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This Story Just Drugs On And On And On

| Right | February 9, 2013

(I work at a pharmacy, both as a tech and at the till when necessary. It is a Sunday, so the pharmacy is not heavily staffed. The sole customer waiting is a man, late 20s to early 30s, wearing a pink button-up shirt.)

Me: “Hello, sir. How can I help you?”

Pink Guy: “Six for [Name].”

(I search the current container and find five prescriptions. It’s not uncommon for a prescription to be put in adjacent containers if the proper one is too full, which this one likely was. I search the other containers but don’t find anything.)

Me: “One sec, I have to check the computer.”

(I check the computer. I do verify he has six prescriptions to pick up.)

Me: “Sorry about that. Can I verify the date of birth, please?”

Pink Guy: “What is this? You want my date of birth now?”

Me: “Yes sir, to verify the prescription.”

Pink Guy: “You guys never asked for that before.”

(I am roughly two years’ tenure in the pharmacy, and that has been a part of policy since day one.)

Me: “If I could just verify the date of birth to make sure there isn’t another person with the same name?”

Pink Guy: “It’s not very likely you’d have two people with the same exact name. I suppose you want me to verify my social security number in case someone has both my name and my birthday?”

(We actually do have two people with the same name and birthday.)

Me: “Not necessarily. I would go by address or phone number first.”

Pink Guy: “I’m not comfortable giving you my date of birth.”

Me: “I already have a date of birth here. I just need you to verify at least the month and the day.”

Pink Guy: *crossing his arms* “Fine. But just know that you’ve never asked me for this before and I’ve been coming here for years. It’s [birthday].”

Me: “Thank you, sir.” *check each of the prescriptions* “Okay. And I have all six prescriptions.”

Pink Guy: “Six?”

Me: “Yes, sir, six prescriptions.”

Pink Guy: “Not seven?”

Me: “Was there more?”

Pink Guy: “There should be one more.”

Me: “Okay, let me check the computer.”

(I go back to the computer, and re-enter him just to refresh the data. I verify each prescription that I have and make sure he doesn’t have another one that he usually refilled; none pop out.)

Me: “I only have six prescriptions for you, sir.”

Pink Guy: *with an inflection implying I’m a moron* “And there aren’t any for my wife?”

Me: “Oh, I see. It’s under another name.” *without asking him, I query by address, and find his wife. I see that she does have a pending prescription, but there’s a catch* “Did you call it in today?”

Pink Guy: “Yeah, I called it in this morning. It said it’d be ready tomorrow but I figured you guys would have it ready by now.”

Me: *explaining casually* “Well, not exactly. You see, when you call it in it actually gets picked up by an outside pharmacy and they fill it and ship it to us next-day. You did it through the automated system, right?”

Pink Guy: “Well, yeah. I’ve done it before and you guys had it ready.”

Me: “Well… I’m not sure about that time, but I do know the automated system tells you when the pickup is and then asks if you want it earlier; if you select that you want it earlier it sends it to us. Maybe that just didn’t go through this time.”

Pink Guy: “No, I just assumed you’d have it ready by now.”

(Well, at least he’s honest.)

Me: “Well, I’m sorry but we don’t. But I can pull it and we can fill it here. The pharmacist is out to lunch, but when he gets back in about ten minutes he’ll fill it right away. Do you have some shopping you could do or would you like to wait in the waiting area?”

(The pharmacist is behind the counter, but I’m not going to bother him unless I absolutely have to.)

Pink Guy: “No! I don’t have time for all of this crap! If you guys aren’t ready I’ll just waste my time and gas and get it tomorrow! I’m in a hurry!”

Me: “I’m sorry about that, sir.”

(I start scanning and bagging the prescriptions. He reaches across the counter at me to tear the bag away from me.)

Me: “Excuse me, just a sec, sir. I need you to verify the information on the screen.”

Pink Guy: “I thought you already verified everything. That’s why I gave you my date of birth!”

Me: “I need you to verify everything on the screen. Make sure all of the information is correct and hit ‘next’ in the lower-right of the screen.”

(Without looking at the screen, he hits the ‘back’ button at the lower-left.)

Me: *re-initializing the verification phase* “It’s the ‘next’ button on the lower-right, sir.”

(Second time’s the charm. He still doesn’t look at the screen.)

Me: “And if you could sign to verify you’ve picked up the prescriptions.”

Pink Guy: *mutters a signing-my-life-away cliche* “There. Are we done?” *extends his hand, expectantly*

Me: “Not quite. Your total comes to $20.”

Pink Guy: “Are you kidding me!? You make me go through all that and then you expect me to fork over $20? I have insurance! It covers everything! You must not have run it through, you idiots. Go check your little computer and you’ll see. I have never had to pay anything for my meds!”

(I go to the computer and refresh his information.)

Me: “It shows here we ran it through [Insurance]. They paid [amount] toward the prescription, leaving you with a co-pay of $20. The last time you got it, on [date], they paid [amount minus $20] and therefore you had a $40 co-pay. And you’ve had a $40 co-pay the last 3 times you picked this medication up.”

Pink Guy: “This is ridiculous! Whatever.” *pulls out his checkbook* “Can I get $100 cash-back?”

Me: “No, sir, the limit is $50. And, I’m sorry, but I don’t have enough in my till.”

Pink Guy: “Well… can’t you get more?”

Me: “I could, but it’d be faster for you if you just got a bottle of water and get cash-back up at the front.”

Pink Guy: *standing up defiantly* “I’m not making two transactions. I’ll wait.”

Me: “Okay. Your total is $70, and the date is [date].”

Pink Guy: “You said it was $20 before!”

Me: “Right. $20, plus $50 cash-back is $70.”

(He proceeds to write his check.)

Pink Guy: “Can I have my cash-back?”

Me: “I need to run the check first.”

(With a great show of impatience and contempt he tears the check out and hands it to me. It’s policy to verify the check by hand before running it through the feeder. Before even turning it my direction, I see he hasn’t signed it.)

Me: “Could you please sign the check?”

(He clicks his pen and makes a very dramatic and flourish display of signing the check.)

Me: “Thank you.” *I start to validate the check, the date is wrong by a few days* “I’m going to change it to today’s date and initial it, okay?”

Pink Guy: “Fine, whatever.”

(I check everything, saving the amount for last since I know it’s cash-back and I want to verify they match properly. But… there’s a problem.

Me: “Sir, I’m afraid I’ll need you to write a new check.”

Pink Guy: “What the he-why!?”

Me: “Because. You wrote the amount for $120, but the limit for cash-back is $50, and that’s how much I asked for.”

Pink Guy: “Well here!” *takes the check from me, scribbles all over it, and writes the new amounts in as tiny as he can above the errata* “There. You need my driver’s license?”

Me: “No, sir, I need you to write a new check. This one is illegible and I can’t accept it into my till.”

Pink Guy: “Screw you! Fine, forget the cash-back. I’ll just pay with my card.”

(He pulls the card out, and swipes it. But it’s too fast, I have to hit a button first.)

Me: “Okay, your card is ready to swipe.”

Pink Guy: “I already swiped it.”

Me: “I wasn’t ready in time, sorry. I have to hit a button for it to take. It’s ready now, though.”

Pink Guy: “The machine said it was ready!”

Me: “That’s the default screen. It always says that. I know it’s irritating. I wish they’d change it.”

(He swipes his card again, and poises with his pen. I expect him to start with the card transaction, but notice he’s still standing there after a second.)

Pink Guy: “Well?”

(I look at my screen, and realize it hasn’t taken the card still. I clear it and prime it again.)

Me: “Try it again, please?”

Pink Guy: “No! You’ll charge me twice!”

Me: “It won’t charge you twice. I promise. It only charges when you approve the amount and sign.”

Pink Guy: “If it charges me twice I’ll get you fired.”

Me: “I promise. It won’t charge you twice.”

(He poises with the card and practically stares me down as if judging the worth of my soul as he slides the card through. It’s then I notice the magnet strip is in his fingers.)

Me: “May I see your card, sir?”

Pink Guy: *apparently giving up, he responds less angrily than I expected* “Take it.”

(I take the card and swipe it through the correct way, setting it on the counter. Once again he poises with the pen, waiting for the prompt, and again, I notice it’s taking him a tad longer than other people. I look at the screen just as he comments.)

Pink Guy: “It’s still not doing anything.”

(I pick up his card, and take in a breath. It’s a ditch effort, but I enter the card number manually. No dice. I hand his card back.)

Me: “I’m sorry sir, your card won’t go through. Do you have another method of payment?” (It has been rejected.)

Pink Guy: “What the h***!” *literally throws the card at me, hitting my chest, and I catch it* “That’s a new f****** card! Of course it’ll take! Your computer is stupid!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir.”

(He leaves, and I continue the day setting any emotions aside to deal with for later. I put his credit card in with one of the scripts and make a note of it for whoever has to handle it. Later that week, the pharmacist, who had been sitting behind the counter that whole time, talks to me during a slow hour.)

Pharmacist: “Hey, [My Name], you remember Mr. [Pink Guy] from the other day?”

Me: “Yeah, what about him?”

Pharmacist: “His wife came by the next day. I did the transaction. She picked up all seven scripts. She didn’t say anything about the price. Paid with a perfect check, and got the $50 cash-back.”

Me: “So, she didn’t give you any trouble?”

Pharmacist: “No, not at all.”

Me: “Well, good. At least that whole thing happened on a slow day.”

Pharmacist: “Yeah. Anyway, here.” *takes a Barnes & Noble gift card from his smock pocket and sets it on the counter* “Consider this an apology from Mr. [Pink Guy].”

(The gift card was for $75.)

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