The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

The Annual Pitching Fit

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 11:21 pm on Friday, December 21, 2012

Every year about this time we start getting emails from the office reminding us to get the pharmacy all cleaned up before the end of the year.  Ready 2012 files to be moved to the storage room and make room for the 2013 crap.  After 26 years as a pharmacist, 17 of them in the same place, I doubt I need to be reminded of this every year, but it doesn’t stop them from doing it.

Once I start cleaning I have a hard time stopping.  It must be a small smidgen of OC that lingers in  my bones.  I do like “clean”.  For those that remember “the odd couple”. I am truly a Felix Unger.  Thankfully the rest of my staff are just like me so we keep a pretty organized and tidy place that only looks messy during flu shot season when amount of work>time allowed to complete.

This year I have taken this cleaning obsession to a new low…( or high) depending on your perspective. Mr Chick has been out of town several times in the last several weeks for one reason or another, leaving me at home alone.  This is the perfect time for PC to launch in to project-mode and get stuff done.  While MR Chick is certainly not a messy person, he is a bit of a pack rat so if he is around when I start these projects, he hangs around a little too close and wants to hang on to junk.  AND I mean JUNK.  He is also a “hider” ( not on purpose).  He finds a so called ” place” for something that makes no sense to ever re-find it again then promptly forgets where he put it.  When and if he ever thinks about the item again, he has no idea where it is and likely  will not find it.  I certainly will never find it unless I stored it in the first place.

There is only one genre of things that I hold dear to my heart….must be the pharmacist in me:  and that is pens and pads.  I will go to my grave packed in pharmacy pens and pads.  I have pens for drugs not made anymore.  I have pads for drugs my techs have never heard of.  Drawers of pens, and boxes of pads and I will never throw them out.  The rest of the house however is fair game.

I started with the store room upstairs.  OMG its been years since I ventured into that crawl space….and 2 hours later I had a pile worthy for the dump.  Some went to Goodwill, and the rest overflowed the trash. I had empty boxes for things I dont even have anymore, boxes of coffee cups acquired over the years ( we dont drink coffee), totes of left over yarn, etc etc etc….  The next target was the file cabinet…another repsitory for worthless and outdated paper.  I went thru the first file cabinet and generated a pile of paper destined for the work shredder (much bigger than my own).  I probably dont need anything over 2 years old..except my tax returns.  I filed thru things I hadn’t seen in a long time, including stuff I really couldn’t throw out simply for the historical factor.  When I found some notes from my mother, a few tears dribbled down my cheeks.  Seeing her handwriting is a very emotional experience.

Today’s project was the office/den space. That took a good 4 hours start to finish.  I tackled (with permission) Mr Chick’s desk and file cabinet, found a cache of even more pens and paper ( whoo hoo), a collection of glasses cases ( not sure why he needs 8 cases for the 1 pair he owns, but hey…), 6 tubes of chapstick,  name tags from a place he hasn’t worked in a dozen years, and a bag of junk he collected at a trade show he went to A YEAR AGO, including about 6 stuffed monkeys( the company mascot I guess), and a sleeve of crappy golf balls nobody but a non-golfer would use.  There was even more pens and pads ( whoo hoo). I emptied and pitched over a dozen 3 ring binders stuffed with materials that were dated and unneccessary.   I also cleared out the “library”.  We have a lot of books, most of which are either golf or God related.  I filled two huge sacks of books to be donated.  The acceptor of these books will know we golf and will probably think we hate God now because we gave away all these precious tomes!

Which ( as an aside),  why is it that we are so hesitant to get rid of books?  To be honest, if I read a book, I seldom go back and read it again.  If I start a book and find it boring or not engaging, I put in on the shelf and have no future plans for it.  Those are the books I cleaned out today.  It seems that I received a lot of “free books” when I donated some money to some ministry because I still had the paper that came with them: ” please enjoy this book as a thank you for your donation to XYZ ministries”.  Sorry, but somebody else will enjoy the book…I didn’t read it.  Not that it wasn’t a good book…for somebody…its just that if I wanted that tome, I would have ordered it.  In the pharmacy I tend to hang on to pharmacy magazines, a habit I am duly breaking.  I never go back to them..they certainly aren’t worth storing and nothing in them is worth referencing.

But anyway, I kept the majority of Mr Chick’s books because it wouldn’t be nice if sometime down the road ( which I doubt will happen) he actually seeks out a book on those shelves.  For example, before he left he handed me a book one of his clients gave him: a book of poetry that she had written. He said keep this.  It looked familiar….so when I went to the book shelf I found out why…we have 6 other EXACT copies of the same little book of poetry.  He doesn’t like poetry and will never read it, but this will join the other 6 copies of her book. She must be very fond of her poetry, if she keeps giving the same book to the same people.

Next project for after work tomorrow will be the smaller file cabinet that has every owners manual for everything I have ever purchased.

Won’t that be interesting.


Give something this Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 2:57 pm on Friday, December 14, 2012

When I was a kid, I loved Christmas.  It was about as fun as it could get.  There were tons of presents under the tree, snow everywhere and 2 weeks without school.  Mom would cook up holiday favorites and for a kid, what could be more fun that candy, cookies and gifts?  Obviously the real meaning behind CHRIST-mas was lost on me as a kid, but as I have grown older, the holiday as taken a different focus.  I still love the holiday but I celebrate it a little differently than most.

I have a Christmas tree…its plastic and most years I haven’t even bothered to bring it down from storage.  For only two people in my house, its hours of work that  nobody but myself and Mr Chick will admire, and since we quit family gift exchange, there isn’t anything under it anyway.  Aw, dont feel sorry for me. I dont.  Its a choice we all made as a family.

I do send thoughtful Xmas cards, and I spent  a fair amount of time preparing them. I, for one, would rather receive no card at all, than one that has just a signature at the bottom.  Oh, how thoughtful of you to spend a dollar on a card and postage to show me your first name at the bottom of a “happy holidays” card.  Even tho social media like Facebook keeps most of my friends informed of what I do,  I have a lot of people that I do care about but for reasons of distance, dont see often.Therefore the annual Xmas card is my way of communication.  I create a letter,  newsy but not braggy so there can be some conveyance of information of what I did this year.  And this year I did the photo card thing so a couple of  photos are included so everybody can see how many more grey hairs we have this year and what my dogs look like!  I also try to include a personal statement at the end of every letter when I stuff the envelopes, whether it be ” nice to see you this summer” or ” congrats on your new house”, or ” loved seeing you at the golf course”. I actually read all the letters I get, and find myself going back to them before I finally recycle them at the new year.

But just because I dont have a gift exchange doesn’t mean I dont give something at Xmas.  Despite being the most electronically “connected” people in all of history,  we are still some of the most lonesome people on the planet.  Spending 2 hours perusing facebook doesn’t count as a social interaction. It doesn’t really count  for much to be honest with you.  Granted, I love my time on facebook, but it doesn’t replace physical social interaction.

I see people all day every day when I am at work.  Most really dont care about me.  I am just a means to and end. Its really amazing if you analyze a transaction, that some people can pick up their rx and never look at an employee directly in the face.  They fiddle with their phone, their purse, their kids, their grocery cart, the credit card box, and then their bag with the rx in it. Sometimes, EYE to EYE contact rattles people.

So what do I give?

I give a compliment.  Sure, I give boxes of candy to some significant people in my life and make some cookies for certain occasions, but I try to  have some kind of POSITIVE social interaction with as many people as I can during this time of year, in the form of a compliment.  AND, anybody can do it.  Its completely free of charge and even if you have not a penny in your pocket, you can give this one thing to everybody around, including the people who serves YOU and the people you serve.  And when you give a compliment, something amazing happens:  they stop what they are doing and look at your face.  For just a moment their brain disengages from what it WAS doing and has to acknowledge the unexpected.

In most cases ( yea, I understand, not ALL) there is something nice you can say to somebody.  ” I like your scarf, its pretty”. ” You look great in that suit”.  When you say something nice to somebody it can be a game-changer that you dont even realize. People have said nice things to me that turned my day around…and its not likely they even knew it.

Giving somebody a compliment can change a mood, be encouraging and lift a spirit.

It might even change you!


No good deed goes appreciated!

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 5:22 pm on Sunday, December 9, 2012

It was 5 min after 6 pm.  The gates were closed, the lights were off, the computers were down, and the cash register pan was in the hands of my tech who had her hands on the door as I was donning my coat. I was already late for a full dinner Christmas party I had been invited to that started at 6…  What in THAT scenario would indicate that we were open for business?  nothing right?  Not so fast.

“HEY! I need my prescription.  HEY we are closed! coursed thru my brain as this smartly dressed woman stomped up to the counter. ” I am sorry, but we closed 5 minutes ago. We are open again tomorrow at 10 am, can you pick it up tomorrow?”  ” NO, I am sick and I had it called in 3 hours ago, my name is (who cares)”.  I remembered the name, it was closer to about 5 hours ago when it was called in…sufficient time to have been in a different STATE and still have driven in. I wasnt going to piss about it, so I asked my tech to just log into the till and sell her the antibiotic. 1 minute in and out.

The woman wasnt much of a customer. She had a profile in our system with NO rxs attached to it. That meant that she hadn’t been at any store in our chain for at least 8 years since the last purge was performed on the files. We had filled the rx for cash since her “insurance” had been defunct for years. It was about $10.

Tech Extraordinaire rang up the sale and when we tried to collect the 10 bucks the patient  handed me an insurance card.  I told her that we were closed when she arrived and all of our computers were turned off for the night. The best I was able to do for her at this time was get the rx to her hands.  If she wants her insurance billed we will do it Sunday am and she can collect a refund then. I had no intentions of rebooting my computers, all of which were OFF, to rebill one single claim.  Had the rx been for some fabulously expensive drug, I may have considered it but for 20 ciprofloxacin? no way.  I photocopied her card and the receipt so that the opening pharmacist could have it done when she arrived the next day.

We were nice, we were professional.  I did the complete counsel, resisting the temptation to dump the rx into her demanding hands and walk away.  She received the same courtesy as any other patient received EXCEPT the billing part, which I had already made arrangements for.

This morning I texted the opening pharmacist about the receipt and insurance card. I told her the patient would be in to collect whatever refund is due. A couple of hours later Tech Extraordinaire II texted me ” wow, that woman is sure a bitch!  She whined to everybody who would listen about how horrible we were.

Thankfully my supervisors know better.

And I am confident that Karma will come face to face with her someday.



No bad day

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 10:32 pm on Friday, December 7, 2012

Had a bad day. Yea, Ive had plenty…written about most of them frankly, so you have experienced  the blow by blow for many of them.  But I know of a lady who probably has had us trumped for bad days.

Mr Chick is a businessman, he has clients, and occasionally gets to see his clients in their own space. In this case, in a restaurant where his client works, and OWNS…a little mongolian grill type place near his workplace.

On this day he stopped in for lunch and got into a conversation with the owner, a lady in her 60’s from Cambodia.  How she got here is a story too long for this post, but her success as a restaurant owner hides a much different past.  An innocent statement started it all.

” You have an interesting scar on your face….”

Ever heard of the Khmer Rouge? She has. One day they came to her town in Cambodia and rounded up her family.  Each of the men were beheaded with a mighty swing of a machete…in front of everybody.  Maybe they were the lucky ones, I dunno.  The women weren’t beheaded.  They were burned with hot irons on the face right between the eyes, and on their stomachs. She said she blacked out from the pain.  She was gang raped by the Khmer Rouge members and somehow she fled to the jungle.

The remaining family gathered up what money they had and had to cross the killing fields in order to flee the country.  One of them was blown up by a land mine crossing the fields. It was only a few feet away.

The story went on and on.

No matter how lousy my day has been at work, dealing with pissy customers, too much work, not enough help, no lunch, and 13 hour workday, nothing compares to the bad days this little lady experienced.

Isn’t perspective a good thing?



Near Mayhem?

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 2:23 pm on Saturday, December 1, 2012

Who hasnt seen the mayhem commercials for Allstate insurance? If you raised your hands you probably don’t own a TV.  My all time favorite Mayhem commercial is quite possibly the first one, where Mayhem is the Christmas tree..” the perfect douglas fir..that smells so good its like making love to a lumber jack”….and apparently wasn’t attached well enough to the car…and you all know ” the rest of the story”.

The other day Mr Chick and I were driving on the highway and we came up behind a mini van with what looked to be a christmas tree STANDING upside down on its roof. “What the hell is that?” I asked Mr Chick.  As we got closer we realized that we were witnessing a near Mayhem moment ourselves.  The aforementioned Xmas tree had come undone and the wind generated by the oblivious driver of the minivan was pushing the base of the tree to a near vertical position.

“Lets get away from this” we agreed and passed the minivan.  I tried to motion to the guy driving that his tree was about to be airborne but his attention was on the road ahead and quite possibly on his wife in the next seat.  We got out of the way and took the next exit home.

I hope his mini van AND his tree made it to the same place…at the same time!

Any mayhem moment of your own you’d like to confess/share?