Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"He's been much better lately"

That's what my manager said in reference to the "improved" behavior of one the biggest assholes that fills prescriptions at our pharmacy. For the purpose of this post, the asshole's name is Sal. I wrote about Sal in the past when he decided to report us to the state board of pharmacy because we refused to fill his Lantus prescription when he had no refills left and still had enough insulin to last him for several more days.

That incident was with the previous manager of our store. Our new manager has decided to avoid the possibility of any future episodes by bending over backwards and giving Sal pretty much anything he wants. If it's a weekend and Sal has run out of test strips and doesn't have refills, we'll give him a box and get the refill authorization later. If we don't have enough medication to fill Sal's entire prescription at one time, we'll take some away from another customer (who called well in advance of when they'd run out of medication) so that we could give it to Sal. If Sal is too busy to wait 10 minutes, we'll push Sal's prescription to the top of the pile and get them done right away. Basically, the pharmacy staff is Sal's bitch.

Let me say that I don't necessarily disagree with my manager in his approach to handling Sal. He's just one customer, but he can cause a lot of problems. Therefore, getting him in and out of the pharmacy as quickly as possible while minimizing the chance of him having an outburst is generally a good strategy.

However... When my manager had the nerve to proclaim that Sal has been pretty pleasant recently, I had to call him out on it:

"Of course he's been pleasant lately. I'd be pretty nice too if everyone bent over and kissed my ass all the time. He's not too bad when he gets everything he wants whenever he wants it. However, the second he doesn't get his way, he throws a temper tantrum. The guy is an asshole and any attempt to say otherwise is just wrong."

It's sad and unfortunate that in many cases we act nicer and do more for our worst customers than for our best customers. However, when those asshole customers fill 10 or more prescriptions per month at your store, the threat of them taking their business elsewhere carries some weight. Therefore, we'll put up with more shit and bend over just a little further backwards to keep them happy. It sucks, but it's a reality of the retail world. I accept this reality.

I just refuse to think any more favorably of those assholes when they start acting just a little bit nicer after months of being waited on hand and foot. They're still bottom of the barrel scumbags to me.


Anonymous said...

We have a patient like this as well. She is diabetic and on lantus and instead of watching her diet she just injects herself with more insulin. So no surprise when she runs out of insulin every month. She is already at the max amount her insurance (state aid) will pay for. So to keep her happy my manager will give her a free bottle of lantus every month. I think it is crazy to be doing this, but to keep her happy and keep her other 12 prescriptions at our pharmacy he does it. This patient has been kicked out of almost every pharmacy in town and to no surprise.

Pharmacy Mike said...

I edited this post to remove a reference of us breaking a law to appease Sal. I also deleted several comments that criticized this decision.

It's not that I dislike criticism. I'd love to debate this issue. However, as I've learned, you can never be completely anonymous on the internet, and you never know who's reading. I don't feel like getting in trouble or fired over something I've written on this blog (which is what happened to the blogger formerly known as Pharmacy Girl).

Besides, breaking the law wasn't the point of this post. Of course, people tend to get distracted by little things and miss the big picture.

Let me just say that for those who acted so shocked that we would break the law, I think you should really think about the things you do on a daily basis in retail pharmacy. I find it very very hard to believe that your pharmacy has never bent or broken the law to serve a customer.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I feel bending the law, everyone does, but I will not do any billing changes or anything like that.

There are a lot of gray areas in the different regulations that are out there, then there are clear lines that I wont cross, here are a few that I don't cross, that people constantly try to do...

Billing something on a different date for a patient so they can have it early

Early Narcs without a phone call from the doc or a police report if they are "stolen", sorry but if they are selling them, or worse taking them and someone gets killed because I chose not to deal with it, I could be at fault too (it would be a stretch, but there are some persistent lawyers out there.

Leaving a drug on the shelf after the mandatory return date just because their medicaid is closed at the beginning of the month, sorry but it has been 2 weeks take it or lose it.

There are tons of gray areas and I will admit I have wandered into a few of them, but I try to take as little risk as paycheck is not worth ANYONE'S customer satisfaction!