Wednesday, August 26, 2009


"Girl! Get my medicine!"

"I need this. Get it."

*throw a prescription, insurance card, credit card, or check onto the counter*

*snatch things out of my hand*

After today, and the past two weeks of "shut up and fill" pharmacy hours, I'm finding myself wondering what in the godless motherfuck has happened to courtesy, manners, and the idea that *not* acting like an asshole in public is a good thing. Of the above degradations frequently heaped on retail workers, all 4 have happened to me today alone. I've lost count of how many times this week someone has displayed such stunning examples of tactless, overly-entitled bullshit to me or a coworker... and it's only Wednesday.

Tonight, I would very much like the opportunity to tell people that think they can treat anyone, let alone the people helping them get their drugs, food, clothing, social security checks, or phone/television/Internet service what they deserve to hear. Some examples follow:

"Tell me if my prescription's ready."
"What's your-- "
"I could if you weren't such a self-centered prick. Guess you're out of luck until you calm down and tell me your name, huh?"

"You're going to get my medicine out of the drawer and answer a question before you ring it up."
"Yes, sir. Right away, sir. I'll be right back, sir. Please don't beat me, sir." (Meanwhile I'm wondering if he'd get the point sooner if I said "Master" instead.)

"Get me a pharmacist."
"Is this a patient or a doctor's office?"
"None of your damn business, just get the fucking pharmacist!"
"Okay. Some asshole on line 3 for a pharmacist."
*press hold button*
*hang up the receiver, no hold required*

My sick sense of curiosity wonders what the physician's assistants and front office staff in busy doctor's offices, many of whom spare no patience for us while we're on the phone with them, have to deal with? Is it the same string of mannerless baboons in human clothing, or do they get at least a modicum of respect because it's more obvious that the "nobody" at the reception desk sits between the assholes their doctor?

In pharmacy, I've noticed, few people seem to realize that the techs are the work horses, just like the scrubs-clad staff of the average physician's office. The Pharmacists are in charge; it's their liberty (literally) on the line if we screw up, but patients are often shocked to hear that the girl in the blue smock that they don't like because "I saw a tattoo on her arm in some kind of Heathen language!" is the same person that bills their insurance, counts and labels their pills, and calls to save them a trip when the pharmacy is out of stock on something.

I was raised by people who are almost old enough to be my grandparents. Maybe this skews my perception somehow, but when we went to stores or any other public place when I was a kid, both of my parents said please and thank you. They asked for help rather than demanding service. They took the time to attempt conversation or tell a goofy joke if someone seemed to be having a rough day. I mimicked that behavior and always used what I was taught should be common courtesy toward people in customer service positions. Just because it was their job to help me, I remember my father saying once, shouldn't mean they get treated like hired hands.

I honestly didn't think, until I started working retail, that such behavior was that rare. But, at least it's made me a good customer. I still use please and thank you. I still ask for assistance instead of demanding service. I still try to smile and speak to the person behind that counter because I'm one of the (apparently) few that realizes human beings exist outside of my own little bubble world.

But after days like today... I can think of a whole lot of bubbles I'd like to pop.


  1. We get them too, Becky. Sorry. They are everywhere.

  2. Years ago I read an article by a waitress. After dealing with a really obnoxious customer, her parting words, said with the biggest smile and sweetest voice was, "Fuck you very much."

  3. I would so get canned for that, modesty, but I think it multiple times a day. :)

  4. Oy. We get those in tech support too. At least with them you can put the whatsits on hold or mute until you're able to speak to them politely. My personal tech support trick was to have a little text file open on my desktop, called my rantjournal. I'd update it with all the bits and pieces I wanted to say to the callers, but didn't because I actually preferred being employed. At the end of each year, I'd go through, anonymise things, and post them to my blog.