Showers. They are your friend!

Close your eyes and imagine this.
Take some cat piss, add a large pinch of BO and put a good helping of stale stank on top of that. Now coat a woman in it and have her walk right into your store and stand in front of your counter. I knew something was very seriously wrong when my clerks politely walked back past me into the break room.
I almost threw up. My tech almost threw up. The fly on the wall almost threw up. Dogs came far and wide to roll on this woman. Rolling in a pile of musty cat shit would of been an improvement.
Now the hard part, to drop the hint that you smell like moldy-death-ass without being insulting. Lets examine our options. Mind you that we have done ALL of these over the years to patients:

  • Spraying air freshener in the air back in the pharmacy: Not insulting
  • Spraying air freshener on the woman herself: Mildly Insulting
  • Turning all the fans on in the pharmacy: Not Insulting
  • Slamming the can of air freshener on the counter in front of the woman: Insulting
  • Opening the doors to the pharmacy to air it out: Not Insulting
  • Opening the doors to the pharmacy to air it out during the middle of winter when its 40F outside: Can be insulting
  • Having all the clerks run to the back and refuse to help her: Insulting
  • Having the entire pharmacy staff run to the back and refuse to help her: Very Insulting
  • Having the clerk get dry heaves in front of her: Mildly Insulting
    Is there a polite way to say “Hey! Take a Bath”? Once a man came into the pharmacy (smelling of death) complaining of sores all over his body. The pharmacist told him to fill the bathtub full of water thats about 100F, and sit in it for 10 mins. He came back later to say how well it worked. Go figure.

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  • 24 Comments

    1. A-Rock357 says:

      Having no choice in the matter cause it’s usually me and another person working in the pharmacy I have been able to learn to hold my breath for a long period of time. But before that I would keep a decent amount of space between myself and the counter minimizing the smell and onlyleaning in when neseccary.

    2. The Owl says:

      Combine that with mouth-breathing, toothless corpse breath and you get the full package…

    3. #1 Dinosaur says:

      Dude; you rock!
      You are so getting blogrolled.

    4. Aerik says:

      You poor pharamacists.

    5. Ticked off Tech says:

      I don’t suppose approaching the counter with a disgruntled look upon my face as i fan the air in front of them would be very nice.

    6. grafs says:

      It’s amazing how we go to school for 6 years so we can tell people how to take baths. Have you got the louse in the baggy customer yet? Those are scalp-scratching fun!

    7. Helen says:

      Dear Angry Pharmacist,
      I love reading your entries. This one had me laughing, and I can relate to this. I am a medical technologist. A few years ago, I used to work in a small hospital where the techs had to draw blood in the outpatient lab. Once there was this woman who came in who smelled exactly the same smell you described. I think I had to wipe the venipuncture site several times. The alcohol pad (and you know they are very small) would turn black immediately upon wiping it on the skin a couple of times.
      Phew. I can’t imagine anyone not taking a shower.
      Anyway, keep up the good work.

    8. pharmacy tech m says:

      oh holy god i know all too well the condition you describe. we had this old woman who was infamously known about town as “the poodle lady.” she spent most of her time in her car with her three poodles. its not that she didnt have a proper house, because she did. she just chose to stay in her car most of the time. this woman’s stench was known throughout the lands. to this day i have not smelled a worse smell than this woman. she had been banned from the local IGA for making a cashier throw up. well, every time she came in the store, we would spray air freshener around. the store manager would stand right behind and do it. one time, the front end cashiers snuck a bar of soap into her bag of dog food. she came back later and returned it stating she hadn’t purchased it. the cashier said that it was okay; to go ahead and keep it, but she refused. if that isnt a hint, i dont know what is.

    9. Little Miss Sunshine says:

      I am a pharmacy clerk and I can completely relate.
      I had a gentleman come in who smelled like he had been sprayed by a skunk. Perhaps he had. I don’t know, but it was potent. But I think it was his breath because every time he talked, the smell got worse. I have only vomitted once in my life, but when I helped this guy, I gagged and had I not held my breath I would have lost it.
      Bleh…!!!

    10. J Johnson says:

      You offer no e-mail, how do we know that you’re even a pharmacist? Ranting from the shadows? Why should anyone believe that you are anything but a 12-year-old?

    11. Trader Vic says:

      Several regulars who stop by during the first of the month to fill-up on Soma and “hydro’s” certainly lack the basics of personal hygiene. The area bag lady stopped by the other day and my loyal (and normally supportive) techs saw her coming first and opted to take a morning break all at once. Now the bag lady, I’ll call her Alice, is in her mid 50’s but looks more like 70. She has the standard aroma of stale eggs, garlic, dumpster perfume and several unknown odors. To compliment that her teeth are a colorful black, brown and sometimes green with a breath that gags even flies. She wanted to get her normal refills and stood at the counter smiling. Her internal organs were making sounds like an orchestra full of bass drums. I asked if she felt okay and she just smiled and shook her head yes. As I was slapping the label on her bottle I heard a grunt from Alice and what sounded like a water main burst. I looked over the counter and Alice had waves of vile, disgusting, runny shit coming out of her right pant leg. It was going all over the floor and I swear you could almost see vapor trails coming off of it. I backed up and looked at Alice and she simply told me she was “sorry about that” and smiled. That was it, I gave her the meds and told her to never come back and to take her filthy ass to Walgreens next time. She just smiled and said okay and on her way out the door she turned around and yelled FUCK YOU! then left. It took the poor storeroom guy over 30 minutes to clean up the mess while he gagged. We had to open all the windows and doors in the building for an hour to air everything out.

    12. a-tech says:

      There is a store I used to work at where, just by benefit of location, we seemed to attract the stinkies. We just kept air-freshener by the register and sprayed it rigbht in front of them. We quit caring about their feelings. If they feel insulted, too goddam bad. Go take a fucking bath.

    13. cathy says:

      Oh Man…You have made me laugh so hard at what you write. You have to be getting alot of visitors from my blog. I linked you a few days ago. For the last three days you have been the most visited site from my blog.
      Write faster!…:)

    14. diana says:

      I love this blog!

    15. Becca says:

      Oh yeah, had one of these when I was working in an independent pharmacy the size of a shoebox. It took all of 5-10 minutes for the whole place to stink up. In which time we tried not to pass out. It took cans of air freshner and hours for the smell to leave.

    16. vicodinfairy says:

      Now imaging being pregnant and already queasy when this woman walks up to the counter…and your tech (also pregnant) has to run to the bathroom to throw her guts up because of the smell. No amount of Oust will kill some odors, I don’t care what the ads say. What works best is when the customer behind them in line says “Jeeeesus, what stinks?! It smells like ASS in here!”
      Although, some still don’t get the hint!

    17. Carol says:

      Oh yeah. We’ve got them up here too. EEWWW!

    18. Heather says:

      I recently acquired the link from a co-worker who raves about your blog and when I read this article, the question entered my mind – have you ever dealt with a customer who is clearly intoxicated and smells horribly of liquor?
      I am a pharmacy technician at a chain pharmacy which happens to be located in a plaza which includes a bar. Not only is the town filled with numerous crackheads who NEED their vicoden filled 10 days early because they are “going on vacation” but we have those sweaty – 400 pound men – who just came from the bar picking up their cholesterol and heart medication as they leave their slobber on your counter and a rancid sweat/alcohol combination smell lingering in the air. Usually they are extremely rude, by either throwing their prescription bottle at you because their arm is lacking in movement or staring over the counter wobbling back and forth because they cannot hold their balance…
      The overly size obese woman that smell like fish too… that’s always pleasant to walk into in the morning.

    19. pharm tech says:

      Ok so this entry definately describes what occurs in our pharmacy everyday. Except, we actually do something when they come in. My co-worker practically follows the person out spraying air freshner to get rid of the stench. Plus, there are days when we just want to pass out free bars of soap along with prescriptions.
      The best thing about this posting was that my boss actually wanted to print it out and place it on the wall near the refister. He was upset when we informed him it wouldn’t be a very good idea.

    20. The Angry Pharmacist

      A couple of months ago, I was creating a Medicare Part D presentation for pharmacists. I was doing research on the impact of this monstrosity on pharmacists when I ran across one of the funniest blogs on the internet, The Angry Pharmacist.
      Here are…

    21. SusieQ says:

      Ha! You are one phunny pharmacist!
      The woman you described in your post, I ran across her entire family one time in a grocery store. They left a trail of stench down each aisle like you would not believe. That was years ago and my appetite has never been the same since.

    22. Kelli Simmons says:

      J Johnson –
      The Angry Pharmacist actually does offer an email – check his 1st post (August 2005).

    23. Kelli Simmons says:

      J Johnson –
      The Angry Pharmacist actually does offer an email – check his 1st post (August 2005).

    24. Rxinside says:

      One word…
      Brilliant!
      I read every single post of this blog tonight…I laughed on every single one…I’ve never seen my job being this funny…Keep on writing!

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