I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription that had been called in for my wife. The pharmacy is a national chain and although I am a retired hospital pharmacist, I take a special interest in noticing how things work in any pharmacy I may visit. I worked for a year in retail pharmacy after I graduated from pharmacy school and I almost quit the profession because it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I just did not like it. Luckily, rather than jumping ship completely, I went into hospital pharmacy and found that I loved the profession.
I pulled into the store’s parking lot but decided not to use the drive-through window because there was a line of at least half a dozen cars. I parked in front and walked into the store. The pharmacy was at the back and I found it staffed with four employees. I believe that one was a pharmacist and the other three were pharmacy technicians. They were all busy and there were two lines. One for dropping off prescriptions and the other for picking up prescriptions. I got in the pickup line behind five other people. I noticed that the time was 6:49PM. I hate standing in lines (has something to do with the Army), so I check my watch when I get in one.
As I stood in line there was nothing else to do but watch the pharmacy employees. One of the technicians never left her computer or looked up the entire time I was in line. Jesus Christ could have walked in and she would not have noticed. Another technician was staffing the drive-through window, running back and forth, while a third technician was working the register, while sucking on an energy drink, at the head of the pickup line. The pharmacist never left the back but seemed busy filling and checking prescriptions. Every ten seconds (I timed it) while I was in line a computerized voice announced, “PHARMACY CALL.” It was like Chinese water torture, painful, steady, and never ending. I think the employees had simply tuned it out because it certainly didn’t seem to make anyone rush to pick up a phone. I would probably have done the same after hearing it for the 360th time time in an hour.
I finally made it to the head of the line and presented the technician with my driver’s license and credit card. She retrieved the prescription from the "M" bin and processed my card. At 7:00PM I had the prescription in hand and was on my way out. I had stood in the line for eleven minutes, waiting to pick up a prescription that was just sitting there waiting for me to come and get it.
When I did my time in retail pharmacy, people would have gotten very upset having to wait eleven minutes just to pick up an already filled prescription. In fact, many would have been upset if they had to wait eleven minutes for me to fill their prescription. Even after sitting in the doctor's office for two hours and not complaining. That is one of the main reasons I could not continue working in retail pharmacy. I might have enjoyed it had it not been for the customers. Too many customers were simply asses. Unfortunately, they are necessary for a retail operation. People seem to be nicer to the pharmacist today. I'm not complaining. At least I wasn’t one of the callers being announced every ten seconds.