I can’t stress how important it is to be patient in today’s society. Rushing things will only make situations worse. Now, I’m not saying I’m innocent. I have terrible road rage and I like to tailgate, but this entry has nothing to do with tailgating. I am referring to services rendered.
Nowadays, you have to wait just about anywhere you go: restaurants, sporting events, amusement parks, movie theaters…you get the point. So why would a pharmacy be any different? Just because we have a drive-thru window doesn’t mean we have drive-thru speeds. I can’t stress that enough. Also, when we say your wait time is about 15 minutes, that time is an average allotment dependent on other factors. Moreover, we, the pharmacy staff, are people too. Do not rush us. There’s a double meaning in the word “patient”.
Most pharmacies today have drive-thrus. These make it very convenient for busy people to drop off and pick up their prescriptions. Whether you’re a mom with three kids on the go, or an elderly disabled man who would like us to grab him a bottle of water as well, the drive-thru is an excellent addition to a pharmacy. However, if I could, I’d brick up the window in a heartbeat. We are not a McDonald’s. We are not a Wendy’s. We are not a Taco Bell. Our drive-thru is for dropping off OR picking up a prescription. The goal is for you to do so and then pull away. It is not the lazy man’s access point. Furthermore, do not sit in our drive-thru. Why would you do that? You most think you’re the only person on the planet with a prescription and that we sit around all day, scratching our asses waiting for you to show up. Our pharmacy is not a high-volume store. We process about 300 scripts a day. Some pharmacies can do over 1,000. Even at 300, we are still very, very busy. There are multiple issues that we deal with around the clock that interrupt your prescription being filled. I’ll get to those later.
The Wait Time
“It’ll be about 15 minutes”. This does not mean 10 minutes, or 5 or 2. This means that your prescription will be ready in 15 minutes, barring any interruption from:
a) other people
b) phone calls
c) insurance rejections
d) printer jams
e) system connection problems
f) out of stock issues
g) waiters ahead of you
h) any other issues
Even if we have no problems with any of the above issues, you’ve probably wandered off for 20 minutes. Then you show up wondering why your prescription took so long. I should slap you. Why it took us so long? Where the hell did you go? If you’re going to wait, wait. Don’t go anywhere. We try very, very hard to finish “waiters” as quickly and safely as we can when you say you want to wait. This adds to the chaos and stress of the pharmacy staff. If you can pick it up later, please, by all means, pick it up later. Do not commit the cardinal sin of saying you’re going to wait and then picking it up the next day. You’ve just made it onto our shit list.
This happened to me just the other day: I came into work at 11am and there was a woman standing at the counter. I asked her if she had one to pick up and was told by my pharmacist that we were still working on it. There were 2 other waiters ahead of her but she continued to stand there. Her scripts came from the urgent care center next door. The urgent care had called prior to the patient coming to us and our pharmacist told them that the wait was at least 25 minutes that morning (due to another tech oversleeping). Apparently this woman came straight to the counter and expected us to push her scripts to the front of the line. I began counting the waiters ahead of her when I actually heard her say “Is there any way you could finish mine sooner? I have to…” I immediately cut her off and said “No”. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t bite her head off. Who does this woman think she is actually telling us to hurry? I looked up and said, “There are 2 people in front of you. By you standing there, (and not sitting down like the rest of the people) it’s a passive way of telling us to hurry up.” She began to mumble something about not meaning to hurry us up and blah, blah, blah. I then said, “It’s a little rude”. She mumbled something else and I just looked down and kept counting. Our pharmacist rang up the other waiters and minutes later rang up the woman who claimed not to be rushing us. The woman tried to complain about me but my boss had my back. Our pharmacist said that everyone always has an excuse as to why his or her scripts need to be done first. The woman left and I’m sure she’ll call corporate and complain. I don’t care. It had to be said. The best part? My boss had my back.
The lesson here is that you need to be patient. Patient has two meanings. The first is “able to wait without becoming annoyed or anxious”. The second is “a person receiving or registered to receive medical treatment”. Do not rush the people who offer a service—especially those who handle your medications.