The People of Retail Pharmacy Part 1

This Post was originally published on February 22nd, 2014

Today I was dealing with a difficult patient on the phone and once I hung up the tech that I was working with said “Was that NAME REDACTED? She is one of a kind” but in reality she isn’t There are literally thousands of people just like her terrorizing pharmacists across the nation. I was inspired by a blog post that I read a few weeks ago where an artist made renditions of Barbies to represent different parts of Massachusetts. I have worked in 42 different retail pharmacies (yes I counted) during the past 8 years and here are my ideas for Barbies/action figures that represent some of the stereotypical people that I have seen.

Pajama Girl

You know that 19/20ish year old girl who stumbles into the pharmacy around the crack of noon. She has managed to plaster on every cosmetic known to man but somehow pants have eluded her.

  • Accessories: Iphone, hoop earrings, EBT card

The Talker

We all have the patient who is there for the conversation. In my mind I always picture the guy who swings by just because he was in the neighborhood and he might as well as stop in and fill his 10 medications, none of which he can remember the names for, what they do, or when he last filled them. Not only did he add to your workload he has the feeling that making conversation when you are trying to do your job will totally make you work faster and more efficiently. Another version of this is the lonely old lady sitting at home looking for attention who calls the pharmacy on a regular basis just to have some human contact.

  • Accessories for the visitor guy: Hawaiian shirt (or some other strange fashion choice), too much time on his hands.
  • Accessories for the lady on the  phone: replaces the Hawaiian shirt with a bathrobe, neglectful grown children

The Hypochondriac

No ma’am I am sure that you do not have Stevens Johnson Syndrome. No I don’t think that you should go to the hospital. No that antibiotic gave you a tummy ache, you are not really allergic to it. No I understand that you are worried, I am not brushing you off, I just have other people who I need to help, real people with real illnesses.

  • Accessories: Constant sense of worry, computer with access to WebMD

College Girl

Not to be confused with the Pajama Girl. This girl may be wearing pajamas and a hoodie, but she will eventually go places, places that require real pants. This girl is not that bad once you get her birth control set up on automatic refill, but that first time you just want to slam her head through the window of her Daddy’s beemer.

  • Accessories: Sense of righteous indignation, last year’s insurance card

Ambiguously foreign guy

Every store that I have ever worked at no matter how small or rural always has at least 1 foreign guy, some stores have tons of them. There are two options, the “I LOVE AMERICA, AMERICA NOMBER ONE”, or “I don’t understand a single word that you are saying so I am just going to nod.” I generally like these guys mostly because they never complain.

  • Accessories: Leather Jacket even though it is the middle of the summer, Tenuous grasp of the English language.

The Curmudgeon

Comes in both male and female versions. No matter what you do you will never satisfy this person, but you have to try or else they will call and complain again.

  • Accessories: Your boss on speed dial.

Natural Hippie Lady

Yeah you know who lived shorter lives than us? Everyone who lived before penicillin. Natural does not equal good. Some natural supplements and vitamins are very useful, but they are not the only thing that helps. Trust me lady that Saint Johns Wart wasn’t plucked off the plant in capsule form. May be a grown up version of the College Girl

  • Accessories: Unvaccinated child with strange name, funny hat

The Vacationing Couple

Getting sick on vacation sucks, I sympathize, but seriously you are grown ups, get your shit together. I am not a marriage counselor, its not my fault that you picked the wrong place to hike and now he has poison ivy. No I can’t just make it go away, there is an urgent care down the street, repeating that you are on vacation doesn’t change my recommendations.

  • Accessories: Disgusting rash that she will gladly make him show you, emotional baggage, bored texting teenagers.

Mr. 1cc Longs

If you have ever worked in a pharmacy then you know this guy, all we can do is take solace in the fact that he isn’t sharing needles.

  • Accessories: Package from the previous time that he was here (yesterday), diabetic Grandma

The My Stupid Kids Are Sick… Again Parent

I am sure that the first time you kid is sick must be terrifying, but after that it must lose its allure. This person is obviously exhausted and run down, you cant help but sympathize, hell I may even throw in flavorRx for free.

  • Accessories: Bags under the eyes, crying child, look of despair.

Drive Thru Versions

The Old Person

I feel bad, these are the people who deserve to use the drive through, but the chances of an accident are far too high, just let us deliver it for you. He/She can’t hear a single thing even though I am yelling into a microphone and the speaker is 12 inches from their head. “What? I said what is your birthday. What? BIRTHDAY? Earth May?” Yeah we have all been there.

  • Accessories: Drivers License that hasn’t been renewed since the 80s, Life Alert
  • Car: 90s Buick LeSabre

The Businessman

Yes sir I understand that you are in a rush, but it is still going to take 15 minutes. Yes it will make me work faster if you critique how I do the job that I got a doctorate in by evaluating what you can see while looking through a piece of bulletproof (is it bulletproof?) glass.

  • Accessories: Nice suit, Sense of urgency, bluetooth headset
  • Car: Some imported luxury car

The Smoker

The real reason pharmacies installed drive thrus so that you don’t have to put out your cigarettes. No I will not sell you cigs any through the drive through, Yes you have to walk all the way to the front register to get them. Just think back to your younger days when you used to walk all the way back to the pharmacy while wearing your pajama pants.

  • Accessories: Pigpen style cloud of smoke, at least 1 child in the backseat
  • Car: Some piece of shit with overflowing ashtrays

I Ain’t Payin’ No Copay

I am not trying to be racist here, but after all the stores I worked at in Albany I do assign this tag to a person of a certain race in my mind. You know the guy, there is no way that he is paying his copay, because why would he, the government is going to pay it for him. This type of waste is the worst part of working retail pharmacy. Seeing people take advantage of the system while you are working 12 hour shifts and losing 35% of your paycheck just sucks.

  • Accessories: Obnoxious amount of jewelry, Kids eating happy meals.
  • Car: Brand new freshly washed car.

Note: the race the I was referring to was white people you racist.

As you will obviously notice I left off drug seekers and junkies mostly because it would be too easy. Hell I can devote an entire post to that, maybe someday I will.

I hope that everybody enjoyed this, I certainly enjoyed coming up with these. Please add your own stereotypical customers in the comments.


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