Category Archives: A-Z of Retail Pharmacy

S – Straight Face

Theres a skill that should be taught in pharmacy school, but isn’t. Its learning how to hold a straight face.
All pharmacists, techs, clerks have been in this situation:
You are working along, typical day, when a well endowed (not in the good way) woman comes in obviously not wearing a bra. You think to yourself “oh please, not today” but fate drew your unlucky number. She quickly walks up to the counter, and asks if she could see you. You don’t even have a chance to mentally prepare yourself before she horks up her shirt to show you her two very red and very angry mommy-bags right there in the middle of the store for all to see. She asks “Is there any cream I can put on these to make the rash go away?” You think “Holy crap are they really laying on the counter?” as your clerks make a bee-line to the break room.
Now a seasoned retail pharmacist wouldn’t even bat an eye. Been there, done that, heres your miconazole, thanks for coming. Now we shall share our secrets.
There are some main types of straight-face holding. Lets review them.

  • Laughing: You mostly get this when the patient says something really stupid and you don’t wish to make them feel bad. However there are times when it takes all your will not to laugh at the patient. A prime example of this is watching an old man bend down to pick up his dropped cane only to rip the loudest, wettest, juiciest fart you have ever heard. Now to some, farts aren’t funny, but to 99.999% of the people who are actually living, farts are a joke that never get old. Other examples include “oh god” moments like having someone shout from the isles if they can use a Fleets Enema up their vagina, or asking for the “large tampons” because they have an “especially large cooter”. This takes practice. If the other pharmacists in the store are jokers, then this is a skill you must learn as soon as possible.
  • Disgusting: The yeast infection under the breasts is a prime example of this. Now the goal of this face is to not visibly show that you have been mentally (or sexually) scarred from this experience. You will be shown stuff that you don’t want to see. You will have to talk to people who have the worse BO/Breath/Cat piss/etc stank known to man. Boobs really aren’t /that/ bad, however add on the smell of BO and you have some serious face-restraint going on. This face can also be used when looking at boils, draining wounds, the use of laxatives and pill hunting in poop.
  • Embarrassing: This one usually involves teenage girls and personal questions. Pretty easy to keep a straight face if you know what you are talking about (or are a female and speaking to a female). You’ll be asked how to properly put on a condom, how to take Plan-B, or how to insert a tampon. It can be embarrassing at first, but if you’re professional about the whole event, it’ll go smoothly. Like wild animals, they are more afraid of you than you are of them. Remember, its okay to think the “You’re pregnant at 12!?!?!” thoughts, just not the face.
  • Anger and Disgust at Humanity: You use this face when some welfare baby-factory brings in her 10 children (who are tearing apart your store) and yells at you because her Protonix has a $3 copay /and/ she cant get her vicodin/soma filled 2 weeks early. Similarly, when a 11 year old comes in for prenatal vitamins and her parents are so proud of their little girl even though her life is pretty much put on hold. Welfare recipients who drive $60k SUV’s (and frequent the ER to get more OTC Tylenol/Pediacare/Pedialyte for their crotch-fruit) also fall in this category. You must suppress the face of disgust and be neutral. Keep on telling yourself that living a lifestyle off of the working class’ dime is extremely hard and we should feel sorry for these people. …..Then think what a load of bullshit that last sentence was and why these bastards cant go out and get a goddamn job and quit talking on their goddamn cellphones while you’re telling them how to give medication to their goddamn bastard children. Am I bit bitter on this subject? Nah.
  • Pity: You use this face when you are explaining (for the 40th time) a simple concept to an elderly (or just an idiot) patient. Its suppressing the face of “How did you get through life being this stupid”. Mostly seen when people (mostly elderly) do things that you cant comprehend how they thought that could be a good idea. Such as dumping all of their medication into a candy dish. Or deciding that if 1 is good, then 5 is better. Fortunately most elderly are hard of hearing, so that long sigh of “kill me now” you let out wont be noticed the first time.
    So whats the secret? Experience, plain and simple. Having a stroke will help 1/2 of your face, but usually people don’t care for that solution. Ive given you a primer as to what to expect, its up to you to practice at home in front of a mirror.

  • Dos and Donts when asking for Copies/Transfers

    Usually my rants are about patients, doctors, the system, etc. This one is about other pharmacies and other pharmacists.
    We all get copy requests from other pharmacies. For those of you who are playing along at home, when you want your Rx filled at one pharmacy transfered to another pharmacy, there is an unwritten procedure that assures that your Rx gets safely transfered to your pharmacy of choice.
    Now as easy as this sounds, there are some real assholes out there who just grind my gears. Let me elaborate.

  • The biggest unwritten rule is that the pharmacy that is getting the copy (the one who is going to fill it) initiates the phone call. That means that if your Rx was filled at Rite-Aid, and you want to get it filled this month at Bob’s Discount Drug, then Bob’s would have to call Rite-Aid.
  • The proper way to ask for a copy is: “Hello, this is NAME from PHARMACY, wondering if I could get a couple copies please.” The incorrect way is: “Hello, this is NAME from PHARMACY, I need these Rx’s transfered over”. Usually when someone is really blunt and demanding, I tell them to go fuck themselves. You are ASKING another pharmacy to give up business so you can fill this Rx. Ask don’t assume or demand.
  • If you are calling another store that you are on good terms with, demand to speak with your pharmacist friend, then say “Gimme a copy you fucker”. Don’t be sad if they hang up on you.
  • If the pharmacist asks you if you wish to have it verbally, or via fax; the correct answer (if the patient isn’t waiting) is via fax. Hard copies beat hand-scribbled copies any day. This is especially true for narcotics. Make sure when you request fax, you follow with “when you get a free moment”. Now if you are calling an independent pharmacy, a “free moment” may be within the next 15 min. If you are calling Walgreens, a “free moment” may be a week from next Tuesday.
  • If you want a copy via phone, have your pharmacist make the call and wait on hold. Nothing pisses me off more than when a dumbass tech calls me for a copy, then has ME wait on hold for THEIR pharmacist. That usually ends up in me hanging up the phone. If I have to take my time out of my day to transfer an Rx to you, then you can take some time out of your day to make the phone call.
  • If you want your copy via fax, then don’t call up in 5 min asking where it is. It’ll get to you when it gets to you. Obviously you were not in a hurry, or else you would of asked for it to be over the phone.
  • If you fax something over, make sure it has the least amount of writing on it. Don’t be like Walgreens and take a computer screenshot that takes 20 min and all of my fax toner to recieve and print out. All I need are words, I could care less how pretty your pharmacy software screen is. In fact, doing so after I specifically tell you not to usually ends up with your fax machine receiving 100 pages of pure black pages overnight.
  • When talking with your patients about transfering your Rx over, inform them that if the other pharmacy has already filled it, they may not want to transfer it over. I get really annoyed when a dipshit patient calls in their refill to me, I fill it, then they want it transfered to some place down the road. I spent the time and money to fill your Rx, so you can get it here. Unless you are in another city or state, if you call in the refill, you’re getting it here. Im not backing out or RTS’ing anything.
  • “Hi! I need for you to back out something” is asking for trouble. Some tech said this to me this week and I responded with “Well, I need a blow job, a steak dinner, and a back rub” then hung up. You don’t call up pharmacies and demand they back out something. You ask. This also goes true for Prior Auth Numbers for Medicaid. You ask for the prior auth number, not demand it. If the pharmacy says “No”, then you just tell the patient and deal.
  • Always ask if there are any patient notes before you get the copy. You have no idea how many headaches I have saved by refusing copies from known crackheads. If the transferring pharmacist thanks you and offers to buy you a beer, you just got fucked.
    I’m sure there are more of these. Feel free to comment and i’ll add them to the list.

  • The A-Z of Retail Pharmacy

    So I had this idea. I read this book called ‘A-Z of Manliness’ written by Maddox. What if I wrote a book called ‘The A-Z of Retail Pharmacy’. Seriously! Get it published, and get professors to make their students buy it! I mean I can explain retail pharmacy a whole lot better than some professor who hasn’t been yelled at in 10 years!
    So heres the table of contents. Feel free to add or suggest things:

  • A – Anger, Addiction
  • B – Babies
  • C – Chains, Chronic Pain, Copays
  • D – Doctors, Drug Reps, DAW-1
  • E – Exaggeration, Ensure, Egos
  • F – Fakers, Fake Rx
  • G –
  • H – Hold Times
  • I – Independants
  • J – Jackasses
  • K – Kickbacks
  • L – Lunches (ha!)
  • M – Mail Order, Medicare
  • N – Narcotics
  • O – Overprescribed
  • P – PBM, Prior Auth, Public
  • Q – Questions
  • R – Reimbursements
  • S – Stupidity, Showers
  • T – Transfers
  • U – Ungrateful
  • V – Vaginal Questions
  • W – Welfare
  • X – XXX
  • Y – Yelling
  • Z –