The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Shoot the ad writers!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:16 pm on Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pharmacy Chick has a lot of bones to pick…..heck all you have to do is read post after post to know that.  I’d like to take this particular bone, sharpen it into a point and stab it into the carotid artery of the ad writers for the company I work for.

You all know I do vaccinations.  What you may not know is that I am the ONLY one who does vaccinations in my location.  This means that my other pharmacist sends people away all day every day  HE works and tells them to come in when the Chick herself is on duty.  Not only does it increase my workload disporportionately compared to his workload, but I get to listen to complaints all frickin day from people who “had to come back” like they had slogged thru snow,  traversed deserts,  climbed mountain passes or  swam wide rivers…bare footed.

I blame the ad writers.  They came up with this brilliant idea to print (on every single piece of  print copy) that a customer can get an immunization ANY TIME the pharmacy is open.  This poses a couple of problems, the first of which is obvious:  I don’t work 75 hours a week…it only feels that way.    The second problem is more complex.  I will make it more clear however:  If you show up at Pharmacy Chick pharmacy at 15 minutes before closing and want a flu shot, you are NOT…repeat NOT going to get it…unless I am bored out of my mind (unlikely)….or have shots left over from the day….(even more unlikely). 

I have to leave at closing.  My labor dollars do not support staying after.  The company is counting labor dollars like Marley and Scrooge.  I have to use virtually every single minute of my labor while we are open.  Using them after we are closed means sacrificing staffing while are are open, and I get written up for overages in labor. Therefore when we close, I need to be ready to slam the door, and clock out.  Too many overages means I dont earn a bonus…and considering how pathetic is has been in recent years, it really shouldn’t be much of a deterrent, but the corrective action reports are…  It is what it is.

So, today (saturday) I begged for and got an extra tech for today.  We really needed it because we nearly reached 200 scripts, and 60 of  them were flu shots.  It was controlled chaos all day even WITH 2 techs, (both of which were floaters by the way).  I close down my flu shot table at 5:30.  We close at 6pm.  It takes about that long to process the last of the comers…finish the scripts…clean everything up…close out the computers…and finally…get out of there.

At 5: 45 I was administering my very LAST flu shot, when this husband and wife (not people I know either…) wanted to get a shot.  I told them that we were done with shots for the day, because we were closing in 15 minutes. I invited them to come back tomorrow and gave them the hours of vaccination.  I was friendly but left no room for negotiation.   They apparently weren’t getting the message.  “But you are still open for 15 more minutes!”  “Cant you do just 2 more?”.  

Pharmacy Chick didn’t budge.  “No,  we are done for the day…yada yada yada…not allowed to stay late…come back tomorrow….sorry to inconvenience you…”

They decided to play the  AD card.. “But your ad says…come in ANY time the pharmacy is open…”  Pharmacy Chick’s blood pressure probably went up about 30 points in 2.3 seconds.  In the best controlled (and polite) voice I could muster I said  “The ad writer does not give the shots, I do, and we have to stop 1/2 hour before closing in order to get the store ready to close.  We are not allowed to stay late”.

They huffed a bit, grabbed the paperwork on the table and left.  The lady who I WAS giving the shot to said (before they left)   “AND she has to counsel me on some meds I just dropped off”  ( She is my new favorite customer by the way….)

Now I ask you, dear readers…if you were a customer…and you wanted a flu shot…would you really want the pharmacist to be pissed at you when he/she plunged a needle into YOUR arm?

I’m just sayin…


Comment by IAPharmer

September 6, 2009 @ 3:48 am

All I can say is 1CC 16GA 1″

Comment by Cody

September 6, 2009 @ 6:25 am

Are you guys not able/allowed to take appointments? I think our company’s flu shot goals are VERY unreachable, but at least they gave us the opportunity to take appointments for certain blocks where we KNOW we’ll have an immunizing pharmacist and a second pharmacist to keep running the pharmacy. If they walk in without an appointment, they are more than welcome to use the in-store clinic. Otherwise, I will be happy to take your name and information and we can put you in the appointment logbook for tomorrow or later.
Yes we are allowed and expected to take appointments….it worked beautifully until somebody at corporate decided that we should do walk ins as well…..and decided to force the issue by putting it in every print ad they published. This is the number one reason that PC is looking for new work…

Comment by Dr. Grumpy

September 6, 2009 @ 4:38 pm

No, I don’t want you be pissed off when giving me a shot! You could accidentally put the needle into an eye, or trachea, or scrotum.

Comment by evilchainrph

September 6, 2009 @ 10:22 pm

PC, I TOTALLY understand!! I am the only immunizing pharmacist at my location, and we are a 24 hour store. Our chain also advertises that flu shots will be available during certain times, so people can just come on in! However, my techs know that they cannot tell people that flu shots are available on my day off (although some did get scheduled then) or when I’m the only pharmacist on duty (unless we are not so busy).
So, tell me how you do it!! I am still a young pharmacist who still learning the tricks of the trade. Thanks for your invaluable advice!!

Comment by rxgirl

September 6, 2009 @ 11:36 pm

I feel so bad for all the pharmacists that are required to do flu shots at the retail level. When I worked in retail pharmacy, I was lucky enough to avoid flu shots. I was at a 24-hr pharmacy and that in itself is chaotic enough. The pharmacy was very busy, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to add flu shots to it. I’m sorry you have to deal with it on a regular basis. Retail pharmacy is so different than what it was 15-20 years ago. I’m so glad I got out of retail. Hang in there until you find new employment!

Comment by John B

September 18, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

I hope you’re getting paid extra to do these immunizations. Do you know how much money your company is making off of each one?
Considering the added liability you’re taking on, and your specialized training, you’d be better off owning your own pharmacy and providing an immunization “niche”.
What a waste, letting your knowledge and training be put to use at a chain pharmacy. Chain pharmacists have no right to complain about their workloads and working conditios when the obvious solution is to go into business for themselves and practice pharmacy the way THEY want to (and make more money doing it).
Johnny B, going into business may be your obvious solution, but let me tell you something…I don’t have the money to go into business for myself or I would have. 2) its incredibly hard to make money in pharmacy unless you do huge volume and flu shots AINT gonna do it. and 3) since 97% of my business would be insurance, I’d hardly be able to practice pharmacy the “way I want to”, unless 13 hour days 7 days a week is “how I want to practice pharmacy”. And since I already to long hours, I hardly see the reason to do it even more often. My company considers vaccinations as part of the job and hence no additional compensation is given anymore. But thanks for reading and I appreciate your comments even if I dont agree with this one.

Comment by John B

September 21, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

Ah yes, the eternal skepticism of the chain pharmacist. I used to be one myself, until I realized the chain needed me more than I needed them. And no, Pharmacy Chick, you do not need to do huge volumes of Rx’s to do well. I know this first hand.
I suppose some people don’t have the entrepreneurial spirit, and that’s fine. But at the very least you SHOULD DEMAND additional compensation for your vaccinating ablilities. DO NOT let your company tell you it is “just another part of the job”. You are selling yourself short, and I dare say, you are selling your PROFESSION short by bending to their demands.
I don’t think I would dare tell my pharmacists that work for me that their specialized skills are “just part of the job”. It’s an insult to them, and to me, and to every pharmacist who went out of their way to get that specialized training.
If your employer won’t compensate you properly for your skills, find one who will. Walgreens, CVS, and Wal-mart are not the only pharmacy employers

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