Rodney Dangerfield used to claim that “.. I don’t get any respect”


Recently, I have seen a number of bloggers posting about how they have helped people on and off the job.. I have found over the years… some 45 working in a pharmacy… there have been some interesting experiences.. some pretty simple matters and other involving life and death… As I remember, I can count on one hand … with a few fingers missing… the number of times that there was even a offer of payment… there was always a grateful thank you … but… “thank you’s”… are hard to deposit at the bank.

I even had one situation involving a attorney that used for my business and had known some 30 -40  yrs…. since we were in grade/high school together.

You would think that an attorney whose entire profession is billed by the minute… they would not consider it a insult to expect to pay for other “mental services” and or research from a professional..

I received a phone call from him one day and his son’s playmate/friend… was in a coma.. in the hospital… toxicology showed that he had consumed some heavy metal substance.. I no longer remember what the substance was… but this attorney had tried to discover where this kid may have got it.. and had come up empty handed…

He called me and see if I could help…  I am not sure how I found the information.. the internet was in its infancy and we were still using dial up modems…

The particular heavy metal was use in a pesticide at one time.. but had not been made/used for decades and it was also used in a marine paint of some sort at one time.. no other information was readily available.

I took the information down to the attorney’s office and gave him what I had found… and we discussed possibilities where the kid could have gotten into this heavy metal… I had did as much as I could.. it was up to the attorney and the parents to see if they could find out where the kid got it…

This attorney had a office in a old two story home and his office was on the second floor… as I walked down the stair case with him behind me.. he was thanking me for my efforts.. and I turned to him and said .. ” .. wait to you get the bill for my services…”.. The SHOCKED look on his face was PRICELESS… but I had made my point… and I never sent him a bill… and glad that I could contribute whatever I could to possibly help the young boy.

While most surveys indicate that Pharmacists are highly respected by the general pubic.. is that because we are willing to answer just about any questions… any time of the day… at the drop of the hat… and we don’t always even get a THANK YOU..

Just remember… FREE is a FOUR-LETTER …. “F” word…



One Response

  1. I have long complained about us giving away our expertise and services for free. There was a time that I worked for an independent and we took peoples bloodpressure….of course…for free. On one occasion, I literally saved a mans life by noting his pulse was extremely slow. He went to the doc and they did not want him to leave the office until the ambulance got there to take him to the hospital. He got a pacemaker. The doc at the hospital told him that without the discovery of his pulse being so low that he would have been dead in 3 days. By the way, he was seeing a doc regularly for his bloodpressure. The nurse just took his bloodpressure and never noticed his heart rate dropping.
    My next complaint is about otc advice. I hate giving advice on otc products. First, I see it as a liability issue. Give someone the wrong advice and you could get sued. To give professional advice, you need to know the patients medication history and medical condition. Since we don’t have access to medical records, we are essentially giving advice in the ‘dark’. Besides the inherent risks to us, we don’t get paid for our adivce! Taking time to give advice, simply takes us away from our core job of filling prescriptions. I know the concept of the kindly pharmacist helping the little old lady with a cold preparation goes back a hundred years. But, I think it is an antiquated idea and should be put into the trash can of history. The world has changed from 100 years ago and pharmacy has changed.
    And, Steve, it is like you said about the lawyer. You go to the lawyer for advice and he sends you a bill. Ok…ask for our advice and he should get a bill. If our advice does not seem important enough by people to pay us, then we should stop giving advice! As you say, a ‘thank you’ is just not sufficient. Anything in our society that has value has a monetary value. People believe that the doc’s advice and prescriptions are worth something and so they pay the doc. So, if people think our advice is really worth something, then they can pay us. I will tell you that people don’t value our advice that much. Just try tacking a price to your advice and see how much money you make! Of course, the big problem is that the patient can simply walk down the street to another pharmacy and get that advice for free. We have been idiots and continue to be idiots.
    Just like you, I can count on my fingers the number of times that I have been offered payment for my advice or help. And, yes, I will have several fingers still uncounted. I know you have heard about the ‘goodwill’ you are gaining. This is probably more true for the independent pharmacist than the chain pharmacist. That ‘goodwill’ can continue to get the independent more customers and he will make more money. The chain pharmacist gets paid a salary and in most cases that ‘goodwill’ may bring in another customer, but that does not increase the chain pharmacists salary. Beyond keeping a job, increases in the number of prescriptions you fill within a chain is just extra work without extra pay.

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