There is a Walgreens on every other corner in San Francisco – and I actually stopped at four different locations today on my way home from the doctor’s. I needed a prescription filled – a common and readily-available antibiotic. First stop: “Twenty minutes.” Second stop: “Twenty minutes.” Third stop: “Half an hour.” Final stop: “Twenty minutes.”
Really? It takes a minimum of twenty minutes to take some pills out of a big bottle, put them into a smaller bottle and slap on a label? I can think of no reason why this process should take more than five minutes – or 60 seconds for that matter. And yes, I understand that you have other prescriptions to fill. But when I’m the only person in the pharmacy and I’ve got a prescription in my hand, couldn’t you maybe shake a leg or something?
And what exactly is the pharmacist doing back there? While I’m standing at the counter being studiously ignored, the only thing I’m sure of (other than the fact that I have apparently turned invisible) is that no pills are being moved from the big bottle to the small bottle – for me or anyone else. I mean, I realize that there’s probably more to being a pharmacist than getting a bottle off of a shelf… Actually, that’s not true – I really don’t know why it requires specialized training to count pills… But at any rate, it’s not like I was trying to get some interferon or methadone. Just toss me handful of antibiotics and I’ll be on my way…
They’d never get away with this at any other type of establishment that engages in retail sales. “Hi, I’d like a pound of ground pork and a couple of New Yorks.” “OK, what time would you like to pick those up? We can have them ready in half an hour…”
Once I’d dropped off my prescription and returned after the prescribed (heh) twenty minutes, the line for pick-up is five people deep – and the woman at the counter is arguing about coverage for her controlled substance, while some pushy dame is interrupting, demanding to know if the Walgreens-branded “Wal-y Hot” is the same as Icy-Hot. When it was pointed out to her that the pharmacist was, in fact, assisting someone and that there was a line of four other people, she flounced off indignantly.
Customer number two needed some sort of diabetic supply for which he didn’t have a prescription – so that transaction went along just as smoothly and quickly as one would imagine… Especially with the highly-detailed explanation of the $5.00 off coupon that register spit out after he’d paid. It required the attention of the both the pharmacist and the cashier, who engaged in a spirited debate as to whether or not dairy products would be eligible for the discount… And, no, this was not because any dairy products were being purchased. They just had to know, man…
Anyway, twenty minutes later (ironically enough), I finally emerged. And the best part of all? I can’t drink any alcohol during my five-day course of treatment. Hooray!