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The Tantrum That Never Came And The Husband Who Stopped It

, , , , , , , | Healthy | October 15, 2021

It was 7:30, and I’d dropped into my local pharmacy in order to grab a prescription on the way home. I went back to the pharmacy counter and saw a woman hovering around the counter, wearing a mask, so I did as I always do and stayed a safe distance back to wait. She turned to me, immediately, and I realized I was in for something interesting, as she immediately asked me if I was there for a vaccine. I simply replied that I was there to pick up a prescription, and I could tell from the way she turned from me that she was trying to find someone to complain to. Her attitude radiated impatience and a little entitlement, so I was ready for fireworks.

After a moment, a man came around the corner and started talking to the woman; it turned out that he was her husband. He had been looking for something on the shelves and couldn’t find it but was going to check again since they were still waiting; she requested he stay at the counter because he was “better at talking” than she was. He told her to just call for him when the pharmacists got to them and headed back off to go find whatever it was he needed.

She then proceeded to start making “ugh” huffing noises, like she was scoffing at the wait already, but she did it so often there was hardly a second between her scoffing noises. It was like a mini-tantrum to herself. I don’t know how long they’d waited before I arrived, but I had only been there for maybe two minutes, and I’ve been to the pharmacy enough to know their wait times at the counter didn’t tend to be long if there wasn’t a line, so there was almost no way she’d been waiting more than a few minutes before I arrived, as the counter and back half were empty except for a car or two outside.

After another second, the head pharmacist/doctor in charge approached the counter to ask what they needed, and she called for her husband in a clipped tone before starting off anyway without waiting for him to get back to her. 

Woman: “We’re here for our boosters.” 

Doctor: *Not unkindly* “We don’t take walk-ins after 1:00 pm, and we don’t have appointments after 7:00.” 

He could tell they didn’t have an appointment without having to ask, considering the hour, and his tone was mostly confused and a little concerned, like maybe they’d managed to book an appointment anyway and he was about to have to deal with a massive system issue. He was clearly anticipating fallout, either way. The woman opened her mouth, and I could hear the complaint starting in her throat through the half-second of tone she got out.

Then, her husband cut her off, emphatically and in a volume and tone that were almost teacher-voice-like. 

Husband: “No. He is telling us what he can and cannot do.” 

He then turned to the pharmacist and, in a pleasant tone, asked again about walk-in times so he knew when best to come back. The pharmacist walked him through using the app to make an appointment and clarified what vaccine they needed the booster for. The husband seemed almost pointedly pleasant when he talked, like he was making a point to his wife about how you talk to people when you can’t get your way. She didn’t say anything else except to ask what vaccine they had because, apparently, another of the same pharmacy carried the other kind, and when they left, they left quietly and with no further tantrums.