The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Insult of the day

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:11 pm on Friday, July 30, 2010

Out on the sales floor, customer walks up to me just as I have finished helping a patient:

“Can I ask you a question?”

(me) “Sure”

“What do YOU recommend to cover your gray?”

(me, appalled) “Um, nothing, I dont color my hair”

“Oh, yea…(looking at my hair) I see that”..(walks off).

What the….?

“Forging” a new identity?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 11:41 am on Monday, July 26, 2010

For the third time in as many weeks, PC has been given a blatant forgery.  For reasons I cannot explain, that “gut feeling” that most of us have when we are given something unusal was kicking in full gear.  All were brought in after normal office hours.  Each wanted to pay cash because ” I dont have insurance” and each wanted to wait. 

We are unfortunately becoming accustomed to large doses of narcs from the pain clinic nearby.  Many nary blink an eye when given a script for 180 Percocet-10.    I have no doubt that I have some forgeries in my filled file.  I have however, tried to give more scrutiny to scripts that do not originate at the pain clinic and their very distinctive blanks.

Forgery 1 had been filled here before, 6 times in fact which pisses me off to no end.  This was a very good forgery using same computer format as the doctor,  and comparing his real signature with the fake one yeilded little difference.   He had as much variance in his real signature examples as the fake one.  He got found out when he filled it at a different store and they forgot to put a pill in the bottle (when it was discovered under the counting tray).  The phone number was no good on the script and a call to the doctor for more information, discovered the sad fact that they had no patient by this name.    He hasn’t been back to MY store but if he does he will have a police escort and an arrest to take with him also.

Forgery 2 I was ready to fill, til I noticed that the DEA number I had on file for the guy was different than the one on the blank.  Feeling I should better check, I told the guy I would fill it in the morning.  He said he would come back…and of course..never did because it too was a forgery. He managed to get nice security paper for it too.  I am aware that some Dr’s have changed their DEA numbers so I wasn’t so much calling to VERIFY the script as to determine which DEA number was correct…tho I had mentioned to the tech. “Well at least I have a valid reason to decline this script..I really want to check on it”.

Forgery 3 never looked right from the get-go.  150 Oxy IR and 14 Bactrim DS?  He too had the special paper from a big clinic nearby which even had the clinic name imbedded in the paper and the heat sensitive logo.  This was the real deal as far as the paper goes.  How he got it is beyond me, but  I am sure the guy didn’t believe anybody would check on the rx on a saturday.  He was wrong.  The doctor confirmed that the script was fake and wanted me to call 911 and have him arrested.  Geez, it was 10 minutes before closing and I doubted I could keep him in the store that long, but she insisted, so I played the game.  He got skittish and meandered (the best word I could find) away.  He was gone before the police got to the store, but his curiosity may have cost him. He came to the counter a couple of times while I was working, putting him in full view of our cameras.  (the cops got a nice DVD of that face).

The Chick wants to catch the bad guy as bad as any pharmacist, but I also know the reality that we have a pretty narrow window before the customer leaves and when the cops show up. I usually just keep the script and say ” the doctor said he never wrote this,  do you have anything to say about that?” “Please call your doctor”.  There are some nuts out there and I really dont want a backside  with a bullet in it. 

It was a bit nerve wracking and I got home nearly an hour late.  You know what? I really prefer boring days to this kind.

Play Ball!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 2:44 pm on Saturday, July 24, 2010

Since things in the pharmacy world are relatively calm blogwise,  finding interesting subjects to complain, er, write about, has been slow.  Maybe you will find other subjects just as interesting…..

Pharmacy Chick and Mr Chick decided to take in a MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL GAME to see, among other things, grown men spit, scratch their body parts, and throw tantrums that would make a 2 year old jealous.  Because OUR town doesn’t have a MLB team, this endeavor involved a 3 hour road trip.  Being smart, we left 5 hours early and thanks to road construction on nearly the entire stretch of freeway, we arrived to the stadium mere moments before the opening pitch.  This disappointed Mr Chick because that meant we had to eat stadium food and not at Rib-O-Rama nearby. 

We passed all sorts of lots to park at ( $10 here,  $15 there..) and finally settled on the screaming deal of $20 in a parking structure right next to the stadium.  Being ever frugal Mr Chick would have preferred to try to negotiate the maze of traffic to re-find the $10 lot but considering 1) we werent familiar with all their one-way traffic patterns in the city and 2) the price of our tickets WAY trumped the parking fee, we decided that seeing the GAME was a better option that spending another 1/2 hour trying to park for 10 bucks less.

We ponied up $3 for a program from Mr “My program is way better than the ones they sell inside”, got in the gate, then learned yet another “murphy’s rule” of events:  Your seat will always be on the opposite end of the building from the door you entered.  Our seats were on the first base line and the door we came in was left outfield.  We leafed thru the program and found it to be of little value except for the animated discussion we had over the listing of salaries of each player….  I am clearly in the wrong profession.  Give me enough time and I’ll figure out a way to throw a ball 95 miles an hour and make 14 million dollars.

I’ll give Mr Chick credit, we got GREAT SEATS…Until Larry Bird sat down..No, not the REAL Larry Bird.. but might as well have been.  This guy has to shop at  Tall and Taller Menswear and clearly had been told by his mother “sit up straight!”.  His head was directly in front of me and nearly blocked the entire path between pitcher and batter.  Mr Chick and I traded places and he claimed he could see just fine.  Our worthless program came in handy as an umbrella when somebody above us spilled a beer and it cascaded over the railing and dripped into Mrs Bird’s lap.  We made a mental note for future reference:  Stay away from row 31….the drip zone. 

The people surrounding us were nearly as interesting as the game.  By accident rather than by design, we were surrounded by people who for the most part (like we were) there to watch the OPPOSING team.  We met:

Mr Statistics:  Must be a bean counter, because he had all his implements out to keep score of the entire game. He had a radio strapped to his arm and buds in his ear as he grinded over keeping an accurate assessment of every play.  He had a most animated disagreement with his companion over who an error was to be charged to.

Ms Smorgasbord.  She didn’t come to the game to watch ball,  she came to eat.  And eat she did.  Bringing enough food to feed the aisle, she sat down and began the shoveling.  If she caught a game ball, she’d have eaten that too I think.

The Drunkard and his friends.  None of this group caught much of this game and openly said to whomever was listening ” I dont care who wins, where is the beer guy?”.  At $7.25 a glass, I have no doubt they spent more on beer than they paid on their tickets.  They left shortly after the 7th inning when the beer guy called “last call”.

The Screamer.  She and her friend were in their early twenties, she in her home team jersey and her friend in the opposing team jersey.  They asked me to take a picture with her Iphone, which I politely agreed.  When the opposing team was PUMMELING the home team she was quiet but when the momentum shifted, she began to scream…this blood curdling shriek to which I was sure I should be calling 911.   She was either demon posessed or in labor…or both.  Regardless, I told Mr Chick we were either going to move or I was going to rip her lungs out.  He chose the former option and we moved down to an empty couple of chairs several rows away.  

IBBC( itty bitty bladder club).  Up and down, up and down.. excuse me …pardon me…back and forth to the bathroom.  I am thinking an aisle seat would have been better for this gal.  Because she felt the need to explain her every passage, I decided the next time I would give her a card to the best urologist I knew. 

The soldier.  Right next to us was a man and his wife. While he was out getting snacks we entered into a casual conversation with his wife.  She mentioned they had just moved to the area and are ‘stationed’ nearby.  I asked if they were military and she said he had just completed his 5th (read that number..FIVE) tour in Iraq..and is heading back soon.  Later on while SHE was out getting something I just said ” Hey, thanks for all you do,  a lot of us appreciate you guys”.  He was quiet and gracious and as we chatted about his service over there he said ” after a while, it just becomes the new normal”  Wow.. I could never think of Iraq as anything resembling NORMAL.  I pray he makes it back from tour number 6.

The opposing team (OUR TEAM) won the game and I was pleased that the Screamer was made mute by the final score… 

After a 3+ hour trip back home we were snuggly in our beds by 3 am.  Another fun day in Chickville!

Ode to techs

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 5:46 pm on Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I think we all agree that, as pharmacists, we live and die by our support staff. Gone are the  days where pharmacies were staffed by pharmacists only, with an occasional clerk to ring up sales.  Even more so now with our labor cuts, we have to have support staff that measure up.

For the last several years, Pharmacy Chick has endured both feasts and famine when it comes to her tech help.  I have had the best…I have had the worst..I have also had the late, the absent, the sick, the no shows, the home-dramas, the babysistter crises, and the show-up-at-wrong-store techs also.  During these droughts of quality I have struggled with keeping up the facade that Pharmacy Chick pharmacy runs like a fine automobile. 

It wasn’t always easy…or successfull.

I recently had the opportunity to hire a new tech, when one of my other techs failed to return from a scheduled leave.  I had several applicants but one stood out.  She had been in the store before and knew tech-ing like she was born to do it.  So I hired her.

It has been a blessing BEYOND blessings in the recent weeks and I pray to the Lord above that all stays the same.  Here is what I have to “endure” now.

I get to “endure” two techs who like each other and enjoy each others company.  I get to “endure” techs that show up to work on time.  I get to “endure” techs who are capable, know how to do the job and work independently without drama, self aggrandizing, or prima-donna-ness. I get to have days off where I return to work and everything has been done as it should be. 

And this is what I do not have to endure:   competition,  backstabbing, gossip, excuses, and  passive agressiveness. 

So, even tho my techs do not know I  write this blog, I say thanks!  My job is 100 times easier than it was 6 months ago. I dont even have as much to whine (and therefore WRITE) about.

Now I am going to go back and sit on my patio, enjoy the afternoon sun, drink a Coke and toss a wet slimy tennis ball to my dog.


Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 6:23 pm on Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer finally arrived in Chick-Ville THANK YOU VERY MUCH!   After the winter that lasted far to long and a spring (I use that term loosely) that resembled winter,  we finally are baking in the 90’s.  You will NOT hear the chick whine about the heat.  Bring it on!

After golf today, Mr Chick and I decided to head to the club pool.  The cool refreshing water felt wonderful on a body that had just played 18 holes of golf in 95 degree heat.  It was packed with hottie teeny boppers in their bikinis (sigh, I remember the days) and many I shall describe only as “others”.

Can I just say one thing?  At some point, even BLACK quits being slimming. 

Just an observation!

On the frontlines of the pharmacy,  the Chick got a new intern for the summer…whoo hoo!  I only wish I had interns when I needed them MOST, during flu shot season.  Unfortunately thats when they migrate back to the books.  She’s a smart cookie and for the first time in X years, my intern has ENGLISH as her first language.

Interns sure have changed over the years.  I no longer accept first  year interns simply because I don’t have the time to teach them the stuff they should have learned in class.  When I was in school, we had a true “dispensing” class. It was a mock up of a pharmacy, complete with a pharmacy full of outdated donated drugs that have been pulled and counted thousands of times no doubt.  We were given “rx’s” that we were to interpret, type labels (yes TYPE…as in typewriter) then count, label and show the teacher.

The school nearest to us that we get our interns from have never been to a dispensing class. I guess the teachers assume that is the preceptors job.  “Here, this is a spatula and a counting hold the wooden end and count with the metal end, usually by 5’s unless you are some savant and prefer to count by 4’s or 6’s…”.

One of the things I always tell my students is this.  “Pharmacy school is going to teach you how to BECOME a pharmacist.   I am going to teach you how to BE one.”  Big difference. 

Every one tries to talk like their professor…”Do you have a special project for me this summer?”.  ” Yes…learn how to become an awesome retail pharmacist, since that is the setting you are in for 10 weeks.  The customer is your judge.”.

Its so competitive in the pharmacy schools now, that I know these kids are brilliant minds to even have been accepted into the program.  I want to teach them to be brilliant communicators and empathetic people too..

Time to get my Dale Carnegie books out!

Now, its time to dip my feet in the pool again!

What part of RV-ing spells “recreation”?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 9:48 pm on Monday, July 5, 2010

I was hanging out at the golf course today after work when I spotted a friend of mine who had just returned from vacation.  I asked him how his trip was and he replied ( and I am not so sure he was being truthful) ..”oh, I just LOVE spending 2 weeks in a RV with my children”.  He had packed up his family and took off for parts unknown in what is basically a studio apartment on wheels.

On my way home, i got behind 2 such studio apartments being towed by a couple of giant trucks (8mpg at best I assume).  Because I was not going AROUND this convoy on the little 2 laner I was driving on,  I just settled down for the 15 minute ride home…and starting thinking…and reminiscing.

RV….short for “recreation vehicle”.  It seems to be a uniquely North American mode of vacation because in most of my travels,  I have never seen such a vehicle in Europe or the Middle East. I do however fail to see the “recreation” part of this design.  Allow me to explain.

I perhaps have a different definition of “recreation”.  To me, it implies a break…a rest from the drudgery of daily work, such as housework and cooking.    Dragging a small building on wheels around all over the country doesn’t sound very  relaxing to me.

To me, my perfect RV is my car.  My car will take me to a very clean hotel where a nice clean bed awaits me and somebody else will make the bed, wash the sheets, and clean the shower when I am done.  My car will take me to any number of restaurants where some very nice person will cook a meal for me and somebody equally nice will serve it and take the plates away, never to be seen again.  I don’t have to hook up my car to any device to suck the poop out of a holding tank, and I don’t have to plug it in to anything to keep all the lights on.  It fits in every parking spot on the planet and I dont have  to make special allowances as to HOW I will get out of the lot I just drove into.

Likewise, I dont have to pack nearly half of everything I own (including the kitchen sink).   I don’t have to hope I have enough water to make that next flush, and if I want to take a shower, I can do so with impunity. 

I remember as a kid, we used to go camping. (this was pre “RV” term) For the record, Pharmacy Chick was never given an opt-out of these events.  Honestly, I never saw the appeal for the women-folk.  Mom had to clean out the camper, which my father dutifully dirtied  with his dogs, dead animals carcasses, hunting gear, and various work supplies (since he worked in the mountains a lot).  99% of the time, the camper was a mess that even Hazmat would defer.  Nevertheless, Mom would clean it up then go about the chore of getting it ready for the camping trip…loading it up with fresh food, making sure that the food already in there was in date (doubtful), and that the water tank was full (never was), and that the potty was empty (don’t go there).  We’d pack camping dishes, camping clothes, camping furniture, camping..well you get the picture.  Then we would take off and drive for hours on roads that even the Forest Service has no record of, until we were so sufficiently “away” from people that likely even GOD would need GPS to find us.

We were then encouraged to enjoy the great outdoors whilst Dad and Brother would do “man stuff” , like build a fire ring …which also made no sense since the camper had a “kitchen”.  Dad liked to camp next to a creek if he could find one in case we wanted to bathe…yea…RIGHT…bathe in 36 degree water that only 20 minutes ago was snow pack on the mountan we were parked on.

After about 20 minutes of enjoying the “great outdoors”  Pharmacy Chick would usually BE discovered by the great outdoors..namely mosquitoes….mosquitoes large enough to require lisences and leashes.  Slathered in enough deet to frost a cake, I would retreat to the farthest INTERIOR corner of the camper, scolding anybody foolish enough to open the door and let one of the blood sucking creatures inside.  I would also risk asphyxiation at night by sleeping 100% under the covers, lest even one of them bite me on the face.

It never worked.

30 years later I am still scarred by this character building experience of “camping”.  After a couple of nights in the wilderness we would pack up and drag our smelly aching bodies back home.  the BOYS would  grunt and retreat to the showers, and dad would turn on the news.  Mom and I would be left to the task of cleaning up the camper, the dirty dishes, the dirty clothes, the dirty dogs and..well, you get the picture. I would also spend the next week nursing my various bites and scratches, cursing the very ground upon which my father walked if he EVER suggested another camping trip…which he inevitably did 3-4 times each summer.

So just in case you are wondering.. Pharmacy Chick doesn’t ” RV”…she doesn’t “CAMP” either, unless you consider Motel-6 as camping..that is as close to roughing-it as I am ever going to get.  Every year a group of my church friends likes to go camping…and every year they invite the Chicks for a “day in the mountains”.

I think not.

Now where is that mint that is supposed to be on the pillow…………..

Boy, did WE get it wrong today.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:48 pm on Monday, July 5, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, our corporate office sent out a memorandum asking us to call our competitors to see if they were having any shorter hours on the 5th of July, the nations OFFICIAL holiday…which for those of you who ARENT a state employee is a required national holiday in the event that the REAL holiday happens to fall on your weekend….because we all know how much it would suck to not get that extra paid day off…OH wait a minute…I am in the retail sector..we DONT get that extra day off.  Gads, I’d love to be a government employee.

But I digress…

I called 3-4 of our main competitors and asked them if they were having any shorter hours because of the “holiday”.  The response to my question was a straight across the board NO.   When I sent that info back to corporate (a simple task anyone who can operate a phone COULD have done themselves) they decided to leave our hours the same also.

Now, I really thought that July 5 would be a lot like MLK-Jr day..a national holiday but one that most clinics and medical facilities would remain open.  And, on MLK-Jr day, we did a fairly normal level of business, only down slightly because the offices in the state hospital nearby were closed.  Today was another story. 

D.E.A.D. for a Monday.  Other than the “unlikely to be picked up” autofills, we didn’t have much to do.  And because I fully staffed the store on this Monday, we had lots of people milling around with not much to do. 

Oh, I made use of the  labor by 1) sending one home early (who was chomping at the bit to go) and 2) doing busy work like pulling outdates, moving hardcopies to the basement and 3) cleaning, but I could sense the impending doom…Tomorrow will be hell.

I wish it was my day off.

You have to read Counsel ME today…

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 4:51 pm on Friday, July 2, 2010

July 1 post.  required reading…just make sure you grab a tissue for the tears of laughter!