Nearly all of us have had the experience of talking to a pharmacist.    I’m not going to write advice about what words to say or “how to open a conversation with your pharmacist”  or ” how to get your pharmacist to do what you want him to do – and quickly!”

I’m going to leave that up to you.  You can use your own words and mannerisms.

What I want to do is give you some context for the words and mannerisms you choose to use.

There is almost no Best Time to see your pharmacist.   If you go when it’s the best time you can fit into your schedule,  say,  first thing in the morning, or after you drop the kids off,  or on your way to work, or on your lunch hour, after work,  mid-evening after supper — those are probably the Best Times for everyone else too.

First thing in the morning may not be the best time for the pharmacist.   He may be still trying to figure out the mess that the previous day has left for him.  Or he may be still coping with the lack of one employee who couldn’t come in today.   Or he may be trying to decipher the latest directive from headquarters, that – yet again –  doesn’t make sense, serves no purpose,  and will take up a lot of extra time.

At other times during the day you may arrive just after the previous cranky, demanding, insulting customer had just left.    The pharmacist’s head is still spinning.   Or, if your pharmacist seems unusually quiet, he may have just received a threat, perhaps a threat to do bodily harm, and he is wondering how many other customers out there harbor anger and resentment towards him.

As you  know, we have in our town just dealt with the shooting death of a well-loved pharmacist.  A good colleague of Son.  And another pharmacist in this area who is trained and licensed to carry a gun and  had to take it out when a customer was beating up another customer and using a knife….  no injuries then…. but the court ruled that he cannot take his gun to work anymore.   No defense of customers.  No self-defense.   These things weigh on the mind of your everyday pharmacist.  Especially if the customer before you was a particularly nasty one.

At any time of the day  your pharmacist has just been lectured by a customer as to proper procedures and practices.   He may have had to explain for the 24th time that day that it’s the insurance company that’s charging such a high deductible and there is nothing he can do to change the insurance company’s mind. He may still feel sad about the customers he’s had to turn away that day.    He may feel sad about the customer who will no longer need his services.    He may have just spent fifteen minutes with a customer, helping to diagnose her problems, shown her all the Over The Counter aids all over the store, only to have her walk off in a huff because he can’t give her something with a prescription.

Your pharmacist has been insulted, accused, questioned,  and taken for granted all throughout his very long day, standing on his feet, with no scheduled stops for lunch, “coffee.” or bathroom.   He must be at 110% alertness to what he’s doing at all times, because even a tiny mistake can be serious.   And he must  be that aware also about what his employees are doing in their delegated tasks.

Most likely your pharmacist will greet you pleasantly and be ready to listen and try to figure out what it is you’re saying to him.   Your words,  your mannerisms.

The leading cause of death of pharmacists is heart attack.    Sometimes on the job.

That beautiful sunset at the top of this posting?

Son’s wise choice for a rare few days off from work.

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  1. […] .*       Be kind to your pharmacist.    He’s usually not the cause of long waits,  denials,  and confusions.       The Spruce Tunnel has some suggestions:    “How To Talk to Your Pharmacist.” […]

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