The smells and sights of summer

Summer is upon us, and with it comes such delightful things.

The weather is warming up, and that means… BO SEASON! YAY!

For those new here, when the weather warms up, people start to stink.  Its not the subtle smells like cat-piss and just unwashed nasty that’s present during the winter months (because you don’t need to shower if you don’t sweat!™ ).  This is full on brown-underarm stains on that stretched paper-thin wife-beater stank.

Usually you can spot them coming as they walk in the door.  They are always:

  • Large
  • Breathing via their mouth
  • Swinging their arms like they are doing the twist when they walk
  • Dressed in a wife-beater stretched to its absolute limits while covered in various stains
  • Complain loudly about their Fatsomyalgia™

Now this is when as a pharmacist you need to really pony-up and exert your status on your clerks.  You make THEM wait on this guy.  If you don’t flex your college educated muscles, all of your clerks will scatter and find something more pressing to do (or use the restroom, all of them, at once) leaving you high and dry.  You always have your techs as a human shield, but these mouth-breathers always utter the words we hate to hear the most…

“I wanna talk to a pharmacist”

Just typing those words makes my fingers burn.  At this point, its every pharmacist for him/herself.  The PIC (pharmacist in charge) will throw down the PIC card, and then its whoever been there the least amount of time.  If you are fortunate enough to have an intern, they take the bullet for you, always.  If that intern doesn’t wait on that smelly fat-ass, then you fail (or fire) them for not doing pharmacist-in-training duties.

What adds insult to injury, is that its always some stupid question like “*gasp* WHERES THE MOTRIN *gasp*”.  Its never “WHERES THE SOAP” or “WHERES THE DEODORANT”or “WHAT ARE THE PHARMACOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS OF TAKING EXTENDED RELEASE POTASSIUM WITH AN ANTI-CHOLINERGIC?” (heh, I’m a nerd, I amused myself with that last one).  Anyway, can you imagine what their houses must smell like?  Can you imagine what their bed must look like?  I wonder what shade of brown/tan their white bedsheets (if they just aren’t sleeping on a bare dirty mattress) are.  Remember kids, if you’re bad in life; you’ll come back to this world as THAT GUYS WIFE-BEATER OR BANANA HAMMOCK.  Now you all know where metformin comes from and why it smells that bad.

Enough about the smells, time for the sights!  Another wonderful welcome sign of summer are what people decide (or better yet, decide not) to wear.

Tube-tops are a wonderful thing, but like guns, alcohol, sharp weapons, and poop; they can be misused and cause a lot of damage.  Murphys law states that if a girl comes in your pharmacy wearing a tube-top, they are the girl who you would NOT want to see in a tube top.  Boobs are supposed to be in the uppermost part of the torso, be well defined and supported, and be pleasant to starelook at (especially if the A/C is cranked to sub-zero *ahem*).  They should NOT be one gigantic shelf that spans from your armpits down to above your belly-button.  Tube-tops are not a substitute for a bra or other feminine chestal support.  If you choose to wear such things, please choose a color that does not turn dark with sweat.  I don’t really need to see sweat-marks accenting your huge unbridled breasteseseseses.

This also applies to short-shorts.  If your fat wraps around the leg-holes of your shorts like the meat being pressed out of a sausage, please don’t wear them.

Tanktops with large arm-holes and no bra?  Yeah, the moment you reach down for something there’s going to be a whole lot of disaster happening.  Oh, don’t worry, you’ll see everything guaranteed.

Spandex anything?  I don’t even think this needs an explanation.

Just because you have a large chest does not mean a low cut top looks good on you.  I realize that it allows you easy access to the treasures you hide under your mommy-bags, but Murphy’s law states that the 0.24 seconds that I glance up I’ll see you doing something that will scar me forever.

Oh, and that one HOT girl who comes in the store wearing next to nothing?  You’ll be at lunch, in the can, or have your head buried in so much DUR/Insurance/Doctors Office madness that you won’t see and won’t care.  Thats how life is for Pharmacists.   If you’re hot, then please make yourself know to the pharmacist before leaving.  Dance, jump, do cartwheels, blow kisses, anything to remind us that the world isn’t full of fat and ugly people wearing spandex and wife-beaters.

Summer is also an excuse for ghetto parents to allow their toddler to just run around in the pharmacy wearing nothing but a dirty diaper.  If the filth and dirty on the outside doesn’t get to you, imagine whats going on INSIDE the diaper.  Its not the poor kids fault; hell, if I could run around a pharmacy with just my boxers I’d do it too.  However its the PARENTS responsibility to make sure that the kid has clothes on while in a public space.  Wait, there’s that R word again.

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66 Comments

  1. Ariella says:

    I am a fat lady myself and I hold by this VERY Important rule= Just because it comes in your size does not mean you should wear it. I KNOW spandex is NOT my friend. Bikinis, Tube tops and Daisy Dukes should not be avaliable up to a certain size. How about jeans and a tee? Looks good on everyone. I know being fat is my fault, but the antipsychotics do make me hungrier, so that is factor. Have a nice weekend.

  2. MedicMatthew says:

    These people are the very reason why I keep a little tub of Vicks in my bag o’ tricks that I carry on the ambulance. I feel for ya, it gets worse when you have to spend any time with them in a six foot by eight foot box with questionable air conditioning in the summer heat.

  3. 2BAPharmD says:

    Hey TAP,

    You need to stop using the “R” word. Stop alluding to the “R” word. The “R” word does not exist.

    Excellent article… and I have to agree, I work at an independent pharmacy part-time, in a very nice area of northern California, and we inevitably still have at least a handful of horribly unhygienic “people” that come in asking for just about anything but soap.

    I love healthcare!

  4. Vincent says:

    ROTFLMAO

  5. maha says:

    Blech! The brown pit stained wife beater wearers have started to show up at work. And do they ever stink. When I get such fine specimens of humanity as my patients, they always insist on lying down on the stretcher with their arms behind their head so that my olfaction can be viciously assaulted for the entire time they’re in my care.

  6. Mallory says:

    I just don’t understand how some people can walk around dirty and unshowered. Don’t they feel grotty and sticky, and smell themselves? I can’t stand feeling grubby.

  7. WonderTech says:

    If there’s any justice in the world they won’t ask what contraindications may exist for your XR potassium/anti-cholinergic combo (plus, they filled that lomotil script over at the other big chain pharmacy for the $25 gift card) and the erosions along their GI tract will preclude them from eating for awhile…

    Sadistic yes. Yet I care not.

  8. ludd says:

    We have a guy who hasn’t washed his clothes since his wife died. You’d think his kids, who all live nearby, would teach him how the washing machine works, but no. Someone in the family washes his clothes before Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the rest of the year he’s on his own. By mid-summer you can smell him before you see him.

    Also, he never calls his refills in or has the clinic fax them. He always brings in a bag of empties or a stack of scripts and then wants to chat with the poor clerk.

  9. Gregthepharmer says:

    You left off one fashion faux pas that I have only become aware of since I work in a more rural setting. When the belly hangs down below the belt line and the person’s shirt does not cover said belly (and I have seen numerous examples of this on both the male and female sides). I am somewhat overweight myself and I know that there are things that overweight people should not wear and I choose not to wear them. I also shower every day which is a skill lacking in a lot of people out there, not just the overweight ones.

    • Katy says:

      I believe this is called an “apron”.

      My favourite was when I used to work in a supermarket, and these people would buy the entire confectionary aisle as their weekly grocery shop, occasionally, you’d find shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, if you were lucky, they’d buy soap (if it was on a good special) but never deodorant. Ever.

    • rph3664 says:

      I know a woman who weighed over 300 pounds BEFORE she got pregnant, and now that she’s 7 months along, she’s still wearing the same clothes, with the aforementioned vertical gaposis only this time it’s in the front. Nice stretch marks! ewwwwwww

      And ironically, one of the Captcha words is “nudists.”

    • Megan says:

      Ah, the dread panniculus giganticus.

  10. KCtheIntern says:

    As an intern I have taken many of these “bullets”. I know its going to be bad when I hear the pharmacist hiss at me “try to hold your breath as long as you can.”

    • Gregthepharmer says:

      KC it is part of the learning process. I will almost guarantee that every single one of us (myself included) had to do that as an intern and also as a tech before that. There are plenty of times when the pharmacist has to be the one to take the “bullets” too.

  11. undercoverdeaagent says:

    Hey my smell and the way I look are worked on every day , I pile my “uniform” up and let the cats sleep on it the very nasty shirt and jeans or kaki pants make a nice combo , you never give me a second look when I am in Armani & smell of old spice , when was the last time you knew when you were being observed? and rated hey One little Mom&Pop drug store In Mississippi gave me soap and wash clothes and told me there was a truck stop with free showers , I went back after the test period and told them just how great they are !!
    and I have seen the bad customers the shitty kid that the welfare mom picks up and sits on the counter oh my God I wanted to haul her out of there , keep up the good work
    STRIKER

  12. Dr. Grumpy says:

    Gotta agree. These stinkbomb fashion disasters come to my office this time off year, and bring their destructive shit-laden children.

  13. EAST says:

    Spandex is a privilege, not a right.

  14. UrbanRxTech says:

    The nasty that is going on in the diaper is what all the nystatin and clotrimazole creams are for, all FREE!!!!!!

  15. kurt says:

    I saw this in the Pgh Tribuine Review and thought you might like it
    “Every measure which establishes legal charity on a permanent basis and gives to it an administrative form creates thereby a class unproductive and idle, living at the expense of the class which is industrious and given to work” Alex De Tocqueville
    Enjoy

  16. rph3664 says:

    When I worked retail, there was an old guy who came in who had some vertical gaposis between his pants and shirt, exposing a couple inches of extremely hairy butt crack. My tech, who was about 20 years old, and I had a good laugh about this; she sometimes helped her dad with his home renovation business and she said it’s really true what people say about plumbers.

  17. IAPharmer says:

    Well, we have a couple of people that visit us virtually daily and they have on the exact same stuff! One guy has a hole by his tit (yeah it is a tit) and it has slowly begun getting bigger and it now hangs out sometimes. Plus most of their stuff has holes in it etc, seriously, go to Good Will or the Salvation army and pick up a few T-s for a buck or two, it is less than a pack of the cigarettes they are smoking!

    BTW, ROFLMAO that Fatsomyalgia is TradeMarked! We love you so!

    • Secretsquirrelthesupertech says:

      Yes, we all have these unfortunate people to deal with in the good old summertime. Ome of my all time favorites is a man, whom we all began to call “Holy Butt Man”, who’s wardrobe only included knit jogging shots and stained t-shirts, in a variety of colors and stinks. He was a very large, unkempt man who of course rode the “white visa” (welfare). He would come in wearing our most favorite pair of shorts and every memeber of our staff would make and excuse to actually wander outside the safety of our littl fish bowl to catch a glimpse. The reason for these bottoms to be our favorite was that he had a hole in the read end of them about the location of his “brown-eye”!! You should have noticed that when I described his wardrobe, I didn’t make any mention of undergarments. This is because he either didn’t own any or he just chose not to wear them. So everytime he put on those dirty, whole-y shorts we all got a little wink! DISGUSTING!!!

  18. rnmpharm08 says:

    TAP,

    Long time reader…first time commentator.

    The corollary to MLoHWatP (Murphy’s Law of Hot Women at the Pharmacy) is that if the pharmacist is fortunate enough to notice a hot woman, said woman is presenting a prescription for Terazol, Valtrex, or both.

  19. Katie says:

    What’s the metformin reference? Wikipedia says it’s derived from a flower…

    • rph3664 says:

      Ever gotten a whiff of those tablets? They’re stinky! Not as bad as Geocillin or Sandimmune,never mind Chemet which you can smell through a glass jar, but yeah, it smells really bad.

      • Steve says:

        As bad as metformin smells, i think Armour Thyroid is worse……

        • NewTech24 says:

          Yeah, I got the orientation of all the stinky drugs in the pharmacy when I was complaining about filling a script the other day. I can’t remember the drug at the mo, it was a liquid, I think I filled like 3 different times in an hour or so. so then the MGT was back in the pharmacy making me smell all the really stinky ones and Armour Thyroid definately cleared my sinuses out! Great blog TAP, Keep em coming!

        • rph3664 says:

          A lot of people can’t stand the smell of Midrin. I’ve always liked it; the generic smell is similar but just not the same.

  20. Shane Hester CPhT says:

    This is not in direct reference to this post, but I just want to say how much I appreciate and enjoy your site. I have/am/hopefully not much longer working as a senior tech for Rite-Aid and I have gotten to the point of hating my profession. It does make me feel better knowing that I am not the only person experiencing the same crap all day, every day and making me want to leave the retail scene. You have a way of expressing online what I want to say to people in person but I keep telling myself that I have to have a job. Keep up the awsome job if for no other reason for good stress relief for the rest of us.

    Thanks
    Shane

  21. chris says:

    I also have a man that comes in absolutely stinking, the sort of smell that you have to chew. I never realised i can breath through my ears. He ALWAYS ALWAYS wants to stay in the pharmacy for a long time and speak specifically to the pharmacist, usually to complain about how bad his old pharmacy was to him (he’s been with us 2 years since his old pharmacist refused an emergency supply of a controlled drug). He is diagnosed with diogenes syndrome (senile squalor syndrome) and takes medication to try and treat it, he has been the same since his wife died. His children annoy me so bad though, they are also patient’s of mine but according to the man’s doctor, they do not want the hassle of dealing with him. Sadly, if this man is not taken into care (which he has refused up until now) he will die of self neglect, and his kids dont care.

  22. Chuck in MI says:

    Regarding butt crackage. If you can drop in a nickel and never see it again, that’s bad. But if you can drop in a nickel, and get back change, that’s worse. Love your blog.

    Captcha word: engulfs. Weird!

  23. TechJess says:

    I used to volunteer as a firefighter and EMT on our local fire department and so I see a lot of the same people in the pharmacy that I saw on squad runs, and let me tell ya, their homes are ten times worse than anything you could imagine. Utterly disgusting. I had an 800 pound lady once that had a dog crawl under her and deliver puppies and all she had to say was “I keppa hearin’ them pups cryin’ but cuttin figger out ware thayse at”. She looked like a busted can of biscuits.

    • Katy says:

      Things like that ACTUALLY HAPPEN?

    • rph3664 says:

      One of the last things my dad did as a firefighter before he retired was help carry a 600-pound dead guy down four flights of stairs. Thank heavens he lived with someone and was discovered before he started to decay.

    • CPhT HH says:

      Busted Can of Biscuits….committing that one to memory as the GREATEST phrase ever.

  24. Dave Folsom says:

    Before pharmacy school I delivered pizza to make ends meet; whereby I quickly discovered that personal hygiene is NOT a routine daily priority for a good portion of society. Just because someone did not appear dirty or stink did not translate into a clean home. I’d knock on middle class doors only to discover squalor and stench inside the house.

  25. AshleyRPh says:

    Is this the same angry Pharmacist? He’s a lot less angry than usual!

  26. drh says:

    You don’t have to be locked in a tiny exam room with these people or HAVE TO TOUCH THEM. Gloves do nothing to make it less disgusting.

  27. Oh jeez… this post gives me an idea for my blog (cheap plug). I got customer just like that yesterday (Memorial Day). I’m about 22, and there’s this girl my age who comes in to get a prescription filled in nothing but a string bikini top and short shorts… and weighed over 250 pounds. The fat was rolling over her shorts and where did she pull her prescription out of?

    Yup. The bikini top. So of course, they had a film of breastsweat on them. I swear to God, I’m just not going to work holidays.

    • Amanda says:

      Way back in the day, we had a 400lb+ customer that kept her money in her bra. In July. In NW Ohio. With 90% humidity. And the temp. reaching 90-105 degrees. Her money was always soaked, but very secure.

  28. CLBPharmD says:

    Oh fellow pharmacist, you forgot a crucial part of the sweat-stained slob’s ever present get-up: their MEDICAID card in hand!!!! And don’t tell me you’ve never noticed that their medicaid card actually stinks, too! As does their 2 hour old rx for Percocet that is already folded 45 times with stains on it and the corners weaning off.

  29. Ms. Mean says:

    LMAO! I think I’m having de-ja-vu! Do I work with you?

  30. DW says:

    TAP, not that much of a nerd. I would have been more amused by a question about the Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline.

  31. 2BAPharmD says:

    We just all deal with the same crap. I count my lucky stars that I’m at a research university for Pharm school so I can do clinical residencies in PGY1 & 2… retail is so horrible.

  32. TAP, you have just extolled what I despise about the American lifestyle we have arrived upon in 2009: anything goes.

    “I canz dooz whut I be wonting tuh cuz I not be respansuh…you no duh word…respansurble for my axtuns.”

    As a Dialysis patient I have to deal with similar patients who feel its okay to display their disgusting gout. Or scream at the top of their lungs to get the attention of the hot tech in the back. Or talk on their cell phone using the speakerphone feature, because everyone needs to learn about your anal warts.

    Ugh. Double Ugh. Second sequel to the original ugh.

    I truly miss common sense and shame in this country.

  33. PhedUpWithPharmacy says:

    This is why I stopped working retail. The person who commented on the Public Aid Card smelling as well as the person presenting it, was dead-on. I never knew paper could smell so god-awful until I worked retail pharmacy. Sadly, it’s only going to get worse because I swear people are actually getting more stupid every day.

    Case in point, we have a tech whose nose is so far up the Supervisors backside (and it must make her feel good to have one employee out of forty…who, I might add, is trying to be hired from temporary to permanent…who is nice to her) that the Supervisor has completely ignored the fact this woman has 3 inch nails that are BLACK with nastiness on the underside of the nails (the top is always pristinely manicured) I can’t figure out how she puts gloves on in the IV room… either way it’s unsanitary and turns my stomach…

    The quality of techs has declined sharply over the past 5-10 years too. I beleive people see it as a good way to make 40k (at least where I live) without needing any formal education. I used to be proud to be a tech, now not so much.

    Guess it’s time to finish school so at least I can do the same job and get paid more for it.

    Captcha word: Flogging… ironic since I feel like my department’s whipping boy all the time….

  34. For a while I was thinking you must work at the Walmart pharmacy here in Lebanon MO, but I gather that you are located in Northern California somewhere?

    Thank you so much for this blog, I haven’t laughed so hard in quite a while. YOu are so refreshingly completely unpolitically correct!

    I do have a quibble with you and many of your commenters. It is not necessary to shower every day. I know this flies in the face of all the “Don’t you wish everybody used Dial?” wisdom that has been purveyed by the makers of shampoo and soap. However, if you keep your body chemical free (that means NO preservatives, additives, pesticides, blah blah) and maintain a healthy body ecosystem (meaning promoting the life of beneficial bacteria in your colon and on your skin by avoiding antibacterial products as if they were the plague), you are not going to go around stinking up the world. I DO shower when I am bathed in sweat and mud from gardening, and my olfactory system is functional enough to tell me when I DO need to shower, but it certainly isn’t every day.

    I myself am a somewhat overweight massage therapist, but I weigh 12 pounds less than I did three months ago and I imagine that in another year you would no longer label me as fat, although I left Hot Chickdom around 25 years ago. I submit that women who are past menopause (as I am) may sometimes be attractive and sexy but can no longer aspire to being a Hot Chick. Damn the luck.

    Anyway, I bless the fact that I have never had to deal with a horrible stinky client and if one of them presented themselves to me for a massage I would introduce them to my shower post haste. I have given massage to the morbidly obese, but they were very clean fatties, and not on welfare either.

    I surely enjoyed my visit and will be back. Keep up the good work and watch your blood pressure!

    • Joe says:

      What a load of crap. Most people who make this claim have no sense of smell. I can count on one hand the number of people with very little body odor–myself one of them but I still need to shower and use anti-perspirant. Just about everyone I’ve met who has made this idiotic claim stinks like a dead fish.

      • My, how nice you must be in person.

      • Joe, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, however ill informed.

        However, I take exception to your implied insults to me: that I am an idiot who stinks like a dead fish and has no sense of smell. I could be wrong, but I think that if I smelled bad my husband would probably have mentioned it during the 27 years we have been together, and I doubt if my massage clients would keep returning week after week after week.

        Please note I did not say people don’t need to shower. I said that people do not need to shower every day.

        Also please note that your use of anti-perspirant (and any other scented products) makes you a toxic chemical cloud to any person in your orbit who is suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity.

        Also, anger and stress will make you smell bad.

  35. JL says:

    Loved the article. I know one group that is clamoring for more people with bad body odor. They are the water conservationists. Thanks to the current drought in California, they will be glad to know that some people hardly take showers at all. That just means we will have more stinky pharmacies in the state of California. Time to break out the Durian and see if that will chase those bad BO patients away! hahahaha!

  36. Erin says:

    About the kids…

    Would a toddler in a cute [clean] cloth diaper (not the old kind, these have cute designs and such) and a T-Shirt bother you?

    • Nope, see it all the time. Its when they have a dirty diaper on and nothing else (including bare feet) that grosses me out.

    • Donny G says:

      It’s not the toddlers in the clean diapers that bother me so much as the ones whose parents have replaced bathing their poopy butts with applying nystatin (which they got on Medicaid).

  37. Donny G says:

    So the other day, this guy walks in with some prescriptions for his wife, or baby-mama, or whatever… anyway, he was dirty,from head to toe…

    Unfortunately, it was not only the visual and olfactory nerves that transmitted the horrors to my brain.

    You know how sometimes when you are mucking about in dirt, or in a sand storm, how dirt ends up in your mouth…you can feel the grittiness between your teeth…that’s what happened to me. He actually created a cloud of dirt around him…like Pig Pen from the Peanuts comics.

  38. Well these customers are bad (It’s winter here so they wont bother me now) but I think it’s people with bad smokers breath who are the worst. The ones who lean right in to talk with you…

  39. TechMan says:

    HAHAHAHA very great article…dead on. I just half expect Mrs. Weeums to ask for her Albooterall and cigarettes while coming in the drive-thru because she is too fat. At least then her smells are taken away with the warm summer breeze.

  40. Rhonda Stangle says:

    I used to work for a urologist…the smell was so bad that we always wore scented masks with most of the patients. I’m overweight a bit but smell good…just for the record. Ask my co-workers and family, really!

  41. rph76 says:

    My technician and I have coined a new term. The term is STOMACH RUT. Stomach rut is the indentation that is made from the car steering wheel where it presses against your customer’s grossly obese and food stained gut. How embarrassing to go to your doctor and have to explain that nasty “smiley face” rash that extends from one side of your fat ass to the other side!!! Oh, by the way, STOMACH RUT is a highly disabling disease. I prevents or severely hinders the patient’s ability to freely move around in their car. Therefore, retrieving their BLUE CARD (Indiana Medicaid Card) and/or their food stamp card becomes almost impossible. I assume this adds to their irritability and depression which makes most of them a pain in the ass to deal with. Imagine if only 10 of these people were required to loose weight. The state of Indiana could save enough money to eliminated the state deficit and maintain a positive cash flow for the next 3 years. If 20 or 30 of them lost weight, the whole world might start to wobble off it’s axis. Oh well, another bad day has finally ended and I thought you might like to hear the new term we coined. Thank God for Happy Hour.

    RPH76

  42. pharmD2be says:

    I work for a major chain in South Florida, have for a couple years now. I’m coming down the home stretch in Pharmacy School, and I can say for sure South Florida summers seem to attract people like that. The most amusing one to date happened my P1 year. I was closing alone with my Pharmacist. She is a sweet sweet lady, and would never ever in a thousand years react to someone who’s BO could strip paint off the wall….the night store manager however……anyway, the RPh and I were trying to clean up and close and had both our backs to the register, all of a sudden her head turns to look at me as I am turning to her….the stench was gagging us both, literally. Ninjas had nothing on this woman’s stealth approach. Dog piss on hot asphalt would have been less offensive. Chica was standing at MY register….of couse, fuckin-ay…..soooo she was mine to deal with….I am tall and medium build……this chic was about 5’3″ and a good 250lbs….and eating a large fry from the McDs next to us while using the collar of her tank top sans bra to wipe her mouth….her hair was beginning to shine from the scalp grease….Fatass McStench wanted her acyclovir….which of course was on the que for the next day…..I was due back to open in the AM, and be damned if I was going to deal with her after breakfast…so I filled it….she pays with a greasy Visa….and I slapped the button to drop down our barricades as soon as she was clear……the poor night manager came in from the side entry unaware she was still in earshot shuffling away as the RPh and I were gagging out of her view, and he declares at full volume….”Jesus Fuckin Christ what died back here”

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