The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

What is flakier, a bowl of cereal or my scheduled tech?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 12:42 pm on Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pharmacy Chick has learned that almost every phone call that arrives at 8 am or earlier at her house is seldom good news.  In fact there is a part of me that wishes I could turn off my home phone like I do my cell phone when I go to bed. 

RING RING!   720am…A very groggy Mr Chick answers and and I can hear MY store manager’s voice on the other end.. WTF? he never calls me at home. Sleepy hands me the phone and Tom ( the store manager) says “Your pharmacist called in sick.”  WHAT?  My Man Friday never calls in sick, and if he did he would have called ME not the store.  So I asked WHO called in sick and was told “Tonya”.  Oh yes.  When I saw her on the schedule I cringed with dismay.  The tech scheduler at corporate must be scraping the bottom of the barrel by now to give me Tonya and sure enough she pulled this stunt….again.

My lazy Saturday off just turned into a cascade of SUCK!.  We can ALMOST work alone on a Sunday, but Saturday? no way. My first call was to Friday who had just received HIS call from Tom and was already planning on going in an hour early to try and fill everything he could before we opened.  My second (and WAY more reluctant) call was to Tech extraordinare.  She had plans that day. I knew it. Her family from out of state was coming in.   However, gracious as always she said she could come in around 11 am..could she at least get her house cleaned for the company who was arriving that afternoon?  (Like I was going to say no?)

I got myself out of bed and decided at the very least, I would  help Friday get all the que emptied and filled.  I had plans and obligations of my own that day.  I arrived at the store, and Friday and I went to work filling the 40 or so scripts waiting from the que.  I had to leave by 945am but we got everything done, leaving Friday alone for just over an hour.  We can all deal with just about anything for an hour so when I left I said a prayer that God would keep the people at bay until help arrived.

If this was an islolated incident I wouldn’t be so upset, but time and time again, I have a schedule full of relief people that 1) I know only by their name or reputation and 2) I have no way to reach them and 3) on weekends there is NO corporate back up to get help.  I DREAD the distribution of the monthly relief schedule and I see certain names on it.   I have been at the mercy of the scheduler since Tech #2 went out on medical leave.  Now her position has been made open for application because she didn’t return in time so I can start interviewing candidates.

I can’t blame the scheduler.  Geez, she does an amazing job just filling 100+ stores schedules each and every month but it seems that the term “relief” is pretty oxymoronic.  Perhaps she should be termed “GRIEF” tech because that is about all she causes me.

(So before any of you  readers that ARE relief assault me verbally….I am speaking of THIS tech..not YOU ok??? Save your flames for somebody else). If you show up to work, then you are doing your job.

I have missed 2 days of work in 19 years, and one of them I worked until the relief person showed up.   Tech Extradordinare has worked for me for 2 years and hasn’t missed a shift, and has in fact covered a lot of flaky relief techs who have bagged on shifts for one reason or another.   Friday has never called in sick in the 15 years we have worked together, tho I finished a shift or two for him when he looked about to die.  Maybe this is an anomaly but we have a certain sense of responsiblilty to each other.  

Tonya is supposed to work next Sat too.  I have already put the word out on the street that nothing short of  Death is an acceptable reason to miss work.  Arrange for it Friday.  If she comes in next week, I am thinking about serving her a bowl of cornflakes and she if she gets it.

And when I do the interviews?  You can bet that Attendance will be emphasized again and again.


Comment by chrissie

March 28, 2010 @ 2:57 pm

my opinion is you’d better be about dead before you call in sick in a pharmacy. especially if someone else has to come in and cover for you. that being said, i had a tech call in itchy one time. as in “i can’t come to work today – i’m too itchy”.

and just today, the evening tech called in to see if she was on the schedule. I said “yup – 4-10” and she said she’d be there. Not an hour later she called in sick. WhatEVER.
I agree on all counts. In my opinion, your schedule is YOUR personal responsibility and obligation. Its not a “suggested” activity. Its YOURS, and you should be held accountable for GETTING there, BEING there, or FINDING somebody to be there if you can’t. At my first pharmacy (oh so many years ago), sick pay started AFTER the 3rd day out. I can tell you this, there weren’t very many “sick” employees when the first 3 days where on you!

Comment by Ray Poorbaugh

March 29, 2010 @ 8:51 am

As i sit here reading this I too got the 8am notice of a call off today (Monday). I know how it feels. I have a stack of work sitting here on my desk, expecting my good tech to be here so I can work on it and BOOM! Sick. If this tech weren’t the most awesome tech I ever worked with we’d be having major problems about this, however if she weren’t the most awesome tech I ever worked with I don’t know if I’d notice much.

You know how some techs call off and you just don’t seem to miss them at all, well not this one, every call off is magnified due to the amount of extra work it lays in my lap. I’ve just become the main Rx enterer, checker, phone answerer, question taker, not to mention that I’m the owner…So I get advertisers and salesmen all day, have to pay the bills, get the deposits, figure the taxes, etc. but I digress..

This tech never goes over her sick/personal days but she always seems to be “sick” on Mondays and the day after holiday. Not that its every Monday or holiday, its just that that is the ONLY time she calls off. Never on Wednesday in the middle of the month when volume is expected to be down. Who knows, I probably overreact.

Comment by chris

March 30, 2010 @ 5:31 am

I am a pharmacy manager and have a bit of a problem with my stomach which usually plays up about 3/4 times per year, usually puts me out for a day, sometimes 2 but no more. I feel so guilty ringing my locum co-ordinator to tell them that I am sick and cant come in. I dont see how some people can milk their sick pay as much as they do. Touch wood I am lucky with my staff here, I get a few sick days here and there, but nothing major and no convenient end of holiday or monday morning sickies.

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