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    Race lesson in the pharmacy

    Cynthia CooperCynthia Cooper“First do no harm.” That was the credo given to me when I graduated from pharmacy school. It implied that I now wielded a degree of power as a practicing pharmacist. I took it to heart.

    Pharmacists vow not to harm patients. Our calling is to help them. But should this intention be entirely one-sided? Recent events in my professional life have left me wondering whether any responsibility lies with patients not to harm their pharmacists.

    Here’s my story.

    The patient

    I was working the Sunday weekend shift at the retail pharmacy. This was usually a low-key two-day affair that provided a respite from the weekday hustle and bustle. The patient, whom I’ll call "Betty Wiskowski," a woman born in the early 1950s, came into the pharmacy accompanied by a pre-teen boy and a teenage girl.

    I asked for the usual information: her name, the number of prescriptions she was expecting to pick up, etc.

    Betty answered me adequately and I started the checkout process. She wandered off during my scanning and cash register routine, then eventually wandered back and asked whether she had any insulin ready. I checked the meds that were waiting for her and, not seeing an insulin prescription in her bag, went to a nearby computer to check her profile. I found an active prescription for Lantus vials that had not been dispensed since December 2014 and processed it to fill.

    The beginning

    The copay was sizeable, and I mentioned it to Betty. She asked whether I had used her insurance. I checked her third-party set-up and saw that she didn't have active third-party insurance. We had been using one of three “discount” plans available for patients with no active insurance coverage (despite Obamacare, they do exist!).

    I asked Betty whether she had her insurance card with her. She dug through her wallet and gave me her card. I updated her third-party information and reprocessed the Lantus prescription. The copay was slightly less than the “discount” copay.

    After hearing the amount of her copay, Betty wanted to know why the prescription was still so pricey. I gave her my best guess: This was the first time Betty had used her prescription coverage in 2015, and the large copay was probably being applied toward a deductible.

    Betty replied that she still wanted the insulin, so I finished filling the prescription and headed back to the checkout area.

    Escalation

    Betty was apparently taken aback that we (the pharmacy?) had not used her prescription coverage for her prescriptions before. I reviewed her “discount” copays for her other prescriptions; they were all approximately $5 for a month’s supply.

    I explained that we had not been given her new insurance information previously and had used the lowest discount program available (and had not charged her a “cash” price) and reassured her that her third-party information was now updated.

    Betty was adamant that she had paid a “cash price” (not a discounted price) before.

    At that point I was not sure where the conversation was headed or what benefit could be had by pursuing the cash vs. discount discussion. I told Betty that that was okay and I was not going to argue with her, then resumed the checkout process.

    Cynthia Cooper, PharmD
    Cynthia Cooper is a retail pharmacist in rural Wyoming. E-mail her at [email protected]

    37 Comments

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    • Anonymous
      I am a practicing pharmacist today and I've been in a leadership position for two major drugstore chains looking after 800+ pharmacists in those roles. I have NEVER allowed any patient to racially abuse my team (nor any other type of harassment) no matter what the scenario! I am not a legal expert but racially abusing someone is an illegal offense and anyone that condones that behavior is just as big a racist as the perpetrator. In all these comments, people are missing the key point, i.e. racial abuse occurred. It is irrelevant as to what the back billing issue is and whose responsibility the insurance is! I would like to publicly apologize to this particular pharmacist for what she has suffered at the hands of a moron and would ask all professionals to support her quest to a just and appropriate response to all those out there that think that this type of abuse is warranted. IT IS NOT! I would not serve anyone that racially abuses me and would withdraw from that relationship immediately. If more pharmacists acted to stamp out this behavior then we may be taken seriously and not have to suffer. (I have friends who are physicians, lawyers, real estate brokers, businessmen, nurses and PAs and I put this scenario to them and not one of them would allow this to happen to them - think about our level of professionalism).
    • Anonymous
      Using a racial slur is not a criminal offense- I'm not sure how you came up with that. Also I find it amusing that you think your leadership role somehow gave you control over the actions of the public - unless you are physically present I'm afraid there's not much you can do in this type of situation. In my experience district managers and above seem to fall over themselves to appease rude customers, and are quick to reward bad customer behavior with gift cards etc. also- if you reread all the posts not a single post has condoned the behavior of the customer, as you are trying to claim. And the posts criticizing the author are definitely not "missing the point" - in fact the main issue is one of incompetence on the part of the author- which led to the unpleasant situation. The issue of backdating claims is extremely relevant- as it shows that the customer had a legitimate complaint which the pharmacist ignored. I agree that the customers response was inappropriate- but she was being told she would not be given a refund she was entitled to by the person in charge- that would make anyone mad I think.
    • Anonymous
      This was always my issue with working in the retail/chain pharmacy setting: we are expected to just accept being bullied/heckled/harrassed at work. I don't know of any other professional who is expected to put up with this kind of behavior - and with a smile at that! It is completely unacceptable behavior and one that I never tolerated when I worked in retail. I understand that we often have to meet patients where they are in terms of level of education, comprehension, and in some cases - courtesy. This means taking into account that patients may be tired, stressed, angry, or devastated before they even reach your pharmacy counter, and we must meet them with the patience, compassion, kindness, and care that most of the public associates with our profession. However, this is not a free pass to bully, heckle, or harrass me while I am providing you with your healthcare services. We, as pharmacists, should not tolerate abuse in this form. It isn't a matter of being thick-skinned or not, it's about respect. If someone behaves that way in any other place of business such as a bank or a physician's office, for example, they would easily be escorted out - no questions asked. The same should apply to pharmacies, but many pharmacists are so fearful of corporate management accusing them of providing 'poor customer service' that they allow bad behavior to become commonplace in their pharmacy. I don't think that we should deny patients service simply because they have hurt our feelings, but I'm pretty sure we all know where the line is, and we know when it has been crossed. Patients who have crossed the line should be informed that their behavior is unacceptable and advised to behave in a respectful manner - as we continue to help them. Failure to behave properly after being counseled to do so should then result in offering alternatives to service in your store. I've found that some (though not all) patients will respect you more if you find your courage and request the respect and courtesy you deserve. Those patients, you can actually develop a lasting bond and positive interactions with and never experience issues with them again. I've actually had patients come back and apologize TO ME for their behavior just because I let them know it was unacceptable. The remainder will continue to cause disruptions and calamity on each visit and should not be allowed to do so. Many of these types of patients thrive on the knowledge that we are required to provide 'good customer service' and bully, harrass, and degrade us because they believe it falls under the premise of "The Customer is Always Right." It is our duty as professionals to not allow this to be the case. We should not cower in fear of patients or corporate. We must walk a fine line of demanding respect and providing service to difficult and disrespectful customers. It's not always easy. Furthermore, just becasue it's 2015 doesn't mean that the N-word isn't hurtful. Even in 2015, this word and others (including the B-word, the C-word, and the F-word) are very emotionally charged and are linked to deep-seated emotions in many people. Failure to acknowledge that and empathize with someone being upset at being addressed in that way is a departure from the reality of the world in which we live. To me, this article isn't about race or a racist customer so much as the lack of respect retail - and especially chain retail - pharmacists are subject to and expected to just 'suck it up' and deal with on a daily basis. I agree, calling 911 was a little much, but that was her call. It's not what I would have done at all, but I respect it. If anything, I'm sure that woman will think twice before mouthing off at the pharmacy counter again.
    • Anonymous
      It's a shame the kids involved thought that behavior was normal. But then, if you watch television it seems to be. Maybe they saw a different side that day - I hope so. Anyway, not knowing Cindy or the people involved, I'm assuming she handled things the best way she knew how at that moment. It's not like she had time to get all these opinions before she dealt with the situation.
    • Anonymous
      I'm not sure "rebilling" would have been the answer here, as most third parties limit the time allowed for that. "Claim too old", they call it. What really amazes me is that this incident, and this issue, seems to have struck such a chord among responders. There is so much bitterness in the responses! There are rude people everywhere. I try very hard to practice live and let live, love one another, and when dealing with rude people, consider the source and do your best to handle it professionally and compassionately and then let it go. Cindy, I'm sorry for what happened to you. Rude behavior is uncalled for in any situation, no matter who you are. Lesson learned. Chalk it up to experience and grow from it. Oh, and did I mention hindsight is 20-20?
    • Anonymous
      You must not be experienced in retail pharmacy- as I have backdated claims up to a year old with no problems. In this case the pharmacist apparently didn't event try to address the customers complaint- no wonder the customer became angry. Also most of the bitterness has come from posts defending the author - I guess some people don't like to hear that they handled something incorrectly and created a bad situation. Definitely no hindsight needed!
    • Anonymous
      I'm sorry that you had to hear that. Sure, the comment is offensive; you did nothing to deserve that treatment. With that said, dealing with rude, ignorant, and mean-spirit people comes with a retail-setting job. Calling 911 in this case was a bit extreme unless you were threatened physically. Let's stop pulling the race card...it's 2015 and it's getting old! How is the N word any more offensive than the B or C word (for female)? I, myself, have been called names during my practice. I never give those types of people the time of the day because they are nobody to me. This is nothing new in the retail pharmacy setting. Instead, let's focus on important issues such as making changes to better our sinking profession.
    • Anonymous
      Wow let's stop pulling the race card??! It's 2015?!! Really?! Because clearly race relations has improved over the years so let's brush it under the rug because it's 2015 and all!!
    • Anonymous
      Oh my I'm appalled by some of the comments on here and worse yet these are alleged healthcare professionals some of whom are perpetuating racist ideals! The lack of empathy makes me cringe and I hope that they are not dealing with patients in the same manner! The first couple comments were fine but the one that ended with 'you get no sympathy from me' after explaining a situation with black customers left me shocked to say the least! The next comment literally floored me!! Where is the empathy for your fellow man? I hope to god I never have to work with people like these! But alas I probably will! Racism isn't always coming from the other side of the counter sometimes it dresses up in a white coat! Ms Cooper I won't know the exact severity of the situation nor will I stoop to calling you derogatory terms like 'lazy' or 'ignorant' and I certainly will not make excuses for the offensive people in this situation! I probably would have tried to do some retrospective billing too but I don't know your computer system so I can't assume! These is an example of the horrible part of customer service! Unfortunately it seems those verbal attacks are worse towards women and people of other races (as you can see in the comments here lol) I'm not sure what else you could have done since the manager left you there to take the abuse and things continued to escalate! If the customer didn't want to leave and the manager couldn't escort them out perhaps the cops was the only other alternative! I myself have been in situations where I've had to call the police for irate customers, it can be a frightening situation! Race and race relations is not something superiors will readily discuss so don't expect much feedback on that let alone them understanding your position! The situation became volatile but I don't think any lessons were learnt! I'm sorry you had to go through that but I can't say it won't happen again! Like someone said don't let other people's ignorance get you down!
    • Anonymous
      I have read through all of the comments and I fail to see any posts "perpetuating racist ideals". Can you give an example? Then you go on to say something about racism dressed up in a white coat- I would like to see specific examples that support this assertion. You also say the manager left the pharmacist there to take more abuse- this is not true the pharmacist clearly states that the manager pulled the customer away from the pharmacy and into an aisle. Also, I think the "lack of empathy" simply means that all retail pharmacists have to deal with angry rude insulting customers from time to time, so the authors experience really is nothing special, despite the use of a racial slur. The authors attempt to gain sympathy due to her race is annoying to those of us who deal with this sort of thing without complaint. Also I think a lot of the customers anger would have been avoided if the situation was handled properly, as others have said. And terms like lazy and ignorant may be derogatory, but what if they are accurate?
    • Anonymous
      Well the topic is the blog post but would you like to visit my job to check the validity of my claims since you would like to 'see' some examples!! Your comment lacks empathy and in pharmacy it's one of the things we learn! In fact it's not something that should be learnt but I guess in your case it is warranted! It's really no point! You don't want to display any empathy and that's fine! Also reading is fundamental! I quote, 'The clerk reached the pharmacy relatively quickly and I gave him a quick rundown of the situation. He took Betty to a nearby aisle, where she proceeded to become even more vehement about the places I should go, etc. Then she headed back to the pharmacy counter to continue her tirade. Flustered, the service desk clerk beat a hasty retreat.' Also the terms you wish to describe a fellow colleague are derogatory there is no need for that! You don't know what her computer or billing system is like and you also have no way of knowing if she had 'handled' it properly or to your liking that the unfortunate situation would have been avoided unless you are psychic as well! I honestly don't understand why you are defending the use of derogatory terms and I hope you don't do this with patients!
    • Anonymous
      Unfortunately for you I do know that all retail pharmacy systems have a way of backdating claims- it is a common feature - nice try though:) also none of the posts defend the use of a derogatory term - and now of them lack empathy as you put it- the posts merely point out the situation was mishandled without a doubt - and could have been avoided by simply using a common practice of reviling claims and issuing a refund- or at least attempting to do so. All of the posts mention that rude comments are an unfortunate occurrence when dealing with the public - it's just that most of us wouldn't think to write an article about it! In my opinion minoritirs are overly sensitive and often focus too much on issues of race
    • Anonymous
      I've been called racially derogatory terms before while working as a pharmacist. Some people resort to that when they're mad about the situation or your individual job performance. For example, if the same case happened and you had been anything other than her exact ethnic and geographic background, she would've said something derogatory about that difference. Some people are just like that unfortunately. It's not cause for calling 911, but maybe the cops in rural Wyoming have nothing better to do. Unfortunately part of working in a retail setting is dealing with rude customers. I doubt anybody really likes that aspect of the job. You just have to develop a thick skin.
    • Anonymous
      Unfortunately, dealing with rudeness is necessary when dealing with the general public. It has been my experience as a woman, that women are much more likely to be called inappropriate names and verbally abused by customers. Men are not immune from verbal abuse, but in general, customers either respect men more, or they are more intimidated by men. I follow the adage "stick and stones....but names will never hurt me." And I am not hurt by customers name-calling, I remember that many of them are sick, some have mental problems, some have dementia, and some have been the victims of poor upbringing & education. Usually when name-calling is started, there is nothing more I can do to help the customer, so I let them know that and that they can contact my supervisor if they wish (this lets them know what their next course of action should be), and continue on my work. They can leave or stand there until they get tired and leave. If they start disrupting or upsetting other patients, I will call for management back-up and at that point I let the manager handle it and call the police if needed. If a customer ever became physically threatening, I would immediately call the police. Not being in your exact situation, I'm not going to 2nd guess how you handled it (you very well may have been picking up on body language which made the simple name-calling even more threatening.)
    • Anonymous
      After 20 years in pharmacy I have learned how to respectfully and professionally be on guard to interact with the “public” to anticipate, or reverse dissatisfaction and confrontation before or as it happens. I will agree that situations and attacks as described here can happen without provocation. I too have been insulted and threatened on the job. I think what this customer said and how she treated you was flat out wrong. But as your story progressed, with my experience with pharmacy and human nature, I could see this coming a mile away. Calling 911 seems extreme unless you were facing imminent physical harm. However, here is where the real crime begins: In the aftermath, the high school grad diplomats of the store very likely felt compelled to reward this bad behavior with gift cards to compensate them for their “inconvenience”. This followed soon by a Spanish Inquisition of store managers, .district pharmacy managers, and five others up the corporate ladder that come around to ask/tell you about the situation as if you were not even part of it. The managers then respond as an advocate for the folks choosing inappropriate and anti social behavior against the pharmacist. Then the arm chair quarterbacks tell you that since they do not want to pay for the World Class Staffing that might prevent 99% of all customer dissatisfaction, you need to know that the expectation is for World Class Customer Service while they proceed to preach about what you coulda, shoulda done. This is all then documented in YOUR HR file to later be used against you.. Pharmacy morale and job satisfaction continue to swirl the drain. I am a 50 year old, caucasian, six foot tall, 220 lb former body builder pharmacist. In street clothes or out in public not a single person has ever looked at me sideways or shown me any form of disrespect or inconsideration. But the moment I step behind the Plexiglas, put on a name tag or white coat all bets are off. Strangers use fighting words and say major league inappropriate things to me that they would never say if I was out on the street. We all are forced to withstand this type of disrespect and abuse, instead of fighting against it. Over the years my staff and I have been spit at, threatened with violence, swore at, and showered with ethnic and racial slurs from every race and religion, so your situation is not unique.. We have been repeatedly harassed by those who obviously take pleasure in being bullies, either in person or as anonymous internet trolls while the store management does nothing for us. Some female co-workers have been followed home and stalked, our vehicles vandalized in the parking lot,… I’m not surprised by anything anymore. As unpleasant as this was for you chalk it up to learning experience and don’t let them bring you down to their level.
    • Anonymous
      I apologize for your maltreatment, but I must confess it's an ugly hazard of dealing directly with the public. For every time I've denied a sale for insulin syringes to a young person with needle marks all over their wrists, to the equal number of times I've had to reject a suspicious looking C2 prescription I've been called a nigger (as they raced away of course). It's just a hazard of the job. You must understand we work with people who, oftentimes, are just as vicious with people of other races before they step foot into your pharmacy - unfortunately, why on earth would that change? esp. with the new mentality that "the customer is always right". Our company recently adopted a zero policy for even perceived rudeness or maltreatment of a customer, so what are you going to do except erect your own pharmacy somewhere where you'll discover other equally trying trials and hazards. Knowledge is power though and now that you know what you're dealing with, how will you proceed? Be well.
    • Anonymous
      I cannot tell you the number of times I and fellow pharmacists have similar problems from black patients-they refuse to understand simple explanations despite repeated attempts,demand to see "supvisers" who will give the same answers.They resort to name calling and have thrown things.Do you know how many times I have heard "Go back to China mother-f@$#%r."So you get no sympathy from me.
    • Anonymous
      What happened to you was wrong as well but that does not justify your lack of empathy for an African American/black poster because you got the same treatment from black customers! I'm sorry to say but you are racist and a detriment to this profession with those ideals! It seems many of the people making comments are as well and that's a scary thought!
    • Anonymous
      I'm sorry that happened to you-- that customer's comment was out of line. Having said that, it sounds to me that her anger was coming from the fact that she had a fairly large number of previous claims that were not billed to her insurance. You say they were only $5.00 each--but I find it difficult to believe the customer would be that angry if this was the case. You should have backdated and rebilled at least a few of the claims to see if there was any savings to the customer and then issued a refund--since the old claims were billed to a discount card only there is no worry of lost reimbursement from a third party due to claim reversal. This was an opportunity for you to show her that despite her racism an African American can provide outstanding customer service as a health care professional--instead it sounds like you were focused on finishing the transaction and getting the customer out the door, without taking the time to properly resolve the issue. Ironically, your poor customer service has probably served to reinforce this individual's racism. Also--calling the police seems a bit dramatic unless she was physically threatening you. Using the "N word", although offensive, is not a crime.
    • Anonymous
      Responding to comment above...Could've, shoul've...First of all, the patient is responsible for her insurance plan and her payment method. The patient should've presented her insurance card when she got if she wanted it applied to the cost of meds, and should have been incredibly grateful that the pharmacist went out of her way to guarantee savings for the patient. Not her responsibility to begin with! We are drug specialists, and clinicians, and working retail does not mean that we lose the deserved respect as professional providers. I guess this never happened to you. The first time it does, and a patient berates you for no reason to the point where you have no escape from her irrational, hostile comments, then tell us how you responded, and how it made you feel. For the sake of your sanity and job satisfaction, I hope you never do. I'm sorry, but your comments are unwarranted and demonstrate lack of experience in all matters ugly and nasty in pharmacy.
    • Anonymous
      LOL--I am a retail pharmacist with 15 years experience. . . yes the customer should present their insurance card --but part of the job in retail involves taking care of customers--and if you find that a few months worth of claims were billed to a discount card instead of insurance the pharmacist should without question offer to make things right by rebilling/backdating those claims and issuing a refund. I personally have done this a few times even though technically the pt was at fault for not noticing the price, and not initially turning in the insurance. You say the patient berates the pharmacist for no reason--this is incorrect--the reason was the pharmacists lack of interest in fixing the old claims. This really isn't about race, but about customer service. This article should have been entitled "I was lazy and didn't feel like taking care of the customer, then the customer got mad". Regarding your assertion "this has never happened to you"--I have actually been threatened for no reason by some african-american customers--one asked if his daughter was going to have any adverse reaction to a cream--as if anyone could know that--than proceeded to state that he would "come after me" if a reaction occurred! Another came to the pharmacy reeking of marijuana and demanded that i refill an insulin rx from another pharmacy that was out of refills, and the other pharmacy was closed. He made threatening comments and acted as if his lack of responsibility was my problem. I ended up contacting an ER doctor for a refill--but I guess I should have called the police, and then written a self-pitying article for Drug Topics.
    • Anonymous
      LOL--I am a retail pharmacist with 15 years experience. . . yes the customer should present their insurance card --but part of the job in retail involves taking care of customers--and if you find that a few months worth of claims were billed to a discount card instead of insurance the pharmacist should without question offer to make things right by rebilling/backdating those claims and issuing a refund. I personally have done this a few times even though technically the pt was at fault for not noticing the price, and not initially turning in the insurance. You say the patient berates the pharmacist for no reason--this is incorrect--the reason was the pharmacists lack of interest in fixing the old claims. This really isn't about race, but about customer service. This article should have been entitled "I was lazy and didn't feel like taking care of the customer, then the customer got mad". Regarding your assertion "this has never happened to you"--I have actually been threatened for no reason by some african-american customers--one asked if his daughter was going to have any adverse reaction to a cream--as if anyone could know that--than proceeded to state that he would "come after me" if a reaction occurred! Another came to the pharmacy reeking of marijuana and demanded that i refill an insulin rx from another pharmacy that was out of refills, and the other pharmacy was closed. He made threatening comments and acted as if his lack of responsibility was my problem. I ended up contacting an ER doctor for a refill--but I guess I should have called the police, and then written a self-pitying article for Drug Topics.
    • Anonymous
      Retrospectively, it is easy to see many solutions to the problem presented. I, however, take issue with your disrespectful response to a fellow professional. Ad hominem attacks, using words such as 'lazy' then to go on about African- American customers as if to suggest by comparison there is tiered system of mistreatment by'certain' customers.IMHO this reflects more negatively on you than the poor Pharmacist trying to find an answer to her past dilemma. I posit that are many ways that the situation could have been handled, she choose the one that she felt comfortable with in that situation. I am sure that now this situation is behind her, she seems to be seeking other answers, she will prevail. You however should not discount the author's perception as it regards to race, after all it is her own.
    • Anonymous
      Again I disagree. The situation described is not a complex situation with a multitude of solutions--it is a fairly common situation familiar to anyone working in the retail setting. It is definitely not a situation where one might retrospectively come up with multiple ways of handling things. The pharmacist needed to attempt to rebill the old claims and then issue a refund--period. My assertion that she is lazy is justified--unless she was simply ignorant of how to handle the situation. Either way I have no sympathy. Also--I certainly did not "go on" about african american customers--I merely mention a couple of examples I personally had to deal with with which were much worse than the authors (I was physically threatened) and which I managed to handle without calling the police and writing a whining article. My mentioning of those examples does not at all reflect poorly on me--as you assert--in fact I mentioned them in response to the above poster saying I am inexperienced, and had never dealt with similar situations. In fact I have dealt with worse.
    • Anonymous
      So, when did the person 'ignorant of how to handle the situation' become 'lazy'? In another attempt, you continue to dismiss the Pharmacist's attempt to deal with a situation even in its aftermath.Thus her penning this article. IMHO your words 'lazy' and 'whining' are both codified racist and sexist.
    • Anonymous
      I think the previous poster just assumed that the author did know how to backdate and resubmit claims, thus he or she didn't choose to use the term "ignorant". Having talked with many pharmacists over my 10 year career, ignorant could have been applicable here. So many of us just choose to not know how to do so many of the functions in the pharmacy. I have frequently heard the expression "oh, that's tech work." My response to that has always been "you had better know how to do it. What happens when your techs are absent?" Anyway, the better description would have been "lazy and/or ignorant". As for "whining", the author of the article is whining. Just suck it up and deal with it as so many pharmacists do everyday or go work elsewhere. These are judgmental terms but not codified racist or sexist.
    • Anonymous
      ' go work elsewhere ' = ' just go back to Africa'. Language is important.
    • Anonymous
      I concur! If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Pulling the race card in 2015 will no longer get you the symphathy. Get over it or retail job is just not right for you.
    • Anonymous
      Uh, no. It equals "go work in an environment without such rude customers". That could mean another town. That could mean a hospital setting. I said that after saying "just suck it up and deal with it". Context is also important. I see you're a bit over sensitive.
    • Anonymous
      'bit over sensitive' another jab. Microagression much? And so it goes, the Pharmacist in question no longer owns her perception of the situation.
    • Anonymous
      'bit over sensitive' another jab. Microagression much? And so it goes, the Pharmacist in question no longer owns her perception of the situation.
    • Anonymous
      Considering that you started the jabs with "racist and sexist", I feel justified in using that term. As for "microaggression", you could first learn how to spell your liberal terms. You still aren't getting the point. You look at the whole thing in terms of race. The rude customer could have just as easily called her some other insulting adjectives. The point is that dealing with rude people is just part of the whole retail game. You have to learn to develop a thick skin and do your job to the best of your ability. The previous poster whom I defended pointed out that the author of this article could have backdated and resubmitted previous prescriptions so as to potentially save this customer money. She did not do so because she either did not feel like doing so (lazy) and/or did not know how to do so (ignorant). Just because those adjectives are being applied to the pharmacist in question does not mean they are "codified" racist or sexist terms. If that's the case, then just about any negative judgmental adjectives cannot be applied to females or minorities without being accused of using "codified" racist or sexist language. I agree that the customer was totally out of line in using racially derogatory language. However, that is just how some people demonstrate their rudeness. I practice in a community where whites are actually a minority group. I get called "honkey" or "gringo puta" on a regular basis, but I just keep on doing my job to the best of my ability. I don't call the police or write articles in drug topics bemoaning how I am treated while doing my job. The bottom line is that there are rude people out there of all races, sexes, sexual orientations, etc., and they all express their rudeness in different ways. What they say and how they say it may make you feel worse than it does for others, but you just have to suck it up and deal with it or find a different work environment. A trite version of what I just said would be "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen." Oh, and the use of the term kitchen is not a microaggression (with 2 g's) term to marginalize or degrade women.
    • Anonymous
      Totally pointless reply. A rant. A misspelled word in a blog????Come on!!! The author of this article is entitled to her feelings about her encounter. Responses that serve to create your 'superiority' in dealing with the situation on hand do not warrant name calling under the guise of codified racist,sexist words. Yes,'lazy','whining' - codified racist,sexist terms used in this context. Now you are on to 'liberal' and where do you go from here? I wear the description liberal proudly.
    • Anonymous
      She is entitled to her own opinion as is everyone. Her thesis is that the patient-pharmacist interaction should be a 2-way street of respect. The counter-argument, proposed by myself and others, is that it's not a 2-way street. Some patients are going to be rude. Different patients have different ways of manifesting their rudeness. If you're going to be interacting with the public, you had better develop a thick skin or you won't last long in retail. If you read what I wrote, you will see that the adjective liberal was used to describe the term "microaggression". However, since you have now owned that adjective as well, your hypocrisy is obvious. According to your logic, the terms "lazy", "whining", and "ignorant" are acceptable judgmental terms when applied to white males. However, in any other case, they are "codified" racist and/or sexist. That's just straight hypocrisy. You know which people I call lazy, whiny, and ignorant? People whom I have judged to be lazy, whiny, and ignorant, regardless of race or sex. I just don't pay attention to their demographics. I just pay attention to their job performance. If you really think that it's "codified" racist or sexist to call anyone other than white males lazy, whiny, or ignorant, then maybe you latently feel that minorities or women are lazy, whiny, or ignorant. If that's how you feel, be honest about it. I, for one, don't judge people as groups but rather as individuals.
    • Anonymous
      I'm with you on that. Drug Topics should just take this 'race' article down. I'm pretty sure that it's the same person (possibly the author) who has been responding to all the negative comments.
    • Anonymous
      Wrong!
    • Mr. SLefkow
      Which is why I could never work in a chain store. In my (independent) pharmacy I would have, at best, told her that she "is no longer welcome in this pharmacy" and that I'll transfer her records to whichever pharmacy she asks to call me. At worst, I would have told her to get her "skinny white ass" out of my drug store before I really lose my temper.