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Friday, July 25, 2008

"Excuse me ...

but do you have shoehorns in the pharmacy?"

Well, that's a new one, I have to admit. No one has ever even mentioned the word "shoehorn" in a sentence before, that I can remember.

I may very well have identified a new disease: Pharmaceutical shopagnocis, a psychological ailment characterized by the metonymies of the department store (metonymy, you will recall from your eighth grade grammar lessons, is (from Webster's Collegiate Online)

a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated (as “crown” in “lands belonging to the crown”).

What I think happens is that someone walks into the department store, happens on the pharmacy and remembering the last time they were in say, Rite Aid or Walgreens or CVS, they still think that everything in those stores is contained in our little section of a much larger store. Thus the shoehorn (which a normal, well-adjusted person might think is hanging on some shelf in a shoe department). The food section then moves within their minds into the pharmacy. So too, the Health and Beauty, the electronics, the--dare I postulate--the ladies' undergarments. ("Where are the stockings?" the unmedicated sick person asks).

This is why my little pharmacy becomes the catch-all of the store, from the service desk ("Can you tell me where the pet foods are?") to the, ahem, unmentionables.

Do we have shoehorn's in the pharmacy? Ma'am, please! What full-service drug store has not shoehorns within its confines? Do you think us backwoods? Right over by the sports cremes, and next to the brassieres.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I encounter quite a few personality types at work. Maybe all of 'em. How many types are there? Let's see …

There's the codger (think Walter from Jeff Dunham), the rich codger and the rich codger's wife. Middle-age guy undergoing crisis; middle-age woman undergoing peri-menopause; the young guy and cute girl; the woman with family; the guy without the family (may be married but usually shows up alone and can't remember the wife's birthday … or the kid's); the beautiful woman (by definition rare—usually found gathering in makeup aisle); the guy in the suit (also rare, as they feed in theaters and party rooms); the retired gent (who may be "the codger" or a separate class: the nice guy); the impatient lady (is it done yet? I have an appointment! My husband is out in the car! I have ice cream out in the car! My dog is out in the car!); the poor—and I mean dirt poor—lady who has a cab or bus waiting outside the store ("Can you hurry? I have a cab waiting for me.")

Kids are a separate species entirely. Some are tappers (tap-tap-tap on the counter: "Mom, why is he taking so long?"). Some are whiners, some are just cute.

Women, too, fall into different distinct sub-classes depending on dress: there is the teeny-bopper (who might be as old as twenty-five); the skank (usually has on an extremely low cut tank-top with some baseball logo tattooed on each breast, pregnant, but giving out her phone number); the beauty (elegantly dressed, curvaceous, coiffed, in heels, skirt and sweater—in summer she wears … oh who cares what she wears—she beautiful!); the older lady (your mom); the woman next door (be very careful).

And then there is my personal bĂȘte noire: The know-it-all. She tells me about the drugs I'm dispensing. She gives me medical advice. She gives me worldly advice. She postulates about my psychological state (when I have a day off, but my co-workers fill me in). And, of course, she means well. She is the one I wish would go away, transfer her scripts, and move. Anything. Just go away.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It's so disgusting ...

when people take the wad of bills out of their pockets as they're paying for their prescriptions, and then proceed to lick their thumb, count off a few, then hand the money to me. Oh thank you, sir; thank you, madam. No, I don't mind a bit, sir, that I am handling your spittle. Glad to. It's a privilege. If only you'd given me your dirty snot rag as well, then my day would be complete.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Today's my birthday ...

and while on the topic of birthdays, I'd like to mention one of my pet peeves. Not a day goes by when I am not faced with a man picking up a prescription for either his wife or one--or both of--his kids. Before handing over the medication we verify the date of birth of the patient, just so we know that 1) the person picking up the medicine is likely to be a representative of the patient and given instruction to do so, and 2) that we indeed have the right prescription in hand.

Simple enough, right? Wrong. You'll note I said earlier that it is a man picking up the prescription. The man does not know the date of birth of his wife. The man does not know the date of birth of this child. Many would say that this is an example of generalization, of stereotyping. Not so. While there are of course exceptions, the majority of men picking up prescriptions struggle mightily to come up with a date of birth for their loved ones.

Let me be clear: A man who does not know his child's date of birth is not a man. He is a boy. A man who does not know his wife's date of birth is no husband, but a slacker.

I don't think I've ever known a mother who did not know her child's date of birth. I know, many will be saying that that is no miracle, that it is likely that a mother undergoing birth pangs would remember it to her dying day. But that does not excuse the man. Not hardly. It is a travesty that so many men are so emotionally separated from their families that they do not know the most basic of details about them. It disgusts me.