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.”