They Didn’t Sign Up For This

, , , , , | Healthy | October 28, 2020

I take medication which is supplied by a contractor. It is fragile, so it is delivered by a courier in a refrigerated van. When the supplier phones me to organise delivery, I ask them to deliver it to my local pharmacy so I don’t have to be there.

This happens for months without issue. One day, I’m at work and I receive a voicemail.

Voicemail: “Hi, [My Name], this is [Courier]. Unfortunately, you are not present to sign for the delivery, so I’m taking it back to the depot. Please phone [number] to reschedule when you are available.”

I don’t understand. Normally, the pharmacist signs for it, so why not this time? After work, I visit the pharmacist.

Me: “Hi, [Pharmacist]. What happened with [medicine]?”

Pharmacist: “The courier asked for you to sign for it. His instructions said, ‘Patient must sign.’ I tried explaining that in the context of a pharmacy, the pharmacist can sign for it. That’s my job. He insisted that it must be you.”

Me: “So he expected me to wait here all day?”

Pharmacist: “Apparently, yes. You may wish to reschedule it.”

I phone the supplier. The representative sounds embarrassed.

Supplier: “Mr. [My Surname], I’m very sorry. The notes do indeed say, ‘Patient must sign,’ so technically, he was doing what he was told. He may be new.”

Me: “These things happen. Can you reschedule the delivery, please?”

Supplier: “Of course. It will be delivered on [date]. I’ve changed the instructions to say, ‘Patient or pharmacist must sign.’ He has no excuses.”

The day after [date], I go to the pharmacy.

Me: “Hi, [Pharmacist]. Do you have my [medicine], delivered yesterday?”

Pharmacist: *Confused* “No? Nothing came, and I was here all day.”

This is now a problem. I am due to take the medicine tomorrow, but I have none left. I phone the supplier. I wait in a queue for forty minutes. My tone of voice is polite, but very, very direct.

Me: “What is your first name, please?”

Representative: “[Representative].”

Me: “Hello, [Representative]. I would like to speak to a manager, please.”

Representative: “What happened?”

Me: “I was due a delivery of [medicine] yesterday. It did not come. This is the second time in a row. Last time, the muppet of a driver thought that the pharmacist wasn’t qualified to sign for it.”

Representative: “Seriously?”

Me: “Seriously. Maybe the pharmacist said something like, ‘I went to pharmacy school for seven years; I think I know how to put a tube of [medicine] in the fridge.’ Anyway, the courier just took it back to the depot, and now another delivery has been missed.”

Representative: “Oh, dear. When do you need it by?”

Me: “I’m due to take it tomorrow. Thanks to the courier’s mistake, I don’t have any to take. I’m sure you understand that prescription medication must be taken as advised. I do not intend to find out what happens if I am late taking it.”

Representative: “I think the delivery was missed due to a mixup with a new computer system.”

Me: “Right, we’ll deal with the complaint later. How quickly can you get [medicine] to me?”

Representative: “We have no delivery slots today.”

Me: “I have a car. Can I collect it from the depot? I’ll get a coolbox to keep it refrigerated.”

Representative: “Oh… I— I honestly don’t know. I’ve never been asked that before. Can you hold? It might be a while.”

Me: “Take as long as you need.”

I start weeding my front yard. Thirty minutes later:

Representative: “Mr. [My Surname]?”

Me: “Call me [My First Name]. How did you do?”

Representative: “You can’t collect it from the depot, for security reasons. Instead, I will try and contract a special courier. It won’t be the courier we normally deal with. I’ll need to call round again. Can you hold, please?”

Me: “Take as long as you need.”

Anyway, I search for the depot online, just in case. I find it immediately, ten km away. Thirty-five minutes later:

Representative: “Hi, [My First Name]. I’ve had to phone about fourteen departments, but I found a courier. You will receive the delivery today. Can you please remain at your house all day?”

Me: “I’ll be in all day. Out of interest, what is the ‘security reason’? Do they not want people knowing where the depot is?”

Representative: “No, we had a break-in once. Something like £100,000 medicine was stolen, so we have strict rules on visitors now.”

Me: “Oh. That kind of makes sense, because this medicine costs £700 a time. Thank you very much for your patience. How do you spell your name?”

They spell their name for me.

Me: “I’ll tell your employer what a good job you have done.”

Representative: “Thank you very much!”

An hour later, a man arrived at my house with [medicine], and I finished weeding my yard.

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