Friday, July 27, 2007

How do you get someone to stop talking to you???

Within 10 minutes of opening the gate today, I hear someone shout out from at least 30 feet outside of the pharmacy, "Hey Man!!!"

I stopped in the middle of double counting a narcotic script, and I looked up and saw a disheveled middle-aged guy quickly approaching our counter. "I pulled a muscle and Aleve isn't working. Is there something else that will work better," says the crazy looking man.

A nice easy question, I thought to myself. I started explaining to him that he could try taking ibuprofen, but since they both work in exactly the same way, I wasn't sure if it would work any better than Aleve. While not exactly a nice clear-cut answer, I at least gave him another option he could try. However, I soon found out that the pulled muscle was only about 1/10th of the reason he came to the counter. What he really wanted to do was tell me all about how he was "unfairly" pulled over by 5 police cars at 3:00 AM because he was driving erratically. Not wanting to give him any encouragement to continue, I didn't really ask what exactly he was doing at 3 in the morning, but it must not have been too good considering he had his license suspended for the incident.

Now, I had never seen this guy in my life. I'm pretty sure he had never seen me. Yet, he felt the need to tell me every part of his "unlucky" day ("First I hurt my leg. Then I lose my license.") The man didn't really seem upset about losing his license. I just think he was looking to tell someone about his experience.

I kept trying to steer the conversation back to his leg pain, and I kept suggesting that he either go pick up a bottle of ibuprofen to try or (and I stressed this one) go see his doctor. Finally, after about 10 minutes of rambling about his car, he left the pharmacy counter. I breathed a big sigh of relief and tried to finish counting that narcotic script. Then the tech started laughing at me. Apparently, this guy has been doing stuff like that for years, and she was amused by my first experience with him.

Before I can finish double counting, the man was back with a bottle of Bayer Aspirin. At no time during the previous 10 minute session with him did I ever mention Aspirin, but of course, this is the product he brings back with him. I advised him that he's probably better off with the Aleve and once again, reiterated to him that it would be best to see his doctor (I forgot to mention he was on a whole mess of psych drugs). He then spent another 5 minutes repeating from the beginning the entire story of him having his license suspended.

At this point, all I wanted to do was finish counting that stupid narc script and get on with my day, so I started ignoring him. The only thing I kept saying to him was, "I don't know about all that, but I think you should see your doctor about your leg pain." I must have said it to him 6 or 7 times before he finally decided to leave the counter to put the Aspirin back.

That had to be the end of it. What more could he possibly have had to say? Well.... after returning the Aspirin to the shelf, he spotted his next victim trying to pick out an OTC med from an aisle right in front of the pahrmacy. The lunatic said something to the guy, and the guy laughed and gave him a response just to be polite. That was the worst mistake he could have made. Mr. Crazy told the whole story again to the guy (and being 10 feet away, I had to hear it for a 3rd time!!).

After a good 5 minutes, the crazy guy left him alone. 30 seconds later, I heard him telling the story again to a cashier at one of the registers. The guy picking out an OTC product joked to me, "What kind of stuff are you giving that guy?" I couldn't even give a response.

After all this... I guess my question is, how in the world do you get someone like that to just leave you alone without telling him to fuck off??? I tried every trick I knew. I ignored him. I started repeating the same thing over and over again. I tried to look like I was very busy and didn't have time. He kept right on talking.

Is there ever a time you just say to someone, "Look, I have to get back to work. Please stop talking to me." ???

Other than that, my day went well.


greensunflower said...

The other day I took care of a family. The grandmother starting talking to me and it sounded like a video application to the Maury show. I have a rule... if it takes more than 15 minutes of my time, social work should take care of it. Often I say after the 15 min mark "I can call social work for you." This usually stops them in their tracks. 15mins might sound like too much time, but I am a nurse, listening is part of our job. And I know you dont have social work in retail.

Anyway, the lady would not stop with her increasingly convincing qualifications for Maury. One of my fellow nurses comes by and sees what is going on and acts like my boss. "Greensunflower, have you finished your progress note yet?" (I had another 3 hours to write a 5 minute note). I said, "No, thank you so much for reminding me." The grandmother proceeded to tell me she needed some sleep and left for the night.

My suggestion: have a bail out system.

Pharmacy Mike said...

Actually... after the guy left, the tech told me that she was thinking about dialing the pharmacy from with the store and telling me I had a phone call, so I wouldn't have to deal with him anymore.

Although, I have a feeling that this guy would have started talking to the tech until I was off the phone, and then went right back to bothering me.