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The Case Of The Phantom Phone Call

, , , | Right | November 26, 2020

I work in a chain pharmacy. An elderly customer comes in with another woman who could be her daughter or a nurse/aid.

Customer: “I’m here to pick up my prescription?”

Me: “Yes, and what’s your name, please?”

Customer: “[Customer].”

I look it up on the computer and see that we don’t have anything under that name in the work queue. This is pretty common, as people tend to assume their prescription is ready whenever they get an automated message from us without actually reading or listening to it.

Me: “What’s your date of birth?”

Customer: “[Birth date].”

I look up her profile and skim it for anything that looks like it’s due to be filled.

Me: “Do you know what you’re expecting to pick up today?”

Customer: “No.”

Other Woman: “I don’t think she’s running low on anything.”

Customer: “I got a phone call.”

Me: “Mhmm, let me look up your message history and see what that phone call was about.”

I look up our records for automated phone calls, as this often can tell us what the customer might need, but there are no recent messages sent to her. This takes a few minutes because the system is old, slow, and various functions are scattered across different web and local programs.

Me: “Hmm… was it an automated phone call or a personal one?”

Customer: *Confused* “What?”

Me: “Do you know if it was a robot calling you, or a person?”

Phone calls made by our staff don’t generate records, but there are only five of us on staff and usually, someone knows who called who about what.

Customer: “No, I don’t know; I lost my phone.”

The other woman is confused. She looks at the customer and then back at me.

Me: *Confused* “Uh… you lost your phone?”

Customer: “I lost my phone.”

Me: “If you lost your phone, how do you know you got a phone call?”

I’m hoping there’s a simple explanation. Perhaps she means she got the phone call, forgot every detail about it, and then lost her phone. If so, it should be fairly easy for her to clarify the situation. Instead…

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Other Woman: “…”

I glance at the line forming behind her and at the drive-thru and decide not to try and track down this phantom phone call.

Me: “Well, since it seems you don’t need anything refilled right now, you’re all set. Have a nice day!”

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