Monday, June 30, 2014

"Oh... I also need my..."

These are words your pharmacist doesn't want to hear AT THE REGISTER.

It's bad enough that you call during a busy time of the day to rattle off what prescriptions you need to refill despite being able to use an app, the Internet, or our automated system. Sometimes during those voice calls (when we could actually be filling scripts for people who were organized enough to request them ahead of time) you'll be about ready to hang up then you say it...

"Oh... I also need my..."

And that's ok. We'd much rather have it then that AT THE REGISTER.

But then there's some people... YOU know who you are, that wait until 5:30pm when there's a line of people waiting to pick up their prescriptions on the way home. YOU, the epitome of organization and politeness, will wait UNTIL the transaction is OVER... and then we hear it...

"Oh, I also need my..."


If I suggest you go do some shopping and then come back and get it later, you get mad. If I don't jump right to it, you stand there, blankly staring at me. If I dare suggest that maybe it was something YOU should have thought about before, you'll complain and get a gift card. This is a NO WIN scenario for the pharmacist. If we don't hop to it you're upset. If we do it, the other people in line behind you get upset.

So, like Kirk in Star Trek, I want to change the conditions...


Saturday, June 28, 2014

What Happened to People?

When I was young, if I had interrupted my father having a conversation with someone, he would have smacked me. When I was in grade school, we were taught to "wait your turn" at the water fountain and lunch line. And we learned to wait our turn with politeness.

What the hell happened to basic manners?

Yesterday I'm talking to a lady as I'm typing in a prescription for her mother who just left the hospital. I'm asking questions and listening to her answers intently. Some old dude (at least 70) comes up, interrupts us, and asks where we have the Miralax.

"I'll be happy to help you, AFTER I'm done helping THIS lady," I replied.

"Just tell me where the Miralax is?!" the old dude says, louder, and with anger.

"I'm helping this lady right now," I said. "I'll be with you in a moment."

I'm floored. What on earth happened to "wait your turn" and basic politeness. I was brought up NEVER to act that way. Certainly this old dude had the same manners taught to him as a child. Did he just forget all his manners? Or does he think he's entitled to forgo manners at his age? I'm really stumped. I have a lot of younger Medicaid patients with a really horrible sense of entitlement, but now it appears this "me first" attitude stretches into all generations? 

And now for the worst part of all... because of the company I work for, I'm actually MORE worried about getting a customer complaint and a warning from The Authorities when I clearly did nothing wrong. That's how bad it has become at Goofmart Pharmacy.

Friday, June 27, 2014

I Want One!

I should have been an engineer. Apparently they have lots of time to screw around and make stuff like this.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ok, I've Had Enough

Last night my 13 year old son compelled me to watch an episode of "My Cat From Hell." In case you're not aware of the show, here's info from Wikipedia:

My Cat from Hell is an American reality television series that airs on Animal Planet and premiered in May 2011. It stars Jackson Galaxy, a cat behaviorist by morning — and a musician by night — who visits the homes of cat owners in order to resolve conflicts or behavior issues between the owners and their cats or between pets.

The series will return for a 16-episode fifth season in early 2014.[1] Jackson Galaxy believes that he can help any "problem cat"—provided that its human guardians follow the advice he provides—and that most behavioral problems result either from triggers in the cat's environment or from mishandling of the cat by humans.

Watching the show, this quickly turned into My Hour of Hell. Jackson Galaxy has no special skills or abilities other than pointing out the incredibly obvious to blank cat owners. For the first part of the episode, we were treated to the story of a cat suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from being left in a burning house. Apparently the cat owners were completely unaware that this would have an effect on the kitty? Really? Duh... 

The second part of the episode showed an older feline that started to hide herself away on top of the refrigerator. The owners didn't know why. But thanks to the amazing skills and insight of Mr. Galaxy, he quickly determined that the cat was being bullied by two dogs living in the house. After some training with the dogs and creating a place for the kitty to feel safe in the living room, all was well again. Simply amazing insight!

Has television become so poor that we need shows to point out to us the blatantly obvious? Seriously, have we sunk that low? And who are these dim bulb cat parents that can't see the forest for the trees? Do the producers really have to dig deep to find them or are they out there... everywhere... and voting? Gosh, I just shuddered.

And now for the best part... it's not enough that Jackson Galaxy is rolling in the dough from his TV show... he also has a line of natural medications for pets... to treat the conditions he magically ascertains on his TV show. In the one episode I watched, Mr. Galaxy introduced his "Spirit Essence" called "Trauma Free" to treat animals with PTSD. 

So what's in Trauma Free? From the website: 

Product Ingredients: This remedy contains natural spring water, alcohol (as a preservative), Essence of Full Color Spectrum, Reiki Energy, our own gem infusion and the following essences:, , From Flower Essence Society Healing Herbs (Bach Flower Equivalent): Pine, Star of Bethlehem, Water Violet, Wild Rose. From Flower Essence Society: Arnica, Echinacea, Evening Primrose, Love-Lies-Bleeding, , From Rocky Mountain Essences: Heartleaf Arnica, Lodgepole Pine, Twisted Pine, , From Pacific Essences: Diatoms, Snowberry, , From Watersong Sanctuary: Orange Flowers, Prickly Pear Cactus, , From Aum Himalaya Essences: Swallow Wart, , From Kuau'i Starmen Essences: Avocado, Canna Lily, Haha, , From Green Hope farm: Crinum Lily, Dill, Russian Sage, Uncarina Grandidieri

Oh my gosh, Spank me silly in Sedona... what a load of crap. And at $23.95 per bottle, people are out there buying this stuff. So that's it, I've had enough! No more being the nice friendly pharmacist with a huge school loan and bonafide pharmacy degree. NO MORE! I'm going to spend the rest of my days developing some crazy nonsense to sell to stupid people. I can't beat 'em, so I'm joining them. I want to grow a weird beard and drive around in a pink Cadillac.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How to Drive the Business to Goofmart!

The RPM was by a couple of weeks ago. Remember my blog post about how The Authorities ran out of ideas? Well he was here to discuss it. 

Despite the fact I was filling prescriptions for a waiting patient, I had to stop to go over the numbers with the RPM. Mind you, I'm not the pharmacy manager. I'm the staff pharmacist. But the pharmacy manager said Mr. RPM should talk to me because I'm the "one with ideas." (That was the pharmacy manager's way of getting the RPM out of his hair for the day)

So here we are, while patients are waiting, looking at this year's numbers compared to last year. Sales are actually up but our bottom line is down because the cost of the drugs went up more than sales went up. We talked about this and it appears The Authorities are completely aware of this. Sales are up but they're not happy. Instead of trying to find a way to lower costs... he asked:

"What's your ideas, Crazy RxMan, on how to drive more business to this pharmacy?"

We're in a well-established neighborhood. We have a competitor across the street, one in our parking lot, two competitors less than three miles away, and a bunch within a ten miles radius. We're in the big city. There is a lot of competition and not a lot we can do. We play the gift card game, the competitor plays it back and the only thing that's gained is cash in the patient's pocket. 

For the most part, the only new business we get is from people that move into the neighborhood or a transfer from a competitor because they're angry. I told Mr. RPM when either happens we're all over it to make sure we keep the business. Other than that, most people are pretty happy with where they are now. Some may not like one competitor, but they have that oh-so-inviting drive thru. We can't compete with that.

There's not a lot we can do.

I told him that the biggest problem is that our grocery store is slower than the other grocery competitor. At any one time there's three times as many cars parked in their lot compared to ours. The reason why is they have lower prices. I said, "If you can get Goofmart to lower our grocery prices, we'll get more people into the grocery and we can get their pharmacy business."

Mr. RPM just looked at me. Then he changed the subject. He wants to go after an old folks home close by. He wants me to go over and talk to the people there about getting their prescription business.

He's the new RPM and not aware we've been over there twice in the last year. They already have contracts with our competitor. I have no negotiating power with the company, at all, but I'm supposed to go over and negotiate a new contract?

I told the RPM about a couple of other ideas, but he seemed focused on the old folks home. That's probably what The Authorities have decided is their best course of action to obtain new business: Let's send the non-sales-trained STAFF pharmacist to go over there and negotiate a contract without anything to negotiate with. That will drive business! 

Goofmart Pharmacy ~ Ignoring the best way to increase the bottom line by going after obscure business opportunities with untrained staff with no negotiating power!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Join me in my Dream


Imagine there's no pharmacy
It's easy if you try
No hell at Goofmart
Above us only sky
Imagine all the pharmacists
Living for today...

Imagine there's no insurance
It isn't hard to do
No prescription to overcharge or deny for
And no prior authorizations too
Imagine all the patients
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no prescriptions
I wonder if you can
No need for refills or patient lies
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the pharmacists
Getting a lunchbreak in all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Monday, June 23, 2014

Advice for Patients about MONDAYS

Dear Patients,

Let's talk about Mondays.

Monday is NOT the day for you to go to the pharmacy. Monday is not the day for you to request your refill. Monday is not the day for you to come anywhere near the pharmacy? No, we're not "slow" on Monday and busy on the weekends. The opposite is true.

Monday is THE busiest day
of the week for all pharmacies. 

1. At most pharmacies there hasn't been a delivery of medication since Friday. 

We're going to get a big order on Monday. That takes time to check and get shelved. 

2. We have a bunch of partials (prescriptions that we didn't have a full quantity of product and dispensed a few tablets) from the weekend that get filled on Monday after the order arrives.

3. Things we didn't have in stock over the weekend get filled Monday morning after the order arrives.

4. People requested refills from their doctor over the weekend... those requests don't get seen by the doctor until Monday morning and those prescriptions that get approved get sent over to the pharmacy on Monday morning.

5. Few doctors keep weekend hours, and most of those doctors try to see all their patients on Monday morning. That means about 10am they're going to flood the pharmacy with their new prescriptions. 

6. Most people start their work week on Monday and one of the first things they do is request refills for all their medications. Oh, they could have done it over the weekend but they were too busy grilling.

7. For some reason people think we're closed on Saturday and Sunday. So they show up on Monday.

So, dear Patient, please stay away from the pharmacy on Monday. Don't call or come by unless you really need to. Call in your refills on Saturday or Sunday. If you just have to see your doctor on Monday, bring your prescription by the pharmacy on Tuesday or later in the week. We're plenty busy at the pharmacy on Monday. We're about a nine on the tension scale Monday morning. Wait times are longer on Monday. 

Make your life easier and our life easier: