Where everybody knows your name ...

Remember that song from "Cheers"? It came to mind recently when a customer (a long-time customer) came up to the counter to retrieve her prescription. I recognized her, but when the day gets busy as it certainly was, I find it difficult to always match a name with the face. Sometimes I can come up with the first name, sometimes the surname, and sometimes neither. I usually get around the embarrassment by asking a date of birth. That can be a problem, however, when the gender is that of a female. Women can get quite ornery when asked a DOB (date of birth), especially when over the age of thirty-ish.

I asked for her name, thinking that that would be the lesser of two evils. Actually, I apologized, then asked for her name. Something like "I'm sorry, I can't remember your name."

She then remonstrated against my failure to recall her name. "Everybody else remembers my name!" she said.

Now, that may be true, and it may be an exaggeration (probably the latter). The thing is, I'm the supervising pharmacist, the manager of the department. I'm not supposed to spend a whole lot of time at the register. We happened to be down three people at the time, including a pharmacist on maternity leave, leaving me to fill in wherever needed, which happened to be at the register at that moment, waiting on this charming lady.

I couldn't resist being persnickety. "I'm sorry, I only have to remember a thousand people, that's all. Stupid of me, isn't it?" is all I could come up with, but the tone stated that I thought she was 1) stupid, and 2) a jerk.

But I was then a jerk, too. I wish I had handled it differently. I probably should have genuflected, apologized again, and maybe explained that with the store being so busy my brain just wasn't working as fast as it should have been. Then she most likely would say something like "Oh, that's OK; I understand."

Then again, maybe she'll pack her prescriptions off and move to the pharmacy down the street. I can only hope.


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