Not Banking On That Pharmacy

, , , | Right | January 31, 2018

(I work in a regional pharmacy and convenience store chain. One of the services we offer is check cashing, but with a hefty fee, since we are not a bank. The minimum fee is $3, and it shifts to 2% of the check for any amount over $150. The fee is automatically deducted from the check total, and we give the customer the difference. A woman comes in on a Sunday afternoon, demanding we cash her check. Instead of going to customer service, she heads to the pharmacy counter and tries to give them her check. The head pharmacist calls down to me that I will have a customer soon.)

Me: “Hello! You want a check cashed?”

(The customer, an elderly woman, pushes the check at me with a humph.)

Customer: “Yes, that one. My daughter is in town from DC, and I have to take her out to dinner.”

Me: *punching in the check total to get the fee amount* “All right, the fee for check cashing is 2% of the check, so for $259.50, it’s going to be a $5.19 fee.”

Customer: “You’re kidding! Well! This is the last time I do this; I’m pulling out all my prescriptions!”

Me: *thinking that’s a weird knee-jerk reaction* “Okay. Did you still want to cash this check?”

Customer: “Well, yes! I have to take my daughter out to dinner! She came up here from DC! This is ridiculous; I want to talk to a manager! You don’t do this to loyal customers. I’m going to pull out all my prescriptions, and I have a lot!”

(I page the manager while she fumes, repeatedly going back to her prescriptions and how she is going to take them all out first thing tomorrow morning. The manager walks in, and she starts berating him, too.)

Customer: “I have been a customer here for years. You don’t charge loyal customers $5 for cashing checks! I’m going to pull out my prescriptions!”

Manager: “That’s not our fee; the check cashing company sets that. It’s the fee they charge for using their services.”

(The customer humphs for a bit while the manager goes through the procedure, which is tedious and done on a separate machine. She goes silent for a moment before perking back up, turning to me while pointing at the manager.)

Customer: “No! Who’s above him? Who’s the highest manager?!”

Manager: “The store manager.”

Customer: “And who is that?”

Me: “[Store Manager].”

Customer: “Is he here?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Is he here tomorrow?!”

Manager: “Yes, [Store Manager] will be in tomorrow.”

Customer: “Good! I’m going to get my money back and pull out all my prescriptions!”

(We hand her the keypad to put in her social security number, and she acts like it’s the most complex device she’s ever used. It’s a nine-digit keypad with a green button and a red button. All you have to do is type the number, hit the green button, type the number again for confirmation, and hit the green button again. It takes a lot of prodding, interspersed with, “What do I do now?!” We also have to key in her driver’s license, the confirmation code from the receipt, the state, the day of the transaction, and so forth.)

Customer: “Why is this taking so long?!

Me: “It’s a process. We have to go through extra steps and security, since we aren’t a bank.”

Customer: “Well, who do I talk to about pulling out my prescriptions?”

Me: “The pharmacy.”

(She goes strangely quiet after that, letting us complete the transaction with minor grumbling. I count out the amount of the check, minus the fee, making sure I am on camera as I do. I proceed to lay it flat on the counter to show her while I count it again, but she snatches it from me.)

Customer: “No! I’ll count it! I can’t wait to come in tomorrow and talk to your manager! I’m going to pull out all my prescriptions!”

(She finally takes her money and storms off. The head pharmacist pokes his head in.)

Pharmacist: “So, how’d that go?”

(I relay the whole story and he just laughs, shaking his head. He goes on to tell me how she’s been a chronic pain in the pharmacy’s neck for years.)

Pharmacist: “She always says that. If I had a dollar for every time she threatened to pull out her prescriptions, I’d be a lot closer to retirement.”

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