"People lament all the time about the terrible cost of healthcare in America, but..."
|People lament all the time about the terrible cost of healthcare in America, but I personally believe that there is one area in healthcare that deserves more spending, not less. Namely: prescription glasses and/or contacts. I am dead certain that there is a large, underserved segment of our population that desperately needs help with their failing eyesight, and I would like to call upon our public health officials to act with all urgency to assist them in their plight -- even if they don't think they need it. I mean honestly, what other explanation could there be besides severe, untreated myopia that could lead so many people to mistake a Walgreens pharmacy for their neighborhood MacDonald's?
Okay people, just because there is a two-lane drive-thru in the back does NOT mean that you can ask me to fetch you a carton of milk, some ice cream, a pack of cigarettes, or a box of extra-sensitive Trojans! It is NOT my job to do your grocery shopping because your kids are screaming in the back seat like a couple of demented banshees being tortured over live coals! And for god's sake, how could anyone think that a package of 36-roll toilet paper could even FIT into that dinky little metal box that's designed to accomodate prescription medications?
Alright, so now assuming that you're actually sitting in my pharmacy drive-thru due to a pharmacy-related concern, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. The drive-thru is not actually faster. Okay, I think that bears repeating. The drive-thru is NOT actually faster! In fact -- brace yourselves! -- it's arguably slower! Le gasp! Yes, that's right, given a choice between serving someone who has just pulled up in the drive-thru and serving someone who actually did me the courtesy of coming inside the store to talk to me face-to-face, I would pick the one who came inside. In fact, the standard wait time in the store is about fifteen minutes whereas the standard wait time for a prescription dropped off at the drive-thru is half-an-hour. And NO, glaring at me through the window does NOT in fact speed up the second hand of my clock or induce me to supersonic speeds! So if you were expecting to drive up and exchange that little slip of paper from the doctor's office for a bottle of pills in under thirty seconds, I'm afraid you're in for a rather unpleasant surprise. SO SORRY!
Now, to my biggest pet peeve. I will make some allowances for customer unfamiliarity with pharmacy operations, so allow me to enlighten you. When a car rolls into either lane of the drive-thru, a bell goes off inside. Well, I call it a bell because my manager is not amused by my referring to it as the tolling of the Gates of Hell. This bell then, which, by the by, is always an exact replica of the sound of your in-laws at the door, only louder, is to inform pharmacy personnel of your arrival. As all of us who work behind the counter are competent of hearing, this means that we know you're there! We can actually see your car through some cleverly placed mirrors inside the pharmacy. If, then, we do not immediately materialize at the window ready to serve, it's most likely because we are currently assisting someone else. Do NOT, therefore, push that little button that declares your presense! WE KNOW! That button that you so innocently use to summon us to your aid actually sets off a telephone ring inside -- a very loud, very obnoxious ringing different from our usual calls and it DOES NOT STOP until we have answered. This means we have to tell our current customer to please wait a second, pick up the call, and then tell you that we will be with you shortly, all of which only adds more time to your wait. The horror!
This insistence on instant gratification aside, I can sometimes understand when someone does push the button. What REALLY sets me off though, is when someone pushes the button when I'm standing RIGHT THERE! See, myopia, I tell you! Let me give a perfect example of such a customer interaction.
Eight o'clock in the evening at Walgreens. It's dark outside and I'm sure that, thanks to the brightly lit store behind me, I am at least as visible to those in the drive-thru as a cowboy outlined against a western sunset. I have just finished with the first lane (closest to the window) and I'm now talking to the people in the second lane when another car pulls up. I smile at them, making eye contact, and look across to the other car as I gather some information. And then the ringing goes off. The heck? HELLO! Can you not see me standing here helping the other car? With eyesight like that, are you sure you should even be driving, especially at night?
Okay, so maybe they didn't realize I was already helping someone. I tell the second lane to please hold a moment and pick up the line to the first lane (remember what I said about that ringing not stopping until answered? Forget water torture, I would rather stab my eyes out with a blunt pencil than listen to it going on and on and on and on and...). The lady -- and I use the term loosely -- in lane one tells me she's picking up her birth control and I reply that I'll be with her in a second, then switch back. And what do I see but that airhead reaching for the button AGAIN! GAH! Lady! Are you about have a baby RIGHT THERE? Were you planning on getting it on with your boyfriend in the back seat or something? If not, then you don't frigging need your birth control THAT BAD!!
At this point I was wishing that the bullet-proof glass in the drive-thru window didn't exist, because it would be ever-so-satisfying to be able to jump through and throttle the person on the other side. Ah, daydreams...
Fine then. So that's how it's gonna be. I, very calmly, pick up lane one again and ask for her last name. In the computer, I can see that her pills have already been filled and are awaiting pickup. I apologize profusely for the delay and tell her that her prescription is still being processed. She huffs like she thinks my brain has been sucked out by aliens and looks at me like I'm a retard who's drooling on her lab coat. Well, screw you, lady.
In the meantime, the tech who's working hears me and asks me who it is so she can get the script ready. I hang up and -- still very calmly -- inform her that the prescription is ready, but I'm not in any particular hurry because that customer's got all the charm and common courtesy of a piece of dog turd on a summer sidewalk. Being similarly familiar with such situations, the tech nods, smiles, and goes back to her business. Ah, the comraderie of those who must deal with morons!
Ahem! So yes. I am hereby launching my public awareness campaign to treat myopia! C'mon folks, do something worthwhile with your tax dollars!
Or, failing that, would it be too much to ask for one of those blind idiots to simply crash their car into the drive-thru and destroy it?
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