything.”

“In a minute sir, I am helping these people. Then I will be right with you,” was my reply.

He was standing by, extremely close to my pharmacy patrons. I could tell the young couple was uncomfortable with my bay rum customer and were ready to leave. Of course, I did not know for sure, but I am sure that they were intimidated by my bay rum man. I wrapped things up and they were on their way.

What a grump! We walked together to aisle two. Three facings of bay rum, two sizes of name brand and one of the store brand…and exactly where I said it was to be found. He stomped off, criticizing me of not taking care of him promptly, “hiding” merchandise, and ignoring him.

You know in retail, you simply cannot win them all. Impossible.

I say to everybody, retail is a tough way to make a buck. Customer service is paramount to success of a retail merchant, I know that. But you know, I think that the customer has some responsibility too. So here is how to be considerate of your pharmacist and anyone that works retail:

1. Don’t yell from middle of the store and expect immediate attention. The pharmacist, the person in the deli, the man in the paint department, the cosmetician, the clerk in a clothing store just might be busy helping someone else.

2. Please respect the privacy that is needed between a patient and the pharmacist. Don’t stand too close, and do not interrupt, please! Medical advice is considered confidential. Those of us in the health care profession are very aware of that. There are laws called HIPAA.

3. Don’t say, “Where did you ‘hide’ the bay rum?” I assure you, merchants do not hide their products. They fully intend to sell them! Perhaps if you need help in locating an item, or not sure that the store stocks it, inquire. That is good business. But hide them? No way, the store wants a sale.