The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Cash is not Carte Blanche

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:36 pm on Saturday, April 30, 2011

I imagine every pharmacist has that 6th sense that tells you that  a customer is going to be a problem child from the first view. When I saw the young man at the counter my first thought was ” Trainwreck is back” but it wasn’t him..It was just a look-alike.  He had a stud in his lip, and some home-made tattoos on his lower arms and fingers.  He was rifling thru a backpack when I asked him if he needed some help. He produced an empty bottle of generic Norco from a pharmacy out of town and wanted to know what it would cost. ” You guys got some kind of discount card you gave me last time”.  I checked his profile and sure enough we had him on a Free Drug Card Thingy.  (aside: we have so much competition around that we usually stick our cash customers on one of these cards to keep the prices competitive..and it works).

But since this rx was a transfer, I took the kids phone number and told him that once I got the rx I will transmit the claim to FDCT and let him know the price. He wasn’t happy as he wanted to know NOW but shut up quickly when I said, “You already told me somebody told you the cash price as $40..right???”  He wisely decided to wait.

We were pretty slammed so I set it aside for about 1/2 hour.  I finally picked up the phone to call and I noticed that this Norco rx was a 30 days supply of med filled 14 days ago.  DEAL BREAKER.  I hung up on the pharmacy IVR and called the kid instead. I told him that the next time I would fill this rx was 14 days from now.  He should still posess a 1/2 bottle of this somewhere, based on the directions provided.  He countered that he pays cash.  I said it didn’t matter if he paid in Gold Boullion,  it was still too soon, and unless the doctor changed the directions on the rx to reflect that usage schedule, I couldn’t fill it.

This was a non-negotiable as far as I was concerned, and he knew it. He just wanted his bottle back.  He was probably just gonna hoof it down to the next store and try them instead.

I really hope it was a non-negotiable there too. I am sick of this nonsense ..

Dear Customer moment version 2.1

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:08 pm on Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dearest Customer:

I certainly understand your frustration that you aren’t able to find this certain “long term backorder” drug.  I told you last week that we didn’t have it, couldn’t get it and didn’t know when it would be available.  So WHY for the love of God did you think that talking to a different employee on a Friday night (who said ” we have to order this”)  would make my declaration invalid? You said you have been to every pharmacy in Whoville. You said EVERYBODY told you they were out of stock.  I, the speaker of all truths pharmacy related, told you we couldn’t get it.

Therefore,  why did you get so pissed when, after I discovered your prescription in the “Fill monday” pile, I called you and told you we will not be getting that product?? Did you think I was lying?  Did the floater tech who helped you on Friday reveal some kind of secret wholesaler stash?  I even gave you some theraputic alternative ideas to bounce off your doctor, but for some reason you took none of my advice.

But just so you know I gave you back your prescription in the hopes you might find it as soon as possible, so  wadding up your prescription, declaring “F*** this Sh**, and throwing it over my shoulder into my shred bin, was classless.

Just so you know, I left it in there, so if you want it back, Good Luck.  My shred people come on Monday.

signed, Pharmacy Chick.


Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 9:38 pm on Saturday, April 23, 2011

My last customer of the day on friday night was a trainwreck. I suspect everybody has a name for these people.  I personally call them “trainwrecks’.  Before I go on, I will define a “trainwreck”.

A trainwreck is a person who posesses the  following characteristics:  1) his/her  life is one crisis after another.  2) couldn’t be organized or make a plan if their life depended on it.  3)  when given the choice to make a good decision or a bad one, will chose the BAD option every single time.  4)  Will F-up everything they do.   5)  has no comprehension whatsoever that their lack of planning/poor choices, etc, creates hassles and inconveniences  everybody they come in contact with.  and 6) generally passes this trait onto their plentiful offspring.

Meet Kevin.  Kevin is a trainwreck and has all of these traits but No. 6.  I dont think he has procreated yet.

 I got a call from Big Box asking me if we took Crapola HMO state welfare plan.  My head was screaming NO!, but my mouth said Yes.  Glancing at the clock I noted to Big Box pharmacy ” WE close in 40 minutes, they need to get their butt down here”.   (Note: big box is a whopping 1 mile drive…they took 20 minutes).

Kevin and his (what appeared to be) his long suffering mother stood before me. He looked about 24ish.  Half of his teeth were missing ( meth head),  had scars on his arms ( more meth head traits),  smelled like he had smoked cigarrettes from birth, heavily tattooed and pierced. Mom looked like the lady next door.  I doubt she was impressed with his appearance.  He had a Vicodin and Keflex script. As is customary for all controlled rx I asked for his ID…We photocopy ID and staple it to the hardcopy on ALL controls for new patients.   ” All I have is this”…and he hands me a bus pass with his picture on it. Um Kevin, this isn’t positive ID in this state:  Driver’s license..State ID card, Military ID or Passport, that what is acceptable.  I asked him for his insurance card..since Big Box told me he had Crapola HMO.  ” I didn’t bring it”. He claimed he had memorized his ID number, but what he produced was 6 of 7 digits in the Crapola HMO ID number. I swear..he had this deer-in-the-headlight-light-clueless-wonderboy-look when I told him that if nothing else, he should always have is ID and insurance card on his person.

It was 20 minutes before closing.  In a normal situation I would have blown Kevin off and sent him packing..and had every right to do so.  No ID, no Insurance info.  But Mom was there and she was showing a lot of patience and grace for this boy who probably gave her nothing but a lot of anguish. I decided to show her the same grace and patience.

 I called Big Box and got the ID number they had on file for him.  I noted that he went to BigTeachingHosiptal ER and Crapola HMO only covers rx’s from Crapola contracted hospitals..and Big Teaching Hospital wasn’t one of them.  I had to break that news to Mom because Kevin didn’t have any money ( surprise?).   I told her that I could find a free drug discount card to keep their cost low. She told me that Big Box didn’t take Crapola HMO and said it would be $40 for the two.   I told her that we will get them for less than $40. I also told them we closed at 9pm and don’t wander too far away. These wouldn’t take very long.

I filled the two rx’s and they came to just under $20.  Tech extraordinare and I were waiting for them to come back..8:54….8:55…I sent a page over the intercom…8:56…..8:57.  (second page over the intercom).  8:58….8:59….Ive closed 2/3 of the pharmacy gates, and all of the computers but one. Ive scanned all the aisles for Trainwreck and about given up.  8:59:59 he comes trotting up with a big McDonald’s cup in his hand.  ” I was starvin man… needed some dinner”.  I told him jovially that his dinner about cost him  these two prescriptions…as I was closing up shop, and had paged him twice.

I counselled him, rang him out (mom paid..of course).. and sent them on his way.  Mom thanked me for waiting. 

I closed up shop and headed for the door.  Mom was waiting near the rest rooms.  “thanks again” she said.  I smiled and wished her a good night.

Cutting slack for Trainwrecks is not my normal MO. I’m not cutthroat, but I don’t make a habit of babysitting these people, as it simply enables them.  Mom, however was just part of the wreckage Kevin left behind.  I hope Kevin gets back on track someday…but I am not holding my breath..

Um, I love you too? …a reader’s submission

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 8:57 am on Saturday, April 23, 2011

I can’t take credit for this happening to me, but it was too priceless not to I do it verbatim:

Sorry to bug you on Easter, you’ve GOT TO hear this.  I thought of you the SECOND this happened.
I just had an out-of-town Doc call in an RX for a patient visiting for the holiday.  It was just Keflex, and when he signed off, I said “Thanks Doc, have a good day.”
His response?
“I love you.”
Yeah, you read that right.
I should have told him, “Dr., really, we just met.  You’re taking this too fast.”
How funny is that?
Happy Easter to you and Mr. Chick!
And Happy Easter to all my readers!


Doing Something Just for Me.

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:59 pm on Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I toyed with the idea of writing about this for awhile.  Do I?? Don’t I?  What would be the reaction of people? Would they think less of me? Would they think I was foolish or vain?  Writing about it won, so here I go:

Nobody is perfect, but I had one thing on my body that I found to be less perfect than others.  It caused me to cringe in photos, and I never liked to look at myself in pictures, especially in profile shots. I felt everybody noticed it and it made me feel self conscious and ugly. It wasn’t true of course, but to me it was like having a big wart on the center of my nose!

Its my neck.  I have a double chin.  I inherited my grandmothers saggy skin in my neck area giving me this ugly neck, and no jaw line.  My jaw disappeared right into my neck and the older I got, the more prominent the sag.  It has bothered me so much over the years that the turtle neck shirt has been my staple for all of my adult life. AND, despite topping out the scales at around 125 lbs and wearing a nice 4-6 range, I still had this double chin, that no exercising was going to remove.

In mid December we got a flyer in the mail..from an asthetic medicine clinic.  You know, face lifts, liposuction, face treatments, etc..  It was no surprise. I had been getting these fliers for years. Usually they just were tossed into the recycle bin.  “too much money for vanity” I thought, hard to justify that kind of money when it could be used for church, home improvements,etc.  but It didnt’ stop me from admiring the pictures and commenting to Mr Chick, “Boy, I would sure like to get my chin and neck done. Its just so ugly”.

It was Mr Chick however that made all the difference.  He said ” you know honey, you have felt self conscious about your  neck as long as I have known you. Its only money.  If you want to fix it.. do it.” 

We talked about it for awhile.  the  consulation would be free. (thats business-speak for “we dont tell you the cost until you are here”). What the heck…I’ll take the bait.  I went into the consultation, met the clinic owner, the person who makes the appointments, et al.  Still not convinced that this would ever materialize, I just took the paperwork, looked at the numbers andwent home.  No way would Mr Chick take these numbers for having the fat sucked off my neck.

I was wrong.  We signed the agreement, and made the appointment.  The VISA was charged.

Feb 22 was the big day.    Wholly professionally handled, the room was like an operating suite, and 45 minutes later I was done. I also looked a little grotesque. Wrapped up and swollen I spent most of the first day sleeping with a dog at my side.  Ihad to wear a compression bandage 24-7 for 3 days, including one day at work, where I wore a scarf  and endured a lot of comments about me joining the nunnery.

Having told only my staff about what I was having done, I answered their question by telling them I had some minor repair work finally done.

The result?

AWESOME! My biggest fear was going thru all this and finding I looked no different. I was thrilled to be wrong for a change.  Its a 100% turn around, both face on and profile.  It was 100% for me, and yes it was a superfluous expenditure of cash. At my second post op appointment 6 weeks later, the Doctor asked me if I liked the result.

I told her it was the coolest thing I have ever done for myself.

I wish I could show you 🙂

News Alert

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:54 pm on Friday, April 8, 2011

AP News:  Rumors are circulating on the whereabouts of the internationally famous and beloved blogger Pharmacy Chick and her equally famous and beloved spouse Mr Chick.  Witnesses report seeing PC loading what appeared to be golf travel bags in the back of their car and muttering “enough of this cold weather”.  Another witness reported seeing PC handing a nondescript paper bag to a neighbor and a small key with the comment ” mail box 12 please”.    One source close to the Chick family dispute the rumor saying  ” She just recently vacationed.  I HIGHLY doubt she would be leaving again so soon.  Its all a rumor”, while another source close to Pharmacy Chick reported ” That’s just CRAP…  she would vacation 24-7-365 if she could!”. 

It is unknown where their current whereabouts are.  Staff at Pharmacy Chick Pharmacy refused comment, saying only “What she does is her business!, but we are all jealous hahaha”.  Family and friends alike are all hoping for their safety and well being during their absence, but do not think any foul play is involved unless one or the other double bogeys a hole, a crime in and of itself.

Sources close to the Chick family have assured all those asking that they will turn up soon enough and will most certainly have much to say about their absence, and to continue checking her blogsite for any and all updates.


What if?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:49 am on Monday, April 4, 2011

John Lennon had his own list of “what ifs”.  Pharmacy Chick has her own.  Over the last 2 and 1/2 decades in pharmacy practice, we have all seen huge fundamental changes in how health care is delivered and managed.  What used to be a physician/patient driven entity is now an insurance company driven one.

Patients understand this, but it doesn’t mean they “get it”.  The patient has a toddler’s mind when it comes to their health care. They refuse to think beyond the simplest of concepts.  they prefer black and white streams of thoughts and all they want is “what the doc ordered”.  Rarely do they think in terms of 1) cost, 2) necessity, or 3) availability.  I am a provider but I am also an “insured”.  I get the same paperwork each enrollment season that the clerk stocking the shelves does.  While I am more capable of understanding all the pages of literature they send out each fall, it doesn’t make it any more likely that I will sit and pour over every single page of it. I do however take some time to look at it each year to see what changes have been made.

Sadly, most people seem to live in a time where insurance meant ‘carte blanche’ with regards to health care.  Costs were low, and we didn’t have a lot of expensive stuff out there.  Insurance companies could pay their claims and still roll around in lots of cash.

I propose that one of our fundamental problems in the way we “run” health care is the insurance industry itself.  Think about it.  The Insurance industry is a FOR PROFIT org.  We make OUR money by delivering health care services and products to the patients who need them.  THEY make their money by delivering as LITTLE services and products as they possibly can, thereby preserving as much money for themselves/stockholders/dividends.  By denying services, they make money. 

I just want to know, Why is this a good thing?

WHAT IF, insurance was a not-for-profit org?  Where the money they brought in was 100% for services, products, and admin?   Why should insurance even BE a profit driven organization when profits are generated soley by denying or gate-keeping products from patients…and diverted to stockholders?

After all, they are merely a type of bank…premiums are paid to this “bank” who then pay them to providers when services are rendered….maybe..if its covered, if its filed properly, and if they feel like it.

Can we start a discussion?  WHAT IF INSURANCE WAS A NON PROFIT ENTITY>  What would change??