Has An Asian Dissuasion

| San Francisco, CA, USA | Bigotry, Language & Words

(I work as an intern pharmacist at a pharmacy. Even though I’m still in school, I’m comfortable enough to consult patients on common prescriptions. A woman comes up to pick up some antibiotics and my supervising pharmacist asks me to consult with her on the medication. I am Asian, raised speaking Chinese, but born in Canada and moved to California when I was young, so I speak English and Chinese fluently.)

Woman: “Hi, I’m picking up for [Woman].”

(I find the prescription, and bring it to the counter.)

Me: “All right, I have it here. Have you ever taken this medication before?”

Woman: *screaming behind me at the pharmacist, who is white* “CAN I HAVE YOU HELP ME?”

Me: “Ma’am, I can help you.”

Woman: *still waving at the pharmacist*

(Giving up, I walk behind the counter, and tell my pharmacist what happened. She moves up to take care of the woman. I stay behind the counter, but I can still hear their conversation.)

Pharmacist: “How can I help you?”

Woman: “I’m just picking up my medication.”

(My pharmacist finishes the consultation as usual. When she finishes…)

Woman: *speaking at normal volume* “I don’t know why you have him back there. How do you know if he can even speak English?”

Pharmacist: “Ma’am, he speaks English fluently. He is a current pharmacy student.”

Woman: “But he’s Chinese. No one could understand his English.”

Pharmacist: “Ma’am, his English is fine. Just a good as mine.”

Woman: “I don’t think you should have him here…”

(She walks out like nothing happened. My pharmacist walks back behind the counter.)

Me: “What was she talking about?”

Pharmacist: “I don’t know. I guess she’s either new to the city or she never noticed how many Chinese people are in San Francisco.”

Medicated And Dedicated

| Perth, WA, Australia | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(It has been a quiet day, and I happen to overhear this conversation between my coworker and the customer. I decided to intervene at one point.)

Customer: “Hi, I’d like to buy a packet of [Medication].”

Coworker: “Sure, what packet size did you want? We have 84, or 168.”

Customer: “Don’t you have the smaller pack? The 28 pack?”

Coworker: “Sorry, I don’t think we do. I’ll go check the back if we might have stock.”

(Whilst my coworker went to the back to check, I decide to converse with the customer to keep the sale.)

Me: “I’m sorry that we don’t have the smaller pack in stock, but the larger packs do work out cheaper than the small pack in the long run. Especially if you need to take them long term.”

Customer: *angrily* “I know that! I’d prefer getting the small pack so I know what I’m taking! And I do need to watch what I spend to be able to put food on my plate each month.”

(My coworker returns.)

Coworker: “I’m sorry but we didn’t have any small packs at the back.”

Customer: *in a huff* “Oh fine, I’ll just take the 84s.”

(While my coworker is processing the sale:)

Customer: “Oh, and these as well.”

(She placed three chocolate bars on the counter.)

Pleasantness Is The Best Medicine

| OR, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers

(I’m at the pharmacy and they have been having issues with my medication: not in yet, not the right amount, or not in stock. Today it is a misread order, and I did not get the amount I am supposed to, so they ask if I can come back on Monday.)

Pharmacist: “Haven’t you been here almost every day for one thing or another?”

Me: “All but Friday.”

Pharmacist: “I’m sorry we keep having to have you come back in.”

Me: “That’s okay.”

Pharmacist: “And you’re still so nice about it?”

Me: “Why wouldn’t I be?”

Pharmacist: *shakes my hand* “Bless you.”

Me: “Anyone who works behind a counter deserves respect until they show me otherwise.”

Pharmacist: “Can you teach our other customers that?”

Me: “I wish I could.”

I’m Over Your Hangover

| Perth, WA, Australia | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Health & Body

(I’m another customer waiting for my prescription. A young hungover male customer is talking to the pharmacy staff. She is asking him some questions to be sure he’s not drug seeking.)

Customer: “I need some strong headache stuff.”

Pharmacist: “Okay sir, just a couple of questions. Are you allergic to anything?”

Customer: “No.”

Pharmacist: “Okay, are you taking any other medications?”

Customer: *annoyed sigh* “NO! D*** it, I had too much to drink last night and my head f****** hurts; just give me the f***** tablets.”

(I hadn’t noticed the head pharmacist hovering till the man got aggravated. He is a 6 foot tall, usually quietly spoken, older man.)

Head Pharmacist: “Sir, there is absolutely no need to swear at [Pharmacist]. She has to ask these questions for your safety.” *hands over some headache tablets* “Here you go, sir.”

Customer: “Whatever.”

(He pays and leaves. The pharmacist turns to her coworker.)

Pharmacist: “I should’ve given him the strongest laxatives we have.”

(I couldn’t help but giggle.)

Ensuring A Lack Of Insuring

| WI, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Health & Body, Money

Me: “Hi, how can I help you?”

Customer: “I would like to pick up my prescription.”

Me: “Okay, what is your last name?”

Customer: “[Name].”

Me: “I notice that we have not run insurance on this. Let me look into that.”

(I pull her up on the computer and notice we do not have any insurance information on file.)

Me: “We do not have insurance on file for you. Do you have insurance you would like us to bill?”

Customer: “Yes.”

(Usually the customer gets a card out so I give her some time, but she just stares at me waiting, so I ask:)

Me: “Do you have the card with you?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Right now this costs $89.75, but your insurance should bring that down. We will need the insurance information located on your card to bill them. Would you like some time to go get it?”

Customer: “It has never cost more than $5 before.”

Me: “Okay, hold on.”

(I look to see if we have another file for her that may have her insurance listed but none come up.)

Me: “I’m sorry we don’t have your insurance information. Have you filled with us or at another location? Or could it be under a different last name?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: *frustrated at this point* “Okay, then, there are a few options. You can find your insurance card and we can run it through, or you can pay the $89.75 and come back later with the insurance card for a refund. We have seven days to do a refund in store. After that we would have to send it to corporate and it could take several weeks.”

Customer: “”But it has never cost more than $5.”

Me: “I understand. I am sure the price will go down as soon as we get your insurance information. Would you like to go get your card?”

Customer: “I don’t have a card. I’ve never had a problem before.”

Me: “Where did you get your prescription last?”

Customer: “[Different pharmacy].”

Me: “We are not connected with them and cannot access their files.” *I give her the two options again*

Customer: “This is ridiculous; it should only be $5! You should have my insurance!”

Me: “Actually it is your responsibility to carry your insurance card. Most people carry them in their wallet.”

Customer: *walks away*

Coworker: “She must think your name tag says magician not technician.”

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