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About Magnificence in the Mundane

Bringing humor to the many challenges of parenting, driving a gigantic SUV full of smelly boys and their friends, letting go of the idea of perfection and tackling middle age all serve as my inspiration. We all have common experiences, I just share my take on the absurdity of every... Read more

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Rx Excess

prescription drugs 2 450x280I was disappointed but not surprised to find that the pharmacy drop-off line snaked down the aisle. With four people in front of me, I was left to entertain myself for what looked like a long stay. I immediately thought, “who can I call?” Then I realized that everyone in line was eaves dropping on the phone conversation that the woman in front of me was currently having:

“I cannot wait to go camping,” “I know.” “Yes, I swear I will break the rule about leaving the campsite if we don’t have a way to make coffee. I mean I am all about camping but not unless I get my coffee.” “Yes, two days WILL kill me.”

There is something very awkward about listening to one end of a conversation and mentally filling in the gaps for the other party, who, I assumed, agreed with me that two days without coffee would not actually kill anyone. I might kill someone, though, if I had to endure this for another twenty minutes. So, I discarded the idea of a phone call as a courtesy to the other folks in line.

The first gentleman in line finished and the man behind him stepped to the counter. “I would like the pharmacy lost and found,” he announced loudly. The pharmacy assistant looked up from the computer but had no response. So, he repeated his need for the lost and found to which she answered, “There is no lost and found for the pharmacy. Did you lose a prescription?” She had now regained her composure and had her customer service smile on as she prodded him for information.

Customer: “NO, I lost my insurance card and I am sure you have it in your lost and found,” he explained.

Pharmacist: “Well, as I said, there is no lost and found so we don’t have your card,” she countered.

The camping girl had now moved onto the various wardrobe decisions awaiting her for the weekend events and I wanted to bang my head against the giant Scholl’s display featuring new futuristic gel shoe inserts that was positioned next to me.

Customer: “If I could just look around, I am sure I could find it.”

Pharmacist: “It is against the law for you to be back here. There are narcotics. If we found your card, we would have called you or put it in the prescription bag when you came back.”

Customer: “I don’t understand”

I understood that we were all going to need narcotics by the time we got to the front of the line. He continued to plead his case and never dropped off a prescription that I could see. He was shuttled over to the Consultation area and the store manager was called. The pharmacy assistant resumed her tapping of the computer keys.

We were all relieved to be moving forward in line. The next customer was efficient and prepared. Excellent! She was finishing up the process when it all came to a screeching halt again.

Pharmacy Asst: “Will you be waiting for this?”

Customer: “How long is the wait?”

Pharmacy Asst. “We have a lot of waiters right now so about an hour.”

Customer: “Ok, so I will come back in about an hour.”

Pharmacy Asst.: “Oh, there is no way it will be ready in an hour.”

Customer: “But you just told me that the wait was about an hour.”

Pharmacy Asst.: “No, that was for the people who are waiting now.”

Customer: “Ok, so what would the wait be for me?”

Pharmacy Asst.: “At least two hours but maybe you should call first.”

We had all been listening to the automated voice repeat ad nauseam “Pharmacy Call 1″ with no response from anyone behind the counter. Calling seemed more futile than actually sitting in the chair for the blood pressure machine and waiting it out with a magazine for two or more hours.

It was time for camping girl to hand over her prescription. She asked her caller to hold as she gave her vitals to the pharmacy assistant. Of course, the reality of hold in this case meant putting the phone down on the counter during the transaction. The only thing more awkward than listening to one side of a phone conversation, is waiting in limbo while someone conducts their business instead of just calling back. The caller is then treated to a series of scraping noises, muffled voices and static until they are rejoined with their party who most likely can’t remember where they were in the conversation anyway.

Having been too preoccupied with her call to overhear the previous customer, camping girl made the fatal mistake of asking about the wait. I stifled a loud sigh and chose to spin the bifocal display as a distraction. It clanged around and around much like the pounding of my head. My prescription was expiring as I was standing there—literally.

Supermarket medication drug aisleIt was finally my turn. I wasted no time. I knew the computer had Drew’s birthdate and insurance information. I knew there was no lost and found. I knew that I couldn’t come back for several hours. I knew that camping girl was leaving work early in the hopes that no one noticed on a long weekend. What else could I possibly have needed?

Pharmacy Asst.: “Let me see if we have this in stock.”

Me: “Oh, ok”

I watched her white lab coat cloaked back as she ran a finger along the shelf for the specified medication. She located it and pulled the bottle down and I lost sight of her. She popped back up behind her trusty computer a moment later and announced, “we have 10 pills.” Which would be great news if I hadn’t asked for a thirty-day supply.

Pharmacy Asst.: “So we can give you 10 today and call you when we get more.”

Me: “When do you think that would be?”

Pharmacy Asst.: “No sooner than tomorrow and maybe two weeks.”

Me: “Two weeks would be a problem because I only have 10 now.”

Pharmacy Asst.: “Right”

Me: “So, can you tell if another pharmacy has them in stock?”

Pharmacy Asst.: “No. Well, wait. Um no.”

My confidence completely shattered, I asked for my prescription back. I turned to see the folks behind me stifling loud sighs and counting the ceiling tiles. I shrugged and offered a half-smile by way of apology. The girl tapped a little more on her computer and handed me back my prescription.

I was disappointed but not shocked when no one met my eye as I made my way past the line, down the aisle and out of the store. How could I blame them? I had held up the line just like all the folks before me. And for that…I would just have to take my medicine.

Maureen Stiles

About Maureen Stiles

Maureen is the author of the blog Magnificence in the Mundane. You can read her monthly column at The Town Courier.


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