Ethics Analysis: My CVS Confrontation

As with many ethics problems, the most important question to answer  is “What’s going on here?”

This is what happened.

I take quite a few drugs, some of which keep me breathing. My doctor now e-mails the full slate, usually a three-month supply, but with automatic refills, after every check-up. This time, I actually witnessed the prescriptions being sent. From the start, however, there was a screw up. The first three drugs I tried to get refills for turned up expired: there was no record of the directive from my doctor. Each time, the same thing happened: the CVS pharmacy automated line said the order “was being filled;” when I arrived to get it, I was told that the prescription had expired; I explained that they had a glitch in their system; one of the staff agreed (“Ugh! This ticks me off! Someone is automatically cancelling these orders!”); and I eventually got my drug, sometimes after giving me a partial refill and my having the doctor call CVS to confirm. The last time, however, the prescription I sought was ready. (They all had been e-mailed at the same time.) They also offered me another drug, and extremely expensive one, that I didn’t need immediately. I said I didn’t care to spend the money just then, and they told me they would hold it.

Yesterday I needed that drug, the previous supply having run out the day before. I had no opportunity to go to the pharmacy until nearly 9 PM, but it shouldn’t have mattered: the pharmacy during the week is open until the CVS closes at 10 pm, and I knew the prescription was ready, because of my previous visit.

But it wasn’t. The pharmacist, a young woman, told me that I had no valid prescription. “Nope,” I said. “Wrong.” And I explained what had been happening with my drugs, how I was told that the system glitch had been fixed, and also that I actually saw the filled prescription I now needed when I picked up my last prescription. AND, I said, firmly, skipping a day was not an option. This drug was one of the ones I could not skip.

Then the excuses started.

They had added a lot of staff, and there had been some similar mess-ups. My response: Not my problem.

It was late and it was too late for her to contact my doctor. Again: Your problem, not mine. Fix it.

Legally, she couldn’t give me a partial prescription without authorization.  Again: this is your responsibility. I need the drug. I have done everything properly. You haven’t. You have an obligation to fix it.

I also pulled my handy-dandy lawyer card, pointing out that I was one, that if I suffered a serious health episode because of this failure on her part, she, and CVS, would be liable.

She asked me to wait while she tracked down my doctor’s emergency stand-by. She couldn’t. “There’s nothing I can do!” she said. “Sure there is,” I responded. “You just don’t want to do it. You have the product. You know what the prescription is. You can see that the routine has been to automatically refill this drug, and you know it is a crucial one. You are trying to make your problem, which is bad management, poor oversight and incompetent staff, my problem to my detriment. You are a pharmacist and a professional. People like me entrust our health and welfare to you, and depend on your competence. You have been incompetent. I will be explaining all of this when I contact CVS, if I live until tomorrow.”

Then she started to cry, and blubbered various pity stories as she prepared a partial supply. “I’m not supposed to do this, but I am. I’m having a terrible day. I was going to close early, and now I’m stuck here until ten. My staff all left or didn’t show up. This wasn’t my fault. Go ahead and complain to corporate. I don’t care any more.” Then she handed me my medicine.

“You made her cry,” said my wife. “Good!”

Observations:

  • I refuse to let organizations and their representatives make me suffer so their mistakes can be solved with minimum consequences to them, and that’s what was going on. That is what the pharmacist was trying to do. It is what incompetent bureaucrats always try to do. We should not let them get away with that unethical tactic.

They should be on notice that it won’t work.

  • Was I being mean? Should I have been kinder and more understanding to the woman? Nope. Professionals don’t have the luxury of shrugging off non-performance and expecting their victims to be “nice.” I had already been nice about this problem more than once. This time, I had no margin for error.

I had every right to insist on the service I needed, and the pharmacist had no basis to deny it except “We screwed up,” to which the required response is, “Fix it.”

  • Was I bullying the woman? I’m sure she thought so. One is not “bullying” when one insists on professional treatment and reminds individuals that their non-performance has consequences. I had everything on my side.

All she had were excuses.

  • The crying was unprofessional, and, frankly, ticked me off as much as the rest of the incident. I was not the bad guy, and she made me feel like a bad guy. I also consider weeping under those circumstances an unethical use of  gender bias. I would consider a grown man who reacted as she did ridiculous and unqualified for his job, and despite all my programming and acculturation to feel otherwise, the same goes for the young woman. If women want equality in the workplace, equal pay and equal respect, then they better be equal. “Women can do everything a man does as well or even better, except that under stress we get to act pathetic and start weeping. “

No. You don’t.

 

71 thoughts on “Ethics Analysis: My CVS Confrontation

  1. And again, I am reminded of the benefits of living in small-town Mid-West. My pharmacist, more than once, has refilled a medication with no prescription and said “Here you go. I’ll call your doctor in morning.”

  2. I would make sure that what is in your pill bottle is, in fact, your medication, and not, say, birth control pills. Just a precaution.

  3. I wondered what pulling the lawyer card did to help resolve this. I have done it before and the response has been: “Oh? You have a bar card? I have one, too”, whereupon the service engineer pulls out a Tio Pepe’s Frequent Eater” punch card showing that the next meal is free.

    jvb

    • Pulling a Bar card in texas might insure that they spit in your food, pee in your drink, or add a laxative to your dessert.

      We have a FINE disregard for counselors here.

    • I should clarify: I didn’t actually use my bar card. I metaphorically played the “Lawyer Card,”, as in the Race Card. The message is, “You are risking a law suit, and I know what I am talking about. And she was, and I did.

      • ”I metaphorically played the ‘Lawyer Card,’ ”

        You mean like formerly active EA Provocateur ImJust Saying: “I’m a Lawyer in everything but degree…and, of course, reality”?

        “as in the Race Card.”

        Had you pulled a Rachel Dolezal/Shaun King and identified as Black? Oy; the possibilities!

        • It would be unethical to say, “I’m a lawyer” if I wasn’t one. IJS could, perhaps, ethically say “I know something about the law,” though based on his performance in that hearing, he doesn’t.

  4. You hit every highlight that those of us who need certain drugs to survive endure from medical bureaucracies like CVS (Disclaimer: I use Walgreens and am forced to use a mail pharmacy by my plan. They are just as bad)

    There are general themes that repeat themselves, like ‘losing’ prescriptions that are in the system, that are punctuated by new and unique problems. You learn to guide the solution for the themes, while working the new problems as they arise.

    I recently ordered a drug two weeks before I needed it, so I would not run out (although there is a slight window and I will not die if I don’t take it.) Usually this is much more than enough time to get things accomplished, but this time after 10 days the app still said the drug was ‘on order.’ I followed up with a call to Walgreens, where I was told they would have it Saturday, a day before I needed it. Called Saturday, no dice: and they could not follow up on a weekend to see where the problem was. So I called on Monday (the day after I should have taken the drug)

    The pharmacist danced a jig we all know so well: something went wrong upstream with the company, she did not have it, could not get it, and… waited for me to give up and hang up. I have been around the block too many times to let a pregnant pause make me uncomfortable, so waited her out. Walgreens screwed this up, and she knew it.

    Then she got innovative: she started searching for other Walgreens that had the drug in stock. After attempting to send me on a hundred mile round trip, then a 75 mile round trip, she found the drug at another local Walgreens (surprise!)

    We can demand customer service, in a polite way, and get results. Social media has made these companies allergic to bad reviews, and there are real consequences when professionals fail through incompetence.

    Just stand your ground.

      • 1. It was a she
        2. She was distinctly distraught that I did not let it go, but (since it was a phone call) I did not see tears. There was stress in her voice, but it did not cross that line.

          • Ok. You can stop waiting…

            Agree with you on all other points of course, and if anyone had an excuse for tears, it would be you. “This medication keeps me alive. You’re refusing to dispense it because of obduracy in incompetence”. I might well have been unable to fully control my emotions had I been in your shoes, and despite it being counterproductive.

            People differ in their ability to keep it together. On past experience, it’s most likely I’d be Icy calm at the time, then after the script had been filled and I was reasonably certain I wouldn’t be dying in the next few hours because of this canine female, when alone I’d collapse in a blubbering mess.

            None of my medications are so vital that missing them for a day or two would kill me. The worst is having my skin start to fall off after 48 hours leaving small patches of raw, bleeding flesh. Uncomfy, inconvenient, danger of infection but not actually immediately life threatening.

            My condolences and I’m now counting my blessings again.

            She lost her fertiliser. Wrong, but understandable, and it didn’t affect her ability to do her job. That ability was already compromised by incompetence, laziness, selfishness and heartlessness.

            Is that an adequate defence of her tears?

            • I see Sarah B has already answered more eloquently and completely.

              The only thing I’d add is that based on my own experience with Intersex and Trans patients starting hormone therapy, it take awhile for the guys to adjust to the violent impulses from testosterone, and the gals to adjust to the waterworks from estrogens.

              To those who have been hormone deficient in childhood and adolescence, it comes as a disorientating shock. They do get used to it, as does everyone who goes through a more conventional puberty, but to find themselves subject to feelings with only limited control over their involuntary physiological responses is disconcerting.

              • …hormone therapy, it take awhile for the guys to adjust to the violent impulses from testosterone, and the gals to adjust to the waterworks from estrogens.

                Okay, I am genuinely confused. Why would guys have issues with testosterone and gals with estrogens? I am ignorant of how such procedures are done, so this may be completely true. If I am just ignorant of the process, please forgive me in advance. Could you explain?

                I agree that hormone therapy can cause emotional upheaval, and that does not require changing sexes. Certain drugs and painkillers do the same.

            • …it’s most likely I’d be Icy calm at the time, then after the script had been filled… when alone I’d collapse in a blubbering mess.

              I have the natural ability, aided by years of training, to deal with the emergency in the moment without disabling emotion. Later, I ‘allow’ myself to experience the suppressed emotions, in a safe environment. This may be due to autism: when I was young, you learned to control yourself or faced dire, physical consequences.

              I was shocked to learn the fact that others are not this way. Now, 30 years after recognizing that fact, I do not think less of others for not being able to do so. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

              (I still attempt to instill the trait in my children, as much as they can learn to do so, as a calm head in an emergency is a valuable life skill. They have seen me do so, and seen that I reacted later as well. It is important they know I have the emotions but control myself)

          • How do you know I am not female? You have an email address 😉

            I might be a principled transgender… stop laughing, they MUST exist! I could have been posting from a male perspective even though biologically female.

            What if I feel pretty? Can I use the female restroom at Target? Am I female then?

            If I choose to be female, can I compete in the women’s competitions at the summer olympics?

            If I am female, I might still agree that tears are cheating in social interactions, if I am objective, ethical, and unbiased in this regard.

            My, what a can of worms a simple statement opened!

            (For Tim: /snark) 🙂

    • Caremark forced me to use CVS (monopoly, much?). When the prescriptions were being transferred, CVS lost them. It took my devoted Rite Aid pharmacist to fix the problem.

      Now Rite Aid is merging into Walgreens. No good deed goes unrewarded.

  5. It’s been my personal choice to avoid using national chain pharmacies if and when there is a locally owned and operated pharmacy within 15/20 minutes of me. I only have one prescription that I get at a national chain because it’s a very small count prescription and I rarely need it but having access nationwide is teally important when it’s needed, all other prescriptions are regular and I can plan well in advance.

    I choose to keep my money local.

    • The Walgreens IS local, and normally very good. I personally know many of the workers and pharmacy techs, who grew up in our community. Those paychecks stay local. Local pharmacies cannot get my drugs, or do not support my plan, or are very expensive.

      The pharmacists drive from San Antonio.

      • I understand your opinion Slick, but isn’t saying Walgreens is “local” much like saying Walmart, McDonald’s, Burger King, BP, Kroger, Home Depot, Sears, Kwik Trip, etc. are local? Walgreen’s really isn’t “local” like other real local businesses.

        Just because something occupies space locally doesn’t mean it’s support is local.

        I pulled my money out of the local bank that sold out to a national chain bank and switched to another locally owned and operated bank. There is a big difference between the community support provided from a “local” business as opposed to the non existent community support provided by the national chains. Real local businesses have tendency to support and reinvest in the community in ways that Corporate America doesn’t do.

        Buy local if you can, real local; it really does make a difference in the community.

        • All I was saying is that the employment is local, and that this pharmacy is as local as it gets give the issues with the really local ones. This is as local as I can, given the totality of circumstances (my family uses a LOT of drugs.)

          The same applies to WalMart, I guess. So I am really not refuting anything you have said here. You are right in your analysis, Z.

  6. This falls into one of my favorite sayings, bigger is worser. Bureaucracy, at some point, stops serving the needs of customers to serve itself or covers its own ass. I have spent many hours divorcing myself from large organizations to avoid such dangerous bullcrap.

  7. I truly empathize, and it has happened to me. BUT I decided that it is wrong (not ethical?) to know that I need a medication and then wait until it runs out before refilling it. . . and expect the pharmacy to “make it right “ when, at the very least, it is a shared failure.

    • I thought of that, but in this case, since the CVS had already offered me the prescription (that is, it had been filled) and said they would hold it (as they always have), I wasn’t expecting too much. No?

      • At our pharmacy — whether by Maryland law or by pharmacy policy — hold time is limited and held prescriptions are returned to stock if one does not pick them up within that time. I agree that your expectation that a held prescription would be available when you went to pick it up was reasonable (assuming they had not told you that it would be returned to stock after X days. However, you may have also “convinced” her to violate either the law or policy as she understood it. If so, you convinced her to be unethical. I am quite glad you received your vital prescription, as I would miss your philosophizing and Ethics-izing if missing a prescription caused you to check out. However, reading the description of the encounter, rationalizations 3, 18, 24, and 40 seem implied in the way things unrolled to get you where you needed to be.

        • I see the argument. But I didn’t have the power to make her do anything she didn’t want to do. I wasn’t breaking any law, and if she had been charged, I’d be a witness in her defense. I’d stand trial myself to challenge a law that protected the incompetent company from its own conduct while victimizing an innocent dependent customer and endangering his health as a result. My position meets Golden Rule standards—in her position, I’d get some doses—and Kant, as I’d advocate that universal principle: when a law works an injustice, the one in the position to fix the problem has to break it, nobody can possibly be harmed and the chances of the law being enforced is zero, the law is moot. And, of course, it meets utilitarian standards as well.

          If the only issue was the pulling of the medicine, you would be correct. But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that CVS lost a prescription that I had every reason to trust they would have, 1) because I saw it sent to them and 2) I was assured that the problem had been addressed.

  8. Now do you want to address the CVS manager who called police on a woman.

    This seems to be the latest cause celebre. I have no idea what transpired prior to the call to police but the Headline was Trump supporting white pharmacist (CVS) calls police on Black woman. Naturally we have cell video of the manager making the call but non beforehand.

    My health plan wants me to use CVS as they are tied into Blue Cross, but WalMart is cheaper with or without insurance coverage. You have reinforced my aversion to CVS. Poor management always relies on third party rules to avoid taking corrective action.

    • The manager in question is a forger. When confronted with a coupon he didn’t recognise presented by one of “those people”, naturally he assumed she did what he does. Projection.

      Now his own forgeries on political documents are being investigated and publicised.

      https://www.theroot.com/coupon-carl-calls-cops-on-black-woman-at-cvs-for-alle-1827610838

      ” Matson is running for Chicago City Council. In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions posted on his campaign website, he claimed he was a state delegate for Donald Trump, but the Illinois Republican Party said he wasn’t a delegate to the Republican National Convention”

      So reports of him being a Log Cabin Republican are msleading. He’s a wannabe.

      Also an ex employee. Not just the bad PR, the last person you want dealing with prescription drugs is a self confessed forger with a record of embroidering the truth.

  9. Jack, you had asked for women to comment on the tears. I have several thoughts on this, though I will start on one item before hitting the tears.

    1) Are you sure that it was legal? You are a lawyer, so you probably know and I freely admit that I don’t, but one medical supply company that also handles pharmaceuticals has told me that if they lost a script for something my kid needs, there is nothing that can be done, and if it is life threatening, that I have to call the appropriate hotline and get the script, which according to their policy must be handled over the course of three to five business days. If I need it faster, that is what the ER is for. For them to fill anything could land them in jail, is what they say, and if they were going to jail, I would. If what they say is true, then my insisting on my kid’s necessary medication despite their error is illegal. I lost hundreds dollars trying to get treatment for my daughter when a medical supply company lost over a dozen copies of a script in a week, and repeated it for six weeks. Unfortunately I was told that I had no recourse but to struggle to keep my little girl in her necessary life sustaining supplies however I could because they had no competitors in my area and they could accuse my pediatricians of the mistake. What I was told was that the law protected their incompetence.

    2) Now to the tears. Could you tell if her tears were because of frustration or was she trying to manipulate you? If she was trying to manipulate you, then I agree entirely. That is completely unacceptable.

    3) If the tears were a mark of frustration, as they can be for many of us women (I cannot feel any emotion without breaking into tears), then the question changes. Do you allow any male or female customer service person to show any amount of frustration in front of you ever? If you feel that all people, when dealing with customers, should never show any sign of frustration ever, then I believe the charge of unprofessional conduct is fair. I personally try to put this under Golden Rule, as I have had a very bad day at work and expressed frustration there in the past and have had people give me the benefit of the doubt. However, it is also a good thing to hold people to high standards, which, I feel, makes this answer a less clear one in my mind.

    4) If expressing frustration is occasionally allowable, then we have a new question which is, what is an acceptable way to express frustration? Here is where I think we need to discuss. Why are tears unacceptable? I knew a man who, whenever he got frustrated, would sweat like crazy. It was almost as obvious as the silent tears that someone tries to work through (not the weaponized sobbing coming from my daughter’s room, that is different). Why is it not unprofessional for him to sweat like crazy, but unprofessional for me to cry a little? For some of us, both responses are completely out of our control. I have tried for years and cannot stop my tears from coming with any negative and most positive emotions. What about the fact that men can swear, hit counters, or shout? (The only condemnation I’ve ever seen is for shouting or swearing at customers, but shouting or swearing around customers seems to be socially acceptable, as does punching inanimate objects, but only for men. Women doing that is seen as hysterics and unprofessional.)

    Now, as a reminder, after my little diatribe, if a woman weaponizes the tears, than we are in a totally different discussion. Women should remind their daughters that weaponizing tears is not an option. I’m now going to remind my four year old that it is acceptable to cry when one needs to handle emotion, but unacceptable (and unfruitful) to use those tears to make your mom give you what you want.

    • I’ll answer the first question first, and get back to the rest when I have some time.
      I assume that it was NOT legal, just as I assume it always nicks the law when a pharmacy that cannot confirm a prescription and the customer needs the pill gives a couple days supply to bridge a gap. But all pharmacies do it, because the system is fallible, and innocent victims’ lives come first. The law exists to protect people, not kill them. As with ethical principles, sometimes the law makes no sense, and we have to decide when. If a law is violated in the course of doing the ethical thing, no one’s harmed, no one could be harmed, then it’s de minimus. The law does not concern itself with trivialities.

      • I had never heard of pharmacies giving a few pills to bridge the gap. We have to go to the ER here, or live without. I’m pleasantly surprised that this is an option other places.

        • Yikes. Really? I’m amazed. We’ve been using the same pharmacy under three corporate parents for more than 30 years, and this was always done. And the doctors, at least three different ones, acknowledged the practice. I also have had this done while on the road,in an emergency, at least twice.

          Where ARE you?

          • Middle of nowhere WY, miles and miles of nothing ID, and rural NE, with a massive prescription drug problems either from direct usage or because it gets turned into crank. Frankly, Denver, CO acted the same way, though I didn’t know I could fight for some help by then. I had to go a whole holiday weekend without SALINE because my daughter’s script timed out and I couldn’t bring myself to pay a six hundred dollar ER bill for a four dollar bottle of sterile supply saline. We made do with sterilized water which was what the doctor said would be safe to use for a couple days, unlike contact solution or any other over the counter saline. Common sense has waved goodbye to our pharmacy apparently.

            • This is horrible. I’m so sorry. The very first time I needed a drug–I recall that it was when I lost a bottle of my anti-gout medicine–and it was late on a Friday when three days might literally put me in a wheelchair, the druggist said, “We can give you a small amount to get you through until your doctor can approve another prescription.” It never occurred to me, since this has probably happened 20 times since then, and in my wife’s and son’s cases as well, with multiple druggists and with no sense that it was unusual, that it wasn’t standard practice everywhere.

              It just makes sense.

              • It does, and if this is common practice at CVS, than the tone the tone of my above reply must be modified. I was assuming this was a rare exception you were asking for, from a profession that (where I’m from) is notoriously strict about these things because of (apparently local) drug problems and increased law enforcement.

          • NJ and PA both same deal – maybe you can’t get a full refill, but they will almost always give you enough of whatever you need to get you through, especially if it’s a medication you can’t go a day without.

    • Sarah

      I think you have described well how people physically emote. You have aptly described two separate reasons for tearful responses. There are times when I get so angry due to my frustration at abject incompetence and an unwillingness to accept responsibility my eyes well up involuntarily. These are not true tears because sobbing does not accompany them. They are still water emmitting from my tear ducts. I’ll allow these before I will tolerate a violent outburst from myself. These are my early warning system that I must deescalate fast.

      Unfortunately, many women have been conditioned to cry when they feel they are under attack. Some, have developed crying into an art form in which they can cry on cue to obtain sympathy. Others do not intentionally cry (weaponized) tears and do so involuntarily but the response is a learned one. Each are controllable responses but it takes effort to change one’s response mechanisms.

      • My problem is that this is not really controllable for everyone. I have tried for over two decades because I hate how people look at me when tears run down my face and because any time I cry (the phrase I and many other use to describe tears running from my eyes, sobbing or not), I will have a “rip off the top of your head and pound acid in it with a poisoned drill “migraine. I’d love to control this, but my tear glands are as controllable as my sweat glands. I can attempt to avoid feeling any emotion, just like I can try to always be in an environment under 65 degrees, but if I feel any pride, happiness, joy, gratitude, excitement, pain, sadness, grief, frustration, anger, hurt, or even tiredness and hunger, I automatically cry. If I get into 70 degree buildings, I automatically sweat. I have tried for years not to cry as much, and there is not much I can do about it.

        I discovered that I cannot come up with a response to your comment about the crying under fire that wouldn’t have high potential to come across as attacking most men, which is not my intent, so I’ll refrain, but I want to state that I feel you are leaving off half the equation, which will always leave it unsolved. Men’s agressive response to attack is considered professional and a sign of a strong leader despite it discomfiting women as much as tears discomfit men (stereotypically).

        • “Men’s agressive response to attack is considered professional and a sign of a strong leader despite it discomfiting women as much as tears discomfit men (stereotypically).”

          No it’s not. Unfortunately once I get angry I tend to really blow my stack and a few times I’ve come pretty darn close to doing something I was going to regret, like threatening physical violence, or actually getting violent. The tendency is to forget that there’s no walking back from something like that. Maybe I can successfully intimidate a mouthy other lawyer during a deposition by saying I’ll throw him down the stairs if he doesn’t button it, or silence a snippy secretary by telling her I’ll slap her features off her face if she doesn’t stfu. The minute the danger passes, though, I am in deep trouble, and rightly so, and I have a lot to lose.

          That said, Jack, I hope this pharmacist doesn’t have a husband or a boyfriend who doesn’t have a whole lot to use, because now she has your information, and that guy might decide to come to your place and teach you a little lesson in respecting his significant other.

          • Such a person would be risking their lives, showing up on my property wishing to do me harm.

            My WHOLE FAMILY knows how to shoot, and we have a lot to shoot WITH.

            Of course, that is only for imminent danger: we call the police up and until that point.

          • I believe you and I are looking at different degrees of “men’s agressive response to attack.” I am referring to several steps below that, where men under attack automatically stand up taller, puff out their chest, deepen their voice, speak very loudly, and lean into the intervening space between themselves and their target. I do not mean threatening physical violence. Men are assumed to be confident and such a stance is a sign of good leadership, while women who are less inclined to cry, or go against their nature and try this approach are seen as hysterical or a complete bitch, depending on how well they pull it off. Conversely, leadership seminars discuss how this is an appropriate stance for men in various situations as it encourages respect and confidence. I will agree that when people threaten or start physical violence, it is not usually applauded unless it truly was needed.

          • Yep, been there once. It was way too hot for me! I personally like snow 9 months out of the year. If I could move higher into the mountains while still getting groceries and my husband keeping his job, I’d do it in a heartbeat. These 90F July and August days are getting old. 😉

    • I have only a few years ago been shackled to ongoing prescription drugs, but I quickly discovered that my Sam’s Club business membership has an excellent benefit when it comes to prescriptions.

      At least through last year, the regular (club) price I pay at Sam’s is lower than the copay from my insurance company — one of the two drugs is actually free. The membership is $105/year and my sister and I have both save much more than that on prescriptions alone.

      I have never had them lose a prescription so I cannot speak to that. I have on one or two occasions had them call me (out of the blue) to ask if I wanted to refill my prescriptions — this happened a few days prior to when I would have called in for my monthly refills.

      I have on a couple of occasions run into problems when the prescription had expired, or there was a glitch between them and the doctor’s office. In those cases, they offered to fill a few days supply to tide me over until the problem was fixed, and they simply adjusted the amount they gave me with the regular refill.

      I am normally someone who is all in favor of buying local, which Sam’s Club definitely is not. However, Sam’s seems to go out of its way to cater to small businessmen, and the pharmacy service has been excellent. I’ve definitely been drawn into continuing to frequent their store, and the monetary savings don’t hurt either.

  10. ‘I’m having a terrible day. I was going to close early, and now I’m stuck here until ten. My staff all left or didn’t show up. This wasn’t my fault. Go ahead and complain to corporate. I don’t care any more.’

    i really dislike this kind of attitude. Her focus should be on the customer in front of her, your problem, she should be saying ‘I’ll call corporate’. She needs to put on her work hat and see if she can solve your problem, not complain to a customer about how hard she has it. I’ve had this happen to me more than once.

    The worst (most uncomfortable?) example I can remember off the top of my head was the time I went to the bank to finish having something changed on my account, and get information that I had previously requested. I always went to the same person’s office as she was very competent, she knew her job inside and out . She wasn’t in her office when I arrived so I took a chair to wait. The woman in the next office came out and said that D was on break, and she’d take care of me if I wanted to come in. I told her that D and I had already gone over everything previously, we were one step away from completion of what I needed, and thank you, but I’d wait. Twice more she came out and insisted I come in and she’d take care of it, so I went into her office. I have to explain everything from the beginning, more than once, and she can’t locate my file, makes five or six errors entering data, doesn’t have the answer to my previous question, and it’s beginning to turn into a long drawn-out runaround. Suddenly she jumps out of her chair and starts to yell that she can’t do this, she can’t concentrate, because she’s waiting for the results of a medical test that she’s very nervous about. It’s obvious that she isn’t going to calm down, and I’m trying to say what I can to make her feel better. As she’s having a meltdown D comes back, tells her to go on break, takes me into her office and I’m done in 5 minutes. I felt bad for the other person, but I was not prepared to hear all that she dumped on me, a stranger, who just wanted a transaction completed. She has friends and family for that.

    There have been others, people who are inexcusably late, or forgot tools they needed, or got lost or any number of things because of some personal problem that I don’t need to hear about made them late or forgetful. ‘I’m sorry I’m late’ is enough, and the proper thing to say when they flub up. I guess people think that if they make you feel sorry for them, you won’t complain. It’s just unprofessional.

    • This was the red flag for me. It is not my co-workers or clients issue if I’m having a bad day. They are still owed my best if I’ve come to work that day. “I was going to close early…” What?! So, a customer cannot get needed medication because the pharmacist felt like closing early?! No, no, no. This is a level of unprofessionalism that would have kicked in *my* angry tears. (Yeah, I hate that I cry when angry. It’s how I react. I’d change it if I could.)

    • I’ve said something to the effect of “I’m not your husband” to female lawyers who’ve given me attitude. You take that crap home to the guy who has to deal with it because you can deny him his monthly sex ration. I don’t have to.

  11. Safeway never a problem, except when they were out of my diabetes medicine I just had them send the prescription to other Safeway. No Jack you were not wrong, but the young lady was probably under the thumb of some stupid corporate policies the cvs has, the name ironically means customers value service, we do, they don’t!

  12. I have jumped up and down for meds on pharmacies and practices when something ran out and things fell through the cracks, like when I had a crippling state of tendonitis. I felt bad about it for a long time, but I have done it eventually.

    Oh, I know better, intellectually, but I’m old enough and from a conservative area that women were expected play nice and always be agreeable out in public. It’s VERY stressful to push and demand correct behaviors. And it has not gotten easier, so I wait far too long. I have to get really angry before I overcome that conditioning. Now I let myselt get angrier faster and concentrate on how I jump up and down on the miscreant: clear and not actually foul mouthed so there’s no excuse to dismiss the issue.

  13. This sounds like a lovely time to reopen the discussion about pharmacists who want to refuse to sell some drugs for “moral” reasons.

    Jack, any of your meds have a warning saying not to be taken by pregnant women?

    • No. Is there any dispute in this forum over the ethics position that pharmacists have to do their jobs, and if their conscience won’t let them serve everyone, they need to find another occupation?

      • My hypothesis is yes.

        Care to test it?

        Resolved. Any pharmacist who refuses to dispense prescribed drugs, including and most especially birth control and abortifacients are, and of a right ought to be, dismissed from employment forthwith.

        • I agree. Why not? If they want to take moral positions about drugs, they should enter another career path.

          Any drug that is legally prescribed should be filled upon proper demand and payment by any and all pharmacists. Period. Otherwise, their employers should either fire them, or relegate them to duties that don’t offend their sensitivity.

        • This is a great big off-topic deflection (big surprise coming from a lefty) but now that it’s active I guess I’ll chime in with my two cents.

          I have a real problem with any pharmacist that refuses to dispense any prescription that is prescribed by a medical doctor, yes even birth control and abortifacients. They should be fired if they don’t do their job.

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