Wal-Mart Pharmacy Closed Early

June 2, 2008 at 11:05 am 65 comments

Went to a Walmart Supercenter this weekend to fill a prescription. I arrived at the pharmacy counter at 6:45 and noticed that the drop-off window was locked up for the night, but the pickup area was still open. The pharmacy hours of operation sign read Sat. 10-7.

I waited for the pharmacist to finish with another customer and then attempted to hand him the prescription. He looked and me and said, “Sorry, we’re closed”.

“WHAT?!?!?! It’s quarter till?” I replied.

“I can’t fill that now, we are closing”.

Long story short, I ended up convincing him to fill the prescription. I wouldn’t have had such an issue if I showed up at 7:05 or if the hours sign mentioned something about new prescriptions needing to be dropped off at least X minutes or hours before closing to guarantee it would be ready the same day. However, this was a case of the pharmacist not wanting to have to work a minute past 7 P.M.

My thought the whole time was, “how hard is it to count out 45 pills from one bottle and put them into a smaller bottle for me?” It was very reminiscent of Seinfeld’s pharmacist routine.


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65 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Richard  |  June 2, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Sorry to hear about your drug problem. Thanks for the Seinfeld clip.

  • 2. Ron  |  June 2, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    If you knew how much training a pharmacist has to go through, what a pharmacist has to know and be able to do, and the hassle of community practice in a busy zero-tolerance for error environment, then you might have some clue as to how hard it can sometimes be to put pills into that bottle.

    But then again, most people have no idea what pharmacists do because they can’t be bothered with taking time to understand why they take medications and why their physician doesn’t have time to educate them about their therapy.

  • 3. steveconroy  |  June 3, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Well, as it turns out I do have a few pharmacy friends and I am aware of the schooling and knowledge required.

    Sure you work in a zero-tolerance industry, but you get paid accordingly.

    If the prescription was for something where the pharmacist had to do anything other than transfer the pills, I could have been more understanding.

    Lastly, I know why I take that medicine.

    • 4. Uga2  |  August 4, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      Your problem is that you really do think that putting the medicine in the new container is all that is required. If only it were that easy! It used to be before 6000 insurance plans came along. I can fill one rx every 3 minutes if nothing goes wrong. There is a 6 in 10 chance that your rx is not covered, your coverage has changed, the person in front of you already is waiting because of both of these and, because the Pharmacist has to call an idiotic adjudication company to sort it all out, it turns 3 minutes into 30. The Pharmacist realizes that starting 15 minutes until closing might actually keep him there for 45 more minutes. When should he call it off? How long would YOU stay after closing after standing and running for 13 hours? Why must you wait until closing time to get to the Pharmacy? How about you pay cash for it and bill the insurance co yourself. That is where the real problem is. If everyone paid upfront and then billed their own insurance co it would speed up the whole conveyor belt-system. Why should the Pharmacy have to be the middle man?

      • 5. steveconroy  |  August 5, 2013 at 10:38 am

        all I wanted was some type of signage that offers the customer some information about when they will take “new” prescription orders. I wouldn’t have waited 15 minutes for the person in front of me to finish if there was a sign that said new orders need to be placed 30 minutes before closing.

        I didn’t hold onto a prescription all day and then go at 5 till closing. I went to the DR and promptly drove to the pharmacy – it just happened that my DR appointment was SHOCKINGLY running late. It wasn’t intentional.

        I like your idea of paying cash and being reimbursed by insurance after the fact. However the downside I see is that as you stated, there’s more to it than just putting pills in a bottle so you’d still need to check existing Rx’s, offer generics if the insurance company didn’t cover it (think of that mess when someone fronts $500 for some Rx that isn’t covered and then they come back to you to get a refund).

        Anyway, it’s a flawed setup any way you cut it. As a customer I was just asking for a little more transparency.

      • 6. Uga2  |  August 5, 2013 at 6:20 pm

        You said “I wouldn’t have waited 15 minutes for the person in front of me to finish if…..” That a person isn’t physically in front of you is not an indication that there isn’t already someone else trying to get their rx filled with less than 30 mins to go until closing. They probably talked the Pharmacist into it as well.
        I never, EVER go in to any other establishment for any reason if it is less than 30 mins until closing time. It is a professional and a civil courtesy. They are people too. I don’t need a special sign to know not to try a last minute
        heroic attempt. Unfortunately, ones’ true colors come out vividly when they start to think that they should always be the exception. You don’t know the bad side of human nature until you have stood on the Pharmacy side of the counter and witnessed it every single day. How about trying to be considerate the next time and you will be amazed at the prompt service you will get.
        As for paying first…… There is no downside. You pay for it; you own it; you fight with your insurance; you win your case or not……. You still own it. The next time, you will have your doctor do a little work and have them prescribe what is covered for You. Simple. I love doing the other stuff. I miss not getting to really know my customers. It is an impossibility due to having to spend so much time breaking bad news to people about their insurance not ……….. Fill in the dots! I say swipe a credit card-like card and walk away. Then, in 5 weeks, you will get an itemized bill with explanations and a 1-800 number to call. Then,I will fill any rx up ’til closing time and wish you a happy evening as we both walk out the door. Cheers!

  • 7. Keith  |  June 14, 2008 at 11:23 am

    I am a Wal-Mart pharmacist and the pharmacist you encountered was doing just what I do. Yes, the pharmacy closes at 7PM. That pharmacist has been there 10 or 12 hours with only 30 minutes off for lunch and no breaks. If he is the pharmacy manager or assistant pharmacy manager, he does not get paid after 7PM. If he is paid hourly, he faces the possibility of running into over-time, and Wal-Mart says DO NOT GO INTO OVER-TIME. They don’t want to pay overtime and they threaten the pharmacists that do run over their regular hours and get some overtime pay. Those techs have schedules that have been set 2 weeks in advance. They are suppose to leave at 7pm. Let us suppose that the pharmacy had to stay open 20 minutes latter each day. That would throw some of these techs in overtime and they would get in trouble. And, believe me, Wal-Mart keeps up with every minute! Pharmacists and techs do have a life outside of the pharmacy. Many have chidlren and they want to get home to their families.

    As far as how long it takes to fill a prescription, you don’t have a clue! If you were a new patient, the tech is required to get information about you, such as name, birthday, address, phone number, and drug allergies. This is federal law! Then, she has to scan the prescription on an image scanner. This is followed by her reading the prescription image on her computer and entering all the information on the prescription into the computer. If you just came from an emergency room, chances are that she is unable to read the docs name and may have to call the emergency room to get the docs name. If he is not in the computer, she has to search a national database for him. If she does not find him, then she has to call back to the emergency room and get information about the doc. Now, she has to deterimine if you have insurance. If you do and that information is not in the computer, then she has to get your insurance card and try to figure out how to setup the card. This is not easy! The insurance companies do not make this an easy thing to do. She has to find a bin number on the card, then she may have 20 to 40 different plans from which to pick. Sometimes it is easy to find the right one and sometimes it is not and the tech may have to phone your insurance company to get the information she needs. You did want your insurance to pay for your prescription, didn’t you? Once she gets this done, it goes to the pharmacists computer where he checks everything the tech just did. Then, the prescription information is submitted to your insurance. If everything is right about your insurance information, then the pharmacist gets a paid or rejected claim. If the drug is one of the high priced stomach drugs, antihistamines, or even certain bloodpressure medications, then your insurance may refuse to pay and send a message back to the pharmacist to tell you to contact your doctor for a change of medication or a prior authorization approval. Lets say that the insurance company does pay your claim. Now, don’t fuss at the pharmacist because they told you at work that your copay would be $5 and it is now $50 dollars. The pharmacist just submitted your claim electronically to the insurance company and their computer set the price and sent it back to the pharmacists computer and that printout you have is the price set by YOUR insurance company. I know they never told you that they had 4 teir’s of drug prices and your drug fell into the highest teir. But, hey, do like everyone else and rant and complain to the pharmacist.

    Ok, we have a paid claim and the fill information is transmitted to a filling station to an ipod like device where a tech searches for the drug on the shelf, scans the barcode on the stock bottle to make sure it is the right drug, counts the pills, puts them in the bottle, then checks to see if you have signed for non-safety tops. She places the bottle in a tote and sets it on a shelf in front of the pharmacist, along with other peoples meds that are in totes. When your prescription pops up on his screen, he opens the bottle and checks to see if the pills in the bottle matches the pill image on his computer screen. If it does, then he gets the paper printout, which tells all about your drug(and this printout takes up about half the space in the bag), tears off the receipt, and staples the receipt to the bag. The cashier/tech will then take it to the Tasco unit where she asks you for your birthday. This is very important. The birthday is a check to make sure the right patient gets the right med. Don’t complain because you have already given your birthday at the drop off window. If the rx is for a controlled substance, she is required to get a valid ID from you. That means you have to have a valid ID on you. If you left your drivers liscense in the car, then you will have to go get it. (Remember….it is already past 7PM and everyone in the pharmacy needs to be getting off the clock). She then enters your drivers liscense number in the Tasco. Then, you may are may not be required by your insurance to sign for it. After all this is done, and it is past 7pm, a CSM has probably come and taken the money from the pharmacy, and you will fuss because you have to go up front and stand in line to pay for your medication. But, it is already 20 minutes past 7pm, and the pharmacist and techs have worked passed their schedule. The pharmacist will not get paid for it, and the techs will have to leave early Friday, just when they are the busiest because you came in late with your rx.

    But, hey, to you, you just bop in just before closing time and expect to get your rx filled. The pharmacist probably already has a number of people waiting and may already be seeing that he cannot get out at 7pm. So, your one more prescription may throw him 20 to 45 minutes late leaving, along with not getting paid for the overtime and throwing the techs schedules out of whack. All you know is that it is 6:45 and all the pharmacist has to do is throw a few pills in a bottle for you.

    • 8. kim  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm

      I love you! I am a tech w/ walmart and this happens repeatedly. No one knows how much time goes into filling just 1 prescription. They think you just have to slap a label on the bottle and you’re done. There are 2 other pharmacies in our town who stay open 24 hours, but we have to stay over and hear management bitch and gripe about overtime.

      • 9. steve  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:41 pm

        Kim, you obviously didn’t read the next comment #6 where I outline my main issue.

        Walmart should implement a policy to help you guys out!

    • 10. sarah  |  August 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      well written!

  • 11. steveconroy  |  June 14, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    Here are my multiple responses to your insanely long comment:

    I was registered with that pharmacy, so nix about half of your time with insurance and new patient stuff. Also, the prescription was for penicillin, one of the most common antibiotics. Also, I was dealing directly with the pharmacist and not a tech, so another 20 lines of your argument is out the window.

    All you need to do is see my main argument above (quoted below)

    if the hours sign mentioned something about new prescriptions needing to be dropped off at least X minutes or hours before closing to guarantee it would be ready the same day.

    I would like to note that the RX was filled by 6:55.

    Welcome to the real world of work. Sometimes we have to stay late or work extra even though we don’t get paid more.

    If wal-mart won’t give you overtime, maybe you should look for another job. That’s not my fault and I shouldn’t have to hear you complain about that.

  • 12. Keith  |  June 15, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Maybe you did not read all my post. Those techs have to get off the clock or they will have to leave early on Friday to keep from running into overtime. If they should run into overtime, the pharmacist and the tech are in trouble. I suppose you expect the pharmacist to let his techs leave at 7pm and him stay late to fill your rx? What is the pharmacist to do if, while he is filling your rx and it is 7:15pm and another customer walks up with a rx? Does he fill it too? The problem we face if we don’t get out at 7pm is that this will happen every day and we will never get out on time. Suppose we work 20 or 30 minutes late every day and don’t get paid for it? What about the family at home? What about plans to attend some event? Oh…I just wonder how many people actually work late and don’t get paid? Did you know that for employees that they can sue their company if not paid for overtime? Here is the kicker…pharmacists are considered management and this does not apply to them, nor does the company have to give them breaks. How would you feel if you had been on the job for 10 to 12 hours with only a 30 minute lunch and here comes some guy with a rx, that if you fill it, it will cause you to be 20 minutes late leaving? Ok…you got out at 6:55. But, if that pharmacist had any problems, such as with your insurance, he could have easily been held over 15 or 20 minutes.

    Oh…I wrote that long reply to let anyone know that reads it what takes place in the prescription filling process. It is NOT a matter of putting a few pills in a bottle. And, since Wal-Mart will not give me overtime, I just don’t work late. When folks like you walk in the store at 6:45, I tell them Walgreens is open 24 hours. Of course, like you, they complaim and think I should stay late to fill their rx. And, like you, they don’t have a clue!

  • 13. Kozmo Kramer  |  June 15, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    TO KEITH: I was a police officer for 27 years. I am positive I was paid less than you. I rarely ate a meal on duty without having to slam it down, leave in mid meal for a call or emergency. The few times I did get to eat without interruption, it wasn’t worth the trouble because it is not enjoyable to eat in 5-10 minutes knowing that your meal might be interrupted. I missed many meals and breaks over my career due to the nature of the job.I worked holidays, midnight shifts, in the rain and snow and stood outside int he elements for hours while people like you were in a nice warm store. Did I bitch and complain the whole time? I don’t think so. This came with the job if I didn’t like it, I shouldn’t have gotten into the business. Overtime…….yep, got OT but it came at the end of 8 hour shifts and it came in 8 hour increments. So when I thought I was going home at 4 pm to see my kids and OT came along, 4 pm became midnight. Did I bitch and complain? Nope…i took it like a man and did my job. Why is it that everyone today thinks they are so entitled to everything? And can sue employers? This generation (and you write like you are one of them (needs to grow up and go to work and do the job and smile while you are doing it. You live better today than any past generation and still want to whine and bitch and ask for more. Do you have a tough job? Yep….lots of schooling, you deal with people paying a fortune for drugs and deal with sick people. You know what, this isn’t a surprise as I am sure someone filled you in about these issues ahead of time.

    In summary, give the blogger on this one a break. Communicate your policy and if it takes you 30 minutes to fill a prescription, put up a sign that says “WE CLOSE AT 7 PM, PRESCRIPTIONS CAN ONLY BE DROPPED OFF UP UNTIL 6:30 PM.” If someone questions you not filling a prescription at 6:31, point to the sign.

    ONE FINAL NOTE: 2 hours before reading all this (and posting my comment), I stopped my Walgreens and filed a “compliment” for 2 Pharmacists who did an excellent job on 3 prescriptions that were faxed in and all had problems. The Doctors wrote conflicting orders on all 3 scripts and the 2 pharmacists on duty made 4-5 phone calls to an out of town hospital and straightened out my problem in less than 5 minutes. These women went out of their way to help me and proved to me that there are still some people out there that will go out of their way to help someone because it is the RIGHT THING TO DO.

    What ever happened to WORK ETHIC????

  • 14. jeff  |  June 16, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    heres a good one for all you Wal-Mart employees. Blogger and myself included Worked fo “The Man” Wal-Mart Inc. for a total of 8 years.

    Do you think I was ever “ticked off” by the customer who entered the store at 8:29 one minute prior to closing? Heck yes I was, but I sucked it up and went about my business in my best effort to remedy the situation.

    I was a supervisor for nearly two years of that employment, and understand the Wal-Mart philosophy on payroll. Salaried positions are salary for a reason, get over the fact that today you may work an extra half hour, because odds are that you hold the high score on solitaire, minesweeper, and countless internet games played during “slow times”.

    Yes Wal-MArt is scrupulous on payroll, but guess what, I hit overtime numerous times, and when I explained the situation, my General Manager was more than understanding and either cut future hours to remedy the issue, or found room in the rest of the stores scheduled hours to recoup the loss.

    If it’s such an issue about how long it takes to fill the prescription – tell the consumer. Don’t get ticked that our understanding of your job is truely what it is, paperwork and pill pushing. Think we don’t have paperwork and mandatory tasks that sometimes push us beyond our scheduled hours?

    GET OVER IT…and as always thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart…..

  • 15. molly  |  June 18, 2008 at 12:00 am

    keith – if you really have all this stuff to do, that you cant spend an extra 20 minutes at work, how do you have the time to write what probably took you a half hour? and come back at a later date to read what others have said about you, and reply with another 10 minute answer?

    kozmo – you post on way to many blogs. get a life. oh wait, i forgot you’re retired and have way to much time on your hands, unlike our friend keith.

    blogger – i love you 🙂

  • 16. Keith  |  June 18, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    To Kramer:
    You and I entered our profession with an idea of what the job would be like. Unfortunately, the pharmacy profession changed considerably over the years that I have been a pharmacist, and it has not changed for the better. When I entered retail pharmacy, there were few chains, and I worked for independent pharmacies. I worked by the day and I worked until I had filled a prescription for that very last customer, no matter how late that might have been, and I did not complain because I knew that was the nature of the job. Also, I considered it professionalism, because I tried to take care of the ‘patient’ as best I could. I tried to do my job just the way I thought the pharmacy owner would want it done. I did relief work and I was always in demand and I never had an employer complain about me. It was easy to fill rx’s and we pharmacists could fill them quickly and get folks out the door. Lets fast foward 30 years, and pharmacy is very different. Pharmacy is dominated by big corporate chains. There is only one independent in the town where I work. It is no longer ‘easy’ to fill a rx. The insurance, medicaid, medicare, and manufacturer coupons are considerable hassle and slow the filling process to a crawl. The insurance companies and government programs are constantly rejecting to fill certain meds and if someone comes in the pharmacy with 5 prescriptions, we are doing good to be able to fill 3 of them. We are unhappy about this and so is the customer, and there are constant customer complaints. The complaints are directed at us, but we have no control over this. We pharmacists are told by our district manager to not go into overtime. My work day is usually 10 hours. If I don’t get out on time, my schedule is screwed, and I will not be able to work that 4th day and a pharmacist will be out of help. No, the DM will not let me work overtime. If the techs run over their time, they cannot work workovertime either. This is why we have to get out of the pharmacy on time. Did you know that Wal-Mart does not allow you to work off the clock, you will get fired for working off the clock. Why? Because they have gotten sued for working their employees off the clock and they are afraid of a lawsuit.

  • 17. Keith  |  June 18, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    To Jeff:

    You may have worked for Wal-Mart, but you never worked in the pharmacy. You have not been there since the implementation of the $4 generics. We are swamped with rx’s and work. The employees that have transferred from other departments to pharmacy have completely changed their attitude about pharmacy. They have learned that it is much different from what they thought it was. And, no my DM is not going to understand about me working overtime. He has told me that under no cicrumstances am I to run into overtime. I see you have no idea of the complexity and problems involved in filling rx’s. It is not just paperwork and pill pushing. Oh..I am not salaried, but hourly!

  • 18. Kozmo Kramer  |  June 18, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    TO KEITH: I respect what you do. My only purpose in responding to you was to put the blogger’s complaint into perspective. He got there 30 minutes before closing, he simply wanted to get his prescription filled. To most people, if you got to a gas station that closes at 11 pm, and get there at 10:50, you expect to be able to buy gas. If the $6 and hour clerk already recorded the pump readings, turned off the power to the pumps and started closing down, you and I would not be happy at 10:50 being told to go to another gas station. I know that simplifies what he wrote and I am not comparing you to a gas jockey. Just comparing the “being able to make purchases during business hours” aspect of the argument. Every job is more intricate that the average person can see. I could tell you stories about 4 hours of paperwork for a lousy $2 petty theft arrest, then court time, etc. Blah blah blah…I am finished with my analogies and this topic. Keep doing what you do, the world needs you and your knowledge and education. Just always remember, the next person you serve may have had the worst day of their lives and you can make it better by serving them with a smile and going the extra step to help them out.

  • 19. Keith  |  June 19, 2008 at 7:49 am

    To Molly: My DM says no overtime. If I stay 20 minutes late to help someone, this may throw me into over-time. I cannot work for free, because Wal-Mart considers this working off the clock and if caught they will fire me. I know you think Wal-Mart should not care if I just work for free, but they have been sued several times over forcing people to work off the clock. So, they just say no more working off the clock or you are fired.

    Few people here seem to realize the rules under which we work, when working for Wal-Mart. If you have any doubt, just ask any Wal-Mart employee.

  • 20. jeff  |  June 19, 2008 at 9:12 am

    here’s to asking a Wal-Mart employee….who was around during the implementation of $4 generics, thanks. Yes I didn’t work in the pharmacy, however I did know our pharmacists…

    Yes Wal-Mart steadfastly mandates not to work for free.

    Yes Wal-Mart does not LIKE to pay overtime, doesn’t mean they don’t do it when the situation warrants, I’ve seen it.

    Here’s a question for you. You work ten hour days, thus four days puts you to 40 hours. We all know a standard American week consists of 7 days. Thus 70 hours. So I ask, who covers the other 30 hours? Another Pharmacist? If so it seems to me that there are ten hours floating in there somewhere. If not, you’ve got a lot of unhappy consumers who have a 4 in 7 chance of seeing a pharmacist in their trip to local Wal-Mart…

    My last question, If there are so many issues with the industry, how claims are made, filled, approved, etc, and apparently every pharmacist and customer knows it, find a way to change it. I received my Bachelors degree in Industrial Engineering, focused on process improvement, if you’re process doesn’t funtion to your/customer standards, fix it. There are always improvements to be made….

    and if you truely have issue with the way Wal-Mart operates, go work for the independent guy – even though I’d bet you left them to make better money at Wal-Mart. Or better yet, send a message with your wallet, shop elsewhere andshow them the way they operate is not ok with you….

    and as always, thanks for shopping your neighborhood Wal-Mart

  • 21. Bob  |  June 19, 2008 at 10:07 am

    You are absolutely right. My banker doesn’t put up a sign that explains that I can’t take out a loan fifteen minutes prior to closing. Dillards department store won’t let me shop after nine, because I show up right at closing. I’m told by the banker and the department store employees that closing is in fifteen minutes and to come back tomorrow when they’ll have more time to help me.
    I’m a pharmacist and it is very frustrating when people come right at closing, which is fifteen minutes til, and expect full service. These type of people act as if they are entitled and seem to care about no ones but themselves. If it is a true emergency, and they’ve just come from an ER, I’ll gladly stay and fill it. If it is a prescription that they’ve have for days and just decided to shop Wal-Mart, I tell them it will be ready tomorrow. If they don’t like it, they can take the prescription back. It’s that simple! Explain nothing because they can’t comprehend what is actually involved in safely filling a prescription. Your are a professional and should be treated as a professional. You don’t have to take any abuse and if it starts, give them back their prescription. The Boards of Pharmacy are on our side regarding this issue.

    Wal-Mart’s four and ten dollars prescriptions have doubled our workload. The staffing, however, has remained the same. We will always be backed up and there will always be a long line of customers wanting these great savings. I compare it to one dollar gasoline. If that were to happen, you know people would wait in line for hours just to reap the benefits. I’m sure no sign would be placed telling people that if they are in line at closing, the pumps shut off. It’s just common sense.

    People should realize that Wal-Mart’s great prescription savings come with a cost. No overtime and insufficient staffing, which result in long wait times and customer service that can no longer hold your hand to help you find all your shopping needs. That’s why the prescrilptions are so cheap.

    Don’t let these uninformed people ruin your day. Stand your ground; help those that truly need help and don’t worry about the complainers that will report you to management. ” Make my day!” Be proud of the numerous customers that you’ve taken the time to help and carefully reviewed their profiles to catch drug interactions, allergies, etc.. Filling prescriptions correctly takes time. Ignore the nay sayers and keep doing a good job.


  • 22. steveconroy  |  June 19, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    This was a prescription that was written at the ER. I was at wal-mart within 30 minutes of the script being written.

  • 23. Keith  |  June 19, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    To Jeff:
    You seem to believe that I can work overtime. You are WRONG! No matter what, I cannot work overtime. I work 4 days, another pharmacist works 2 days, and another pharmacist works 1 day per week. On the days I work, these are 10 hour days. If I run over one day, I would have to come in late or not at all on another day.
    You seem to think pharmacists can solve the problems within the healthcare industry. The people with the power are the insurance companies and the PBM’s. They dominate and contro the industry and they determine what drug you will get if you are sick. Most insurances will not pay for certain drugs until the physican faxes them information about your condition and also proves that you have been tried on cheaper drugs first. If you come in the pharmacy 15 minutes before closing, and I try to fill your prescription and the insurance rejects it and says the physician will have to fill out a prior authorization form, then there is nothing I can do to get your med paid by the insurance company. This is a problem with the typical customer with insurance. They have no idea the complexity involved in getting claims paid. And, there is nothing I can do about it, it is the insurance companies that have created this complexity. A lot of insurance cards don’t even have the information we need to set them up in the computer, and we often have to call the insurance company to find out how to do it. The customer that comes in the store at the last minute, has never been there, and has an insurance card, is most likely going to cause us to be 20 minutes late if we try to get the rx filled and paid by the insurance company. We have to get all the patients information, address, birthday, allergies and etc…this is federal law and it is a safety feature to make sure we don’t fill a rx for you to which you are allergic. We have to enter all the insurance information and may have to call the insurance company and spend 10 minutes on the phone just to determine how to setup the card. You may be an industrial engineer, but you just try dealing with an insurance company.
    I worked for independents for 20 years. I only went with a chain when pharmacies computerized. It would too much trouble to try and learn several different computer systems. I doubt that Wal-Mart is any worse than any other chain.

  • 24. Keith  |  June 19, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Hi Bob,

    It is nice to come across a fellow pharmacist that understands the job. I don’t like leaving on time and leaving someone with a rx in their hand. There is a Walgreen 15 miles away that is open 24 hours. I know it is inconvienent for the patient to have to drive that far to get a rx filled, but it is inconvienent for my techs and me to stay 30 minutes late every day. And, once you start staying open latter, people come to expect it and you will always be leaving late. Most of my techs have small children and they want to get home to them, or they have baby sitters and they need to pick them up. Pharmacy hours are from 9am to 7pm. To me, that means we close at 7pm. As you say, is the bank going to stay open late for you? Is Dillards department store going to stay open late for you?
    As you say the $4 and $10 rx’s have substantially increased our workload, and we don’t have extra staffing. People will ‘pay’ for those cheap rx’s by waiting longer and in long lines. And, they need not expect much in customer service. This is just the reality of the situation.

    I don’t really rush at my job. I do work as efficiently and quickly as possible. I usually ignore the complainers. It is a no win situation to argue with them. It is sad the state that pharmacy has reached and how the insurance companies are screwing the patients and the pharmacies. The problems posed by the insurance companies, medicare and medicaid has caused undue burden on us pharmacists and a lot of problems for the patients. I believe that the insurance companies, and government programs, are the cause for the steep rise in healthcare costs.

  • 25. jeff  |  June 19, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    so, you’ve never hustled into a store a few minutes before closing to pick up a few things? I highly doubt it. I know during my 5 years with Wal-Mart Inc. EVERY night people shuffled in the door with less the n15 minutes till we closed and expected to do a full nights shopping, and guess what, many many many times that required me to stop what I was doing, retrieve a forklift from the back, enter the sales floor and obtain an item for this customer.

    Back to the main point. If you can only work during the schedule hours and it takes X minutes to fill it, do the paperwork, contact numerous doctors, obtain insurance approval etc. Post that for rx’s to be filled they must be submitted X minutes prior to the conclusion of operational business hours.

    and as far as all the technological changes that have made your job so much harder since the 80’s when you entered the field, welcome to the 21st Century. Technology makes things easier, like scanning rx’s to make sure the medication is the correct, and sometimes this technology does slow down other facits of the task.

    No doubt the gov’t programs enabling EVERYONE to medication can be part of the problem, same with insurance companies- who are reacting to the rising cost of providing a greater number of medications to a greater number of people.

  • 26. steveconroy  |  June 19, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Keith –

    It seems like the argument has really stemmed to the most extreme cases. You speak of someone who is a brand new patient who has no insurance on file, etc etc. I won’t re-type all that you have explained 4 times already in your previous comments.

    However, the initial situation was a scarcely different situation. I was on file, insurance was already set up, and I had just come from the ER.

    I get it that you have a lot of rules/regulations and your employer obviously makes it hard on you to please the customer as well as operate within the regulations they lay down.

    I still stand by my notion that if you continually get complained about from the customers for not filling Rx’s near closing time and your managers are unhappy with this complaining as well, that a simple procedure suggestion would solve the entire issue.


    Just think, you could take a page right out of the 1 hour photo center (which I think is usually right next to the pharmacy in wal-mart).

    And to BOB –

    Your banker WOULD stay to help you fill your loan because they are going to make commission on that loan. Dillards (or any other shop) doesn’t shut the door at 8:30 or even 8:50. Yes, there are announcements within stores about closing times. “We are closing in 15 minutes, please bring your final purchases to the front counter”. However, most logical store owners would let those who filter in late finish up shopping within a reasonable amount of time. Otherwise you are losing sales.

    The bottom line is that I will no longer fill any RX’s at wal-mart. There are other venues that offer the same low-cost prescriptions and will offer 100% better service.

  • 27. Keith  |  June 19, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    To: steveconroy

    Lets suppose that you came into the pharmacy where I worked, and it was 15 minutes until closing time, and that I had several rx’s which I knew would take me until closing time to get filled. Lets suppose that your information is in the computer. Now, what if I don’t know you? I am looking at someone with rx in hand and I have no idea how long it will take me to fill it. I don’t know if I have you in the computer or your insurance or if your insurance will even work. My best bet is to tell you to go to Walgreen’s which is open 24 hours.

    Now, lets look at your suggestion for a sign saying that all prescriptions must be dropped off 1 hour before closing time. I can’t put such a sign in the window! Nope! The DM would take it down when he saw it. I have no control over what signs are placed in the window. If you will notice, there are only a couple of signs. Last week a 4 year old kid pulled a gun out of her grandmothers purse and shot herself in a Sam’s Club store. The grandmother had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Sam’s Club had no notice on the door about prohibiting anyone from entering the store with a gun. Wal-Mart is the same way. They are not going to do anything that might offend a customer.

  • 28. steveconroy  |  June 20, 2008 at 11:34 am

    You are impossible.

    I’m not telling you to put the sign up, I’m telling you to suggest it as a solution to the position you’ve been placed in. You’re stuck between a rock and a hard spot between balancing hours/DM and customer satisfaction.

  • 29. Keith  |  June 21, 2008 at 8:37 am

    To steveconroy:
    So, I am impossible? Ha! Thanks! I have made several suggestions about signs in the window. Guess what? They never replied! Can you understand that I cannot just put a sign in the window? Can you understand that I would have to get approval? Can you understand that I cannot get that approval? You’re right, we pharmacists are ‘stuck between a rock and a hard spot between balancing hours/DM and customer satisfaction’. Maybe you and some other people, now, have a better understanding of why that pharmacist was reluctant to fill your prescription because it was close to closing time. The majority of people don’t have a clue about what happens in a pharmacy. They just think it is a matter of putting a few pills in a bottle. Everything involves a number of steps and several techs. Did you know that Wal-Mart’s computer system tells me which prescriptions to fill at any given time? It balances the people that are in the store, people that have phoned in their prescriptions, and phoned prescriptions from the docs. While you are standing there waiting on your prescription, I may be working on 8 or 10 prescriptions that someone phoned the pharmacy 2 hours earlier, and you are wondering why it is taking me so long. Those folks that phoned their prescriptions will be expecting them to be ready when they come into the pharmacy. Yes, you are standing there and the only person standing there. Hey..what is taking so long…all they have to do is put a few pills in a bottle? We are working on an insurance problem with someone’s prescription that is shopping in the store…we are filling prescriptions that customers have phoned… we are filling prescriptions that were called from the emergency room…we are taking phone calls from customers….we are answering questions from doctors. But, hey, you are the only customer, what is taking so long? All they have to do is put a few pills in the bottle? The insurance rejects your claim because it says there is a drug interaction between what you are getting today and that antibiotic that you got filled 4 months ago and are no longer taking and we are having to call the insurance company. But, all you know is that you are the only customer and all they have to do is put a few pills in a bottle, and why can’t they fill my prescription it is 15 minutes before closing time? They can stay late to fill my prescription…those folks back there don’t have a life anyway….they don’t have a family…they don’t have children at home waiting for them…never mind the baby sitter has to go somewhere and there is no one to pick up the kids…never mind that those pharmacists are not going to get paid to stay late…never mind they risk getting fired. And, can you get the picture? I CANNOT PUT UP A SIGN TELLING YOU THAT YOU MUST GET THERE 30 MINTUES BEFORE CLOSING TIME! I work for the biggest corporation in America and they set the rules! I have no input into what they do!!!!!!
    To anyone reading this, phone your prescription refills to the pharmacy a day early. Don’t just walk up to the window and drop off your bottles! Why? Because you will have to wait and you may have to wait much longer than you anticipated. And, if that pharmacist is reluctant to fill your prescription 15 minutes before closing time….now you know why.
    I do appreciate the opportunity to express the pharmacy side of this issue. I thank you for your comments and blog. I know that the average person has not nor really needs to know what takes place in a chain pharmacy. They should get good customer service. When they don’t, they don’t understand why. If you don’t think you got good customer service, then try to find a place where you can get it. Never make your doctor or pharmacist mad at you. Most pharmacists will go out of their way to help you. But, there are limits and constraints on what we can do and the amount of time we can spend on any one issue. This is simply the nature of the ‘beast’.

  • 30. Kozmo Kramer  |  June 21, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    COMMENT #25 –

    Whoever posts the next response to this DEAD HORSE issue……is the loser.

    24 comments is enough…..

    If you are commenter (sp?) number 26……you win the biggest loser award.

    Stubborn..Silly people !

  • 31. Kozmo Kramer  |  June 21, 2008 at 8:26 pm


  • 32. WalMart RPH  |  June 29, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Just wondering how long you had that Rx BEFORE you decided to come to the pharmacy? That (rather long) explanation by the pharmacist was right on, and you have NO IDEA what it takes to fill a Rx or any consideration for the 30 people ahead of you that the pharmacist (and staff) just had to go through the entire set of scenarios with insurance issues, calling the ERs, etc and just NOW they are getting to counting out the pills. You are an example of what I call the self interested narcissist patient who thinks it is truly AAT – all about them. Work in a pharmacy for just even 3 days, and see what you think.

  • 33. steveconroy  |  June 29, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    walMart RPH – Please read all comments before posting. In specific, see comment #16 to answer your question.

  • 34. Kozmo Kramer  |  June 29, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    To WalMart RPH Commenter #26 – Please refer to #24 and #25,,,,,,,,for you have won the BIGGEST LOSER AWARD for beating this dead horse into oblivion.

    Discussed, argued, talked about, ditto, etc, again and again….blah blah blah…..and you win the award.

  • 35. allen kayem  |  July 8, 2008 at 1:09 am

    To all commenters, and Steve in particular: My suggestion is that if you are not satisfied with what you are told by the pharmacist regarding the amount of time it should take to fill the prerscription, go and be admitted to a pharmcy school- if you are bright enough- spend a hundred thousand dollars in getting the requisite degree and pharmacist license then find a job that meets your particular inadequacies and fill your own prescription-if you can find the time and not have to pay yourself overtime.

  • 36. jared  |  July 8, 2008 at 11:20 am

    You won’t do what allen suggested!

  • 37. steveconroy  |  July 8, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Allen –

    I like how you assume I’m some poorly educated or even dumb person. Your suggestion makes no sense. If you car mechanic told you that it was going to take a month to rotate your tires, would you just sit back and say “well, he’s the professional who went to school to fix cars” and wait a month? Would you go take classes to learn how to do the job yourself? No.

  • 38. spencer  |  July 17, 2008 at 12:56 am

    To All,

    My wife is a Wal-Mart Rph and frankly I am getting a little tired of her comming almost every night on the verge of tears at the amount of abuse she receives from customer. It is not her fault the insurance only covers certain scripts for certain amounts. It is not her fault that she is only allowed to work a set amount of hours. Its not her fault she is bound by laws, regulations and company policies.

    Since Wal-Mart introduced the $4.00 script her work load has increase over 100% without increasing the staffing. She recently had a woman call her every name you could think of because she had to pay a 58 cent co-pay on a script. I don’t think that a day goes by that a customer doesn’t threaten legal action if they don’t get what they want.

    Customers have made it all but impossible for her to do her job and after thirty years as a pharmacist she is very seriously considering leaving phamacy all together for a new line of work.

    You want your script filled correctly, you want it cheap and you want it now. A pharmacy is not like a Burger King. Some of you may say “just hire more Pharmacist’s” but the simple fact is when prosective phamacy students find out what is happening in the real world most change majors or choose different careers. More are leaving the field than are comming in–I wonder why!!!!!!!

  • 39. jjbacik  |  July 17, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Alright, well switching to a story relevant to the actual point trying to made here, I was in a Huntington the other day filling out a deposit ticket. Above the little “paperwork” station was a green sign that said something to the effects of, ‘we only accept customers at the banking desk until 4:30 in order to ensure the customer’s needs are met before the end of the day.’

    That is all we ask.

    I will definitely be sending you a picture message the next time i go there.

  • 40. spencer  |  July 18, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Your right, we should get back to the point, but you must also look at the big picture as well. Putting up a sign would be the right thing to do, but how would you suggest changing the policy at a company the size of Wal-Mart? You would have to change it at the corporate level and implement it chain-wide. I don’t think Wal-Mart, or any other business for that matter, would buy into the idea that they would be losing time and money by effectively closing early.

    The other Pharmacists in this dicussion will back me up on this one: You will always have someone come to the window at closing time, sign or no sign, and will tell you that they have a “real 911” and that they can’t go without their prescription till morning. That is not to say there are real emergencies that do happen, but for the most part these people simply blew off refilling their prescription until the last moment. I don’t think there is a Pharmicist out there that is not caring enough to help someone who is in real need. Some people will tell you anything to get what they want and these are usually the one that wait to the last moment.

  • 41. Kozmo Kramer  |  July 19, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Allen – # 29 …..you are retarded.

    Jared – #30 …..you are correct

    Spencer – #32 ….Before she sheds another tear, do this. Get out a scale. One one side is her 80K (or more) salary. On the other side of the scale is the tears. Which side is heavier…..? The salary – then she stays…..The tears….she goes.

    #34 – Spencer ….If Wal Mart is unchangeable and not worth the trouble, go to another pharmacy. People change jobs all the time. Go to another employer (since there is such a pharmacist shortage) apply, and then be happy.

    To anyone that says $4 prescriptions are the worse thing that ever happened, you are insane or worth a million bucks and could care less about the average person.

    To everyone who has commented after #25, re-read #24 and #28 (including me, I just read them again to remind me that I too don’t have a life and love to debate things until I am red in the face.

  • 42. Sherri  |  July 21, 2008 at 1:12 am

    I work at a Walmart Vision Center and we get the same attitudes, people coming in at closing time for eyeglass repairs, customers wanting us to call their insurance companies to find out what their benefits are. It is the same way in Vision, we are not allowed the OT. We have to manage our schedules very carefully. And, the VC managers are included, as they are no longer salaried, but hourly. Customers are just as nasty in Vision as in the other departments. They bring us eyeglasses from other opticals as well as Medicaid glasses and want us to work miracles on fixing broken eyeglasses that are beyond help. Then there are the contact lens wearers, who are the worst of the worst. They try to bully us into filling expired rx’s, they threaten us, curse at us, and call us names when we inform them it is against the law to fill an expired rx. They alter the dates on their rx’s, too! I have been a licensed optician for about 20 years and I have heard it all, and people continue to get worse, and more demanding. They want what they want and they want it yesterday. They think we are losers because we work at WalMart, but I am here by choice, as most of the other opticals continue to close down and go out of business. I have much more job security with WalMart and I really enjoy my patients, most of them!

  • 43. spencer  |  July 21, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    To: Kozmo Kramer

    First, if you would have read the comment completely, I said “Wal-Mart or any other company. It would be all but impossible to change any of them.” She could change pharmacys, but what good would it do jumping from the frying pan into the fire? Same big corporate issues no matter where you go.

    Secondly, are you suggesting the more money someone makes the more abuse they should take???

    As a manager of a large manufacturing plant, if I found ANY of my employees talking to someone as customers do to those in the service industry I would termiate them on the spot. There is no reason for it. IT IS ABUSE, NOTHING MORE AND NOTHING LESS!

  • 44. Kozmo Kramer  |  July 21, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    To Spencer: In response to your statement/question – “Secondly, are you suggesting the more money someone makes the more abuse they should take???”….

    My point was, if you make $5 and hour and get abused, you move on. If you make $50 an hour, you grow some thick skin and put up with it. If you can’t deal with it, you move on. You aren’t being paid more to put up with more, but somehow the almighty dollar does make most people tolerate things a little better.

    Here is what has killed me about all 37 of these postings….

    I was a Police Officer for 27 years (refer to Comment #7 above) . I dealt with people day in and day out that for the most never wanted to see me. Tickets, accidents, questionings, arrests, etc. I cost people money on an average of about half of my daily contacts (all for good reasons, to prevent accidents, injuries and deaths). I was polite to everyone. The 75 year old ladies that ran red lights and were ticketed were treated as nicely as the scumbags that would come into our city and commit crimes.

    My point is this……I was happy doing what I did because I treated everyone with respect and how I would have wanted to have been treated in the same situation. In 27 years, I couldn’t have accumulated all of the complaints that I have read on this posting about how nasty people are to deal with. I rarely if ever took verbal or physical abuse in my position and never gave it to anyone either. Today, i am glad I chose the profession I did because all of you make it sound like being a pharmacist is the most difficult profession mainly because of the people you have to deal with, the insurance companies and your employers (mainly Wal Mart).

    Seriously, I couldn’t fill the space it took for 3 of you to comment here, stating all of the abuse I took on the job the past 27 years and I was in the top 10% of active officers in our Department year in and year out.

    Let’s all stop and thank God we have a job, get paid, have health insurance and be a little tolerant of other people. What you all perceive as a meaningless 15 minute before closing time prescription fill is probably the most important thing in that customer’s life at that moment in time. Better yet, imagine that “pain in the ass” person that just walked in 15 minutes before closing is your 85 year old grandmother. If that can’t help you, nothing can.

  • 45. Ciaran  |  September 16, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    I am a pharmacist and have worked many retail positions. I do know that it is a tough situation to be in as an employee who is micro managed on the timeclock. However I do know that as a pharmacist retail or not you are in the business of healthcare. note the “care” part. Thus, you should be there to help regardless if you leave. If you are a few minutes late. Who cares really. All in all Walmart wants customers/business. So if you can make a customer happy then Walmart is happy. What bugs me though is the whole closing up 15 min early. Honestly that is kind of lame. Every retail pharmacy that I have worked at has conducted business while we closed leaving one window open as you do until closing time. Never was there any kind of restriction as to filling prescriptions. All in all it sounds like you should find another pharmacy. Walgreens 24 hours perhaps.

  • 46. fuzz  |  October 5, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Well boohoo too you. Its funny how when you walk into the hairdresser or doctors office, they will turn you away on the same circumstances. Unfortunately, that’s how the service industry runs. If something like even throwing pills in a bottle may take them past closing then they can refuse…don’t be a baby. Also, to sit there and make your little blog on this subject shows your ignorance and the amount of time you have on your hands…next time, instead of wasting time on writing this crap, go early to your pharmacy so they can give you your pills!

  • 47. steveconroy  |  October 5, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Fuzz –

    Hairdresser requires an appointment – not a valid comparison (and if it’s one of those places like Great Clips, they;ll gladly cut your hair even if you walk in 10 minutes till closing).

    Doctors also requires an appointment, so I don’t find that valid either.

    In regards to your ‘wasting time’ comment – if you see comment #16, the prescription was written at the EMERGENCY ROOM and needed to be filled immediately.

    How does writing a blog post show ignorance?

    Nothing you wrote makes sense

  • 48. jjbacik  |  October 6, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Yea Steve you should really look into getting an actual job! I can’t believe you created an entire blog to just complain about wal-mart pharmacy.

    Oh yea, you do have a job and you do have 50+ other posts on this blog. Maybe your time would be better spent reading other people’s blogs and only commenting to say stop whining because that’s pretty constructive.

  • 49. just helping  |  October 27, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    As a walmart employe NO OVERTIME is the golden rule I got a write up over .01 overtime It only cost them $.02, but they look at that if they had to pay everyone .02 it would cost a fourtune next time it will be a D-Day. Then next my job. So much for doing the right thing and practing custmer service. Please think could custmer service cost the associate helping you thier job. it;s a job in a bad ecomny so like it or lump it you just take. By the way I’m a pharmacy associate to and we’ve closed our window 14 minutes early to because of being backed up.

  • 50. Outside Observer  |  November 3, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    For Commentor #40……..Mr. Fuzz,

    We used to call people like you….”Fuzz-nuts”

    go figure…

  • 51. Husky  |  November 12, 2008 at 5:02 am

    I work in a retail pharmacy in Singapore. I make it a point to start packing up 5 min before closing and make a dash to the exit once the clock strikes six. Why?

    One joker comes in at 5:57, tells you he needs to grab something and go. But proceeds to ask another questions as you are preparing his stuff. In the meantime, another customer comes in at 6:00. You are done at say 6:05. Then what, you have to serve the next guy cos he has bee in queue for 5 min. And the situation repeats itself. On one occassion, this chain carried on 5x. I left at 6:45…

    What I am trying to say is. Your time is precious. Granted. But damn it. My time is precious too!

  • 52. jeff  |  November 12, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    hey husky,

    nobody said your time wasn’t precious….if you read the total blog and all responses, the subject is that the situation could be avoided by placing a policy or statement of a “drop-off” time required to fill a prescription day of. Just because you “close” aka lock the doors at 6, doesnt mean that you’re getting out the door at 6. Call me crazy, but if you know it takes 15 minutes to close up, be prepared to leave at 6:15 and lock the door at 6. If your boss doesnt get it (i know wal-mart is tougher aka impossible) tell him to change the stick-on numbers on the door from 6 to 5:45 for closing….

    otherwise, prepare to enjoy much more of your precious time, as customers will go elsewhere and you’ll be out a customer, maybe a job….

  • 53. Keith  |  November 27, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    What seems “logical” to you and what seems logical to most people may not be logical to the folks at the home office of Wal-Mart. Pharmacists are just employees, not much different than all the other people that work at Wal-Mart. Pharmacists and techs have a life beyond Wal-Mart. Pharmacists have commitments after closing time. Techs have babies at baby sitters. Techs like to go home and be with their children after being gone all day. What do you think a pharmacist or tech gets for staying past closing time? Regular pay. If the pharmacist has run over his 40 hours for the week, he gets in trouble and threats from the DM. No, pharmacists and techs will not get anything extra, not even praise for a job well done. You have no idea how many of those people that come up to the window near closing time have had that rx for a week or more. I had a lady complaining because I would not stay late and fill her rx for a skin cream, which she had been holding for 3 months. And, there are the typical “dope heads” coming from the emergency. If we stay late every day, people come to expect it and they start coming at closing time knowing they can still get their bloodpressure medication refilled, despite them being able to wait until the next day. No, I cannot put up a sign telling people we will no longer take prescriptions if it is 15 minutes before closing time. If I kept trying to put such a sign in the window, I would eventually be fired. You are thinking too “logically”. Wal-Mart is not about “logic”, not about “fairness”, it is all about “policy”.

  • 54. Steve  |  December 31, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    If your that upset about the pharmacist not filling your prescription, why don’t you take your business elsewhere. I’m sure that pharmacist won’t miss your business. Most people that get their presciptions filled at walmart are cheap. You get what you pay for.

  • 55. K-man  |  January 8, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Food for thought on this hot topic…………….

    Dec 10, 2008 — Robots now filling some prescriptions
    Certain pharmacies in New England are now using robots to fill prescriptions!

    The Boston Globe reports that 1.5 million people are harmed every year by getting the wrong prescription. Think about it: Handwritten scripts can easily be misread by the pharmacist, and pharmacists themselves are overworked and may inadvertently make an error when filling a script.

    Automated machines, however, eliminate the chance of human error. They can be programmed to dispense up to 200 of the most commonly filled scripts, according to the article, at a rate of 134 scripts/hour. That’s more than 2 scripts a minute, and it frees up pharmacists to do more face-to-face consultations with their customers.


    How will this effect all that has been written on this topic on this website??

  • 56. Ashley N  |  January 13, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I work for a pharmacy. If you would have complained to Corporate about this situation the pharmacist would be in jeopardy of losing his/her job. They will pay overtime instead of ticking off customers. We are to not turn down anyone preceding our closing time, and if a sick child comes along, that is grounds for staying late.

    In regards to the person that said machines eliminates errors… um not really. The tech still has to type in the prescription for the “robot” to read, and then fill. I work with a robot that fills over 400 medications stored within. The biggest problems from there are:

    1. The tech “miss filling” the robot (after all, it doesn’t fill itself)
    2. The tech typing in the wrong prescription and the robot filling the then wrong prescription causing the whole process to be done again.

    Per the last message “Automated machines, however, eliminate the chance of human error. They can be programmed to dispense up to 200 of the most commonly filled scripts, according to the article, at a rate of 134 scripts/hour. That’s more than 2 scripts a minute, and it frees up pharmacists to do more face-to-face consultations with their customers.

    –this only frees the 3 minutes involved with counting. Nothing else (typing, checking, labeling, counseling, check out). So, you basically save 1 minute, and if you are a fast counter like me, you probably would have already had the tablets counted out while you are waiting on the robot to warm up.

    Now I will admit, ppl always assume “it’s just 45 tablets… put it in the bottle and I will get out of here.” The problem is the 30 +other prescriptions waiting to be filled ahead of your 45 tablets…not to mention the phones ringing off the hook, Doctors on hold and insurance problems that only the staff can fix….and there is always the annoying customers that find it convenient to always stop at the counter and ask where the toilet paper is.

    Just a tid-bit…Enjoy!

    P.S. maybe if the pharmacist would have said, we close at 7 and have a waiting time until then, but we would be more than willing to fill your prescription first thing in the morning!

    I realize some of these ppl work in a pharmacy and it sounds like they have been doing it too long. Yes, there are days I want to tell ppl to screw off, but then again, this is my job. If I don’t like it, I can find something else.

  • 57. K-man  |  January 14, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Ashley…you are one of the few pharmacists that have replied on this blog that appears to have a heart, some compassion, and a touch of common sense. I posted the robot article straight from an article posted by Clark Howard (radio talk show host) just to make the point that insensitive people (like many of the people above that have posted here) who think they can’t be replaced……CAN BE!

  • 58. Ashley N  |  January 14, 2009 at 10:55 am

    I am just a tech! Know one really knows who does all of the work in a pharmacy for such LITTLE pay!… FYI.. it’s the techs! We do everything except for the final check and the obvious counseling that may be involved. So, I 100% believe it takes a tech to understand all of this.

    I am also with Walgreens, a pharmacy that has 24 hour stores, and the stores that are not 24 hours, close at 10pm. What does this mean? They put customers ahead of their own employees needs. It is just something people in this field need to get used to.

  • 59. K-man  |  January 15, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Ashley, I have to tell you. Walgreens is the only pharmacy where I went back and asked for the manager. Nope..this isn’t a bad story! I asked her to pass on a compliment after I had a great experience with 2 of her Pharmacists/Techs..not sure which. I went in to pick up 3 prescriptions for my daughter who was home from college to see her specialist. He wrote the 3 scripts, they called them into Walgreens and several hours later we went in to pick them up. There were problems with all 3. My daughter was leaving for school in 4 hours and she had to have the medicine to take with her. (One cost $1400 a month for 1 shot every 2 weeks). Anyway, I was convinced that the 3 problems would mean disaster, but after about 5-6 calls and 10 minutes of their persistence, all the problems were resolved and we had all 3 prescriptions. Very impressive work for 2 very busy people. Bottom Line – Hats off to Walgreen’s Pharmacy for this excellent experience. (I Hope my visit to the manager paid off for the 2 employees and I hope the info I passed along got to the people who deserved the praise).

  • 60. Ashley N  |  January 16, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    People like you (and the thank-you’s that you give) are what keep us going!

  • 61. mina  |  May 11, 2010 at 1:58 am

    I don’t understand why people are so angry when Pharmacist tell them that their prescription can’t be filled because it’s 15min before closing and he still working on 2 customers. please come back tomorrow or to another 24hrs pharmacy.
    Will they get so angry when they run to the doctor’s office 15 mins before the office is closed and the doctor told them last appointment is 20min before closing?? and the doctor tells you to go to the emergency room at the hospital or come back tomorrow.

    The problem is no one respect pharmacists or have any clues the work involved in med dispensing. They only respect doctors. It’s sad because the doctor charge you lots of money just to talk to you for 5 mins while you ask tons of questions to the pharmacist and not get charged for.

    It’s almost universal that pharmacists don’t get overtime pay anywhere eventhough they stayed overtime every night working because some inconsiderate people hand in their prescription 5 mins before closing. They think pharmacists don’t have other responsibility like being a mother or father to their children. That is child negligence. You go to jail for that.

    I blame largely to board of pharmacy. They should make it into law that last prescription must be hand in 30mins before closing time. It should be required by law a sign must be posted at each pharmacy. I think us pharmacist should get lawyers to sue the government for not allowing such law.

    We spend over one hundred forty thousands dollar getting the pharmacy degree in a 7 years college program to study pharmacy, and all we get is disrespect and force to put our family second every night not getting home on time or picking up our kids from daycare on time. This is not a good career for life. The people who plan to spend the money and time to study pharmacy…..think twice!

  • 62. Johnny  |  September 30, 2011 at 1:07 am

    My advice to walmart slave employees (falsely called associates) and customers is to LEAVE the company. Most good workers end up leaving the company because they figure out that everyday low prices end up being paid for by the hard workers. The slackoff employees stay and don’t complain because they are too stupid to know they are indentured servants to the beast of Bentonville. Customers come seeking those promised low prices and expect this unattainable stellar service. Maybe if the customer had a brain he would have saved additional time by going somewhere else to get the prescription rather than moan about not getting his/her prescription in a timeframe that he feels is adequate. So you just keep thinking that you are gonna get good service at walmart, you stooge!

  • 63. peekee1155  |  July 24, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Here is an interesting concept. If you don’t have the drug, the prescription can’t be filled. Stop trying to explain rocket science to the rocket. It is incapable of understanding.

    Last minute prescription fills (after a 10 hour shift with or without technical assistance) is at tremendously increased risk of involving a prescription error. Protect the patient from harm, use your professional judgement and convey to the customer that the drug is not available at this time. The 24-hour store around the corner has staffing and inventory levels to SAFELY support 24-hour full service.

    Stop being the reason the script can’t be filled. Let the reason be something you have no control over. Afterall, every pharmacy is on a tight drug budget and by closing time the inventory levels are at their lowest point.

    This really isn’t rocket science. It’s just human nature.

    Lastly, I am very confident that a 27 year veteran police officer would be highly offended if a pharmacist tried to tell him how to manage the nuances of his job. The only difference is, HE WOULDN’T TRY TO EXPLAIN ROCKET SCIENCE TO THE ROCKET. First responders receive dedicated training in human nature and would have given a response that prevented the disagreement. AND THE ROCKET (in the case of the pharmacist telling the police how to do his job) WOULD HAVE BEEN NONE THE WISER.

    Let’s take a lesson from their training in human nature.

  • 64. Barbara Smith  |  March 8, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    came to walk Walmart to get a prescription to you waited 30 minutes for the lunch break to be over then was informed that the cashiers send out or couldn’t log in and now there’s another 30 minutes late I mean my time in the other customers times are just as important is there a time and the attitude that they have them how they’re sitting up here just laughing about it its not fun I was at 109th and Doty road in Chicago at 1:30 in the afternoon on Sunday

  • 65. Jason  |  August 21, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Ummm it takes 30 minutes to fill it properly. Unless you want other drugs in your meds. Their not dropping fries their saving lives. And the pharmacy is the one you need to thank. He’s the one who stops your doctor for killing you if something is prescribed wrong.


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