Abandoned Carts

One of the things that baffles me is randomly abandoned carts in stores. Seriously, what happened? My best working theory at the moment is people are being randomly raptured. I’ll let you guys decide. In all seriousness though lets examine the two most common situations that I see in most retail situations.

The rarer of the two being the cart abandoned in the midst of the store that’s full of stuff. Not to be mistaken with the cart of items an employee is picking to be removed from the sales floor for a variety of reasons. Those items normally look like they belong on the isle of misfit toys. I’m talking about the cart full of carefully chosen goods just left adrift in the aisle. If something serious happens just drop the cart off at the register and tell them you have an emergency and need to leave otherwise your just being a jerk.

At the end of the day its not the big a deal. Just add the items to the litany of things the employees have to put on the shelves. One caveat here though. Don’t leave frozen items sitting. Left out long enough and you have something that ranges from a ruined product to a possible mess all over the ground.

The more common occurrence and more confusing of the two is the randomly abandoned empty shopping cart. I’m sure I could again say an emergency happened and the person needed to beat feet out of the store, but what is it to just tote it back to the front of the store and throw it back into the corral. I see the carts randomly left throughout the stores sometimes and wonder why it was left. Did the person say, “screw it, I don’t want to shop here anymore” and storm out? I also feel like it should be flipped over and a smoking hull of its former self. Something akin to a scene from Mad Max. Perhaps I have said too much at this point.



Reusable Shopping Bags

I think reusable shopping bags are an awesome idea. They are one of the most green things I can think of. Less trees being cut down to make the paper ones and less crude oil product being processed to make the plastic ones. With that being said there is a right way and wrong way to use them. The rest of this BLOG stems from an incident that happened in the pharmacy today.

Let me begin by saying that the “shopping” part in “reusable shopping bag” is a little misleading. That thought is kind of neither here nor there, but for my two cents it’s worth mentioning.

When you are shopping in any store one does not walk around choosing their items and placing them in the reusable shopping bag your brought with you. Most stores will provide a shopping basket of some kind or in some clothing stores their own in store use mesh reusable bags. In the case of my pharmacy we provide standard size baskets, slightly larger come along baskets (see pull handle), and the smaller sized carts for your shopping convenience. Your probably asking what’s the point?

My point is to use the shopping baskets, bags, carts provided by the store so that we don’t think your are stealing. We have enough issues to deal with already this is one that shouldn’t just exist. You may think your doing us a solid by leaving the basket behind for the next person, but your not. You just created a security issue. I also promise that not every single shopping apparatus will be in use at the same time.

Normally I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it however the person who was questioned by a member of management decided to get their mother involved. The problem here is that said person is most likely my age (30) and instead of trying to have a rational conversation themselves is having mommy fight their nonexistent battle. I’m sure this isn’t the end of this saga so I’ll post an update as I come across more info.


So I found out that the parents of this said individual made a much bigger deal out of this than needed be. I’m fairly certain that a certain amount of lying was also done as well. The member of management in question here did apologize. ( Of their own free will, but in my opinion it wasn’t warranted.) They were also refunded their purchase and money was donated in their name to a charitable organization of their choosing. I know this is really nothing at the end of the day, but I don’t find this ok. For lack of a better thought on it, it is an unwarranted punishment.

And Your Grand Total Is…

If you remember that part from Supermarket Sweep then you most likely had an awesome childhood like me and enjoyed watching that game show. Give yourself a bro five and keep reading.

When your at the register I’m going to assume you are in a hurry much like the person manning the register wants to get you the hell out of there because there is either a line of people or there are a bakers dozen of other tasks to complete before the shift is over. However, please wait to be told your total before trying to give a form of payment.

Firstly, despite how advanced some of the cash registers are they are still computers and depending on the network they are hooked up to it may take a beat or two before the payment part of the transaction can be completed. Please don’t try and swipe, tap, or insert your credit/debit card mid transaction. In most instances there is going to be something that undoes or prevents the actual processing of the card. Just have it ready in your hand and then use when instructed/prompted to.

Second, please don’t try and hand us cash while we trying to get to the point where we can take it and put said money in the register. Again, wait for the total to be announced. Please get your money out and ready to hand over when asked for it, especially if you know you are going to have to dig for it, but standing there with the money essentially being shoved at us isn’t going to make the register close the transaction any quicker or the draw pop open any sooner for that manner. When it is done to me in the pharmacy I will take and promptly place money on the counter because I am not ready to receive it. (I have had a couple people pick it back and try to hand it to me again at which point they are informed I wasn’t ready to take it and need to wait for the register.)

Again, all parties involved are generally interested in completing the sale quickly, but most of us running the register want it done correctly as well too. At my location we do have the best touch screen register available, but even they can be overly sensitive. So yes, we are going to take an extra couple of seconds to avoid a headache. Just take those extra couple of seconds to ponder the meaning of life.

Tis the Season

No, no it isn’t. The pharmacy I work at has begun the process of bringing the Christmas items out for display and sale. I like Christmas about as much as the next person, but we need to put the brakes on the early start to holiday seasons. The first frost hasn’t even hit yet and corporate is going to start shoving Christmas down everyone’s throat. Before I dive head deep into this issue let’s rewind the year a bit.

About a week after the fourth of July back to school stuff started popping up everywhere. The kids are barely out of school a month and we are going to remind them its right around the corner. I could see that going well.

I never really took a lot of notice to it before, but after having more than a decades experience working in a retail pharmacy setting I have picked up on the store fronts trend to kick off “seasons” earlier each year. Let me illustrate my point further, as soon as the initial back to school items had cleared the shelves Christmas items arrive with the replenishment order. I’m all for being prepped for future events, but that stuff could have sat in the warehouse until later this year.

The early start nonsense really does need to stop or just be adjusted to a more reasonable time of the year. The frenzy for Christmas some people experience is truly mind boggling sometimes and having it appear early doesn’t help.

I’m not trying to throw Christmas under the bus here, but due to corporation’s desire to squeeze every last penny out of people during this time of year it becomes the biggest offender. Just for sanity’s sake lets worry about the holiday that’s going to happen in a couple of weeks rather than a couple of months.

Get It Together

As I’ve stated before, there are no real emergencies that occur in retail pharmacies. It is normally a lack of preparation on the part of the patient. However, since most of us have corporate masters to answer to we play along for the most part.

Heading into the July 4th holiday weekend a lot of people are choosing to take an extended holiday break away from my general area. Fantastic for you people that are doing so and I applaud all the people who have been getting their needs together early on so as to not be at the pharmacy last second trying to get something filled and their flight leaves in two hours. Even had one patient come in and tell me they are here for a early refill and low and behold they called ahead to their insurance and got the override codes for us. (I damn near hugged them.)

If you have not gotten your whatever filled early by now get it together tomorrow people. It is the last day before the holiday that we will have access to all the resources necessary to get your medication filled in a timely fashion. Once it hits July 3rd all bets are off. Doctors offices are going to be closed and I doubt any on call MD is going to have mercy on you. Only about a third of insurance companies are going to be available to help resolve things too. Also, let’s not forget about the independents.

My guess is most will still be open on the 3rd because it is a Friday, but when its the 4th and its the weekend you are SOL. Please don’t ask the kind folk in the chain stores for a transfer. We are legally bound to speak to a pharmacist in which the transfer is coming from. If you aren’t responsible enough to have the refill taken care before they are closed then honestly, tough shit. The only reason you stepped foot into my place is because of your inability to act like an adult. If it truly is that much of an emergency go to an ER. There is too much risk to assume on our part to just hand you a couple of pills.

Pharmacy Emergencies

In a retail pharmacy there are no real emergencies in terms of patient prescriptions. We do try our best to fill your prescription(s) as quickly and safely as possible. We are always going to err on the side of safety over speed because what we do effects your health.

The corporate powers that be would like us to have a turn around time of 15 minutes on three or less prescriptions. The clock starts from initial scan entry and ends at pharmacist verification. It is achievable, but a lot of factors have to line up all at once. Lately, though, patients have been not accepting of that 15 minute time window. I know part of it is a lack of understanding, but God damn people I’m sure you wouldn’t want a surgeon rushing through a heart valve replacement. The pharmacy is in the same boat considering we are giving you something that you will most likely ingest in order to become more healthy or maintain your health.

There has been a time or two in the past where I had to remind people this wasn’t (insert fast food restaurant here). I haven’t reached that point yet and that’s because I haven’t heard the “can’t you just throw the pills in a bottle and slap a label on it yet”. I’m normally good for one of these per quarter.

I will acknowledge we get prescriptions from emergency rooms, but again it does not constitute an emergency situation. The ER docs and nurses have stabilized, diagnosed, and treated you to the point where you can leave the ER. I can sympathize the want to quickly fill the prescription and get home to rest, but don’t think for one second acting likes its life or death if we don’t fill the med quickly is ok. I have and will ask you if you need me to call for medical help if your behavior is as such.

If you as the patient are experiencing a true medical emergency we should be the last place you turn to for help. They have these things called hospitals with an entire department dedicated to such care. It’s called the emergency room for a reason. There are also these things called ambulances that will transport you there. I will also point out that for something that may not be life threatening, but can’t wait to see you regular doctor there are urgent care centers popping up all over the place.