I met this guy many years ago. I’ll call him Stew, for the lack of a better name. He was a big chested guy, a salesman by trade, and by all appearances, used to getting his way (by bullied persuasion, if I guessed correctly). We met outside of the pharmacy, when he happened to notice I was wearing a shirt with his (and mine) alma mater on it. It begat a conversation that ultimately begat him coming to the pharmacy. For a while it worked quite well. Everybody is jovial when things are going their way. The wife was a sourpuss but she didn’t come in very much.
I seemed to have inherited an inordinately large number of high maintenance people over the years, those who have been disenchanted by the treatment they get at Big Box Pharmacies. And yes, I am a chain store, but I have always tried to create a friendly and intimate environment for my customers. I was grown in an independent pharmacy (cards, gifts, and drugs in the back) and only became a chain pharmacist when my options of independents ran out. I am, at heart, an independent pharmacist. I am willing to take care of these people…provided they don’t cross the line.
Stew didn’t require too much special care, but he was loud, boorish and impatient, which meant that nobody really liked waiting on him. The clerks became strangely blind and deaf when he approached the counter, leaving me (remember the drive-me-nuts posting?? read it) to wait on him most of the time. I didn’t care–he didn’t give ME too much grief. Must have been the white coat, or the fact we went to the same school that spared me I suppose. He did travel alot however.
Frequently he would call for vacation overrides, and with the insurance he had at the time, it was nothing more than a quick code entry on a screen and bam, he had his meds. He changed plans after awhile and getting vacation overrides became more complicated. Not only did they require a departure date, but they also limited him to a certain number of overrides (2) per year. Therefore, it became complicated. We didn’t want to waste any uneccessary overrides for him should he use them up before he REALLY needed them. The problem was, he didn’t grasp that concept.
As usual, he called early for his meds and they rejected. I called Stew and he said he was leaving on a vacation. I obtained his departure date and his arrival date. He was calling almost 2 weeks before he was leaving. I was sure he would be able to fill his prescriptions without needing to waste the precious override if he waited just one more week. He would still be filling them a full week before he left.
I called his insurance and they confirmed that he didn’t need an override and said they wouldn’t even give one to him because he didn’t need it. I thought that was interesting. Never heard that from an insurance before, I suppose to preserve the limited overrides he could obtain?? I didn’t ask.
So, I called Stew back, expecting him to be happy that he didn’t have to waste the override. I told him that since he was leaving on the 22nd, he could pick up this meds on the 17th or later. It was currently the 12th or something. He responded “ok then, I am leaving on the 16th.” I asked him, “Are you really leaving on the 16th now?” and he said “No, but when I come to you, I expect superior service, I dont expect to have to make a special trip to pick up my meds”. Special trip?-he lived about 4 blocks away, and it’s not like he was having to pick them up on the way to the airport.
I was shocked. I told him I had already called his insurance once, and I dont think they would believe me if I called them 15 minutes later and changed the date of his departure. I was not willing to lie to them. I tried to explain (again) that he only got 2 vacation overrides per year and there was no point in using them when he didn’t need to. He was on some rather expensive meds. Paying for them out of pocket would be out of the question. He was a bully, yes, but not a rich one. He travelled several times a year. This was significant.
I was there on the 17th when he came into pick up his prescriptions. He was as cold as an iceberg at the register when I rang him up. I wished him a good trip and he replied ” I want all my, and my family’s drugs transferred to Big Box Pharmacy by the time I get back” and he walked off.
I never spoke another word to him. I transferred his whole profile to BBP that very next day. A couple of months later I called BBP and asked them about Stew. The pharmacist sarcastically replied “Oh, THANK YOU for this one!” “Want him back?”
Now looking back I wonder, in the grand scheme of things, would it have mattered to fudge the dates? No, probably not. But it would have set a precedence. I would have lied to somebody to appease a customer. Every break starts with a crack. Every flood starts with a trickle. To me, he crossed a line that day. He sold insurance. Would he lie to the agency to get me covered, cover up some disease I had to secure a policy? Probably not.
So why is it ok to ask me to do the same? Little lies dirty the character as much as big lies. It just takes a little longer.