Meeeemories ... like the drugs I used to fiiind ...
Do you remember the friendly neighborhood drug store? We used to call them drug stores, because that’s where we went to get makeup, toothbrushes, Hershey Bars and drugs. But, then that “someone” with nothing better to do decided people might think they could buy makeup, toothbrushes, Hershey Bars, and DRUGS there, and changed the name to Pharmacy.
Most folks go to large, well-known pharmacies now, such as Rite-Aid, Target, Walmart or CVS (which, while at their prescription counter, stands for Considering Violent Screaming).
Regardless of who your personal drug-supplier of choice is, it’s usually a benevolent trip, right? I know I’ve always enjoyed going. I got to know the layout of the store pretty well, and could whip in there, get shampoo, greeting cards, a wrist brace, mascara, a prescription, a Hershey Bar and a Diet Coke in under 10 minutes.
Now, however, that same “someone” has decided to “refurbish” the store, and now I sometimes wander aimlessly for hours looking for a bottle of Vitamin C. Like a dog whose water bowl has been moved, I keep going back to where it used to be, standing there staring at poison-ivy creams and whimpering, until someone gently leads me to the new vitamin location.
Why can’t people stand to leave anything alone? The minute a store becomes settled, familiar, comfortable, and we’re spending lots of time – and money – there, you can bet “someone” is going to yell, “Hey! Why don’t we completely change everything for NO APPARENT REASON!”
And what’s going on at the prescription counter, people? They used to hand you your medicine and say, “Good luck with that rash, Ms. Wentz!” Then they started asking for my birth date. This is NEVER a good idea with a woman, but now, everywhere you go, people are asking for your birth date, like it’s a magic key that unlocks everything you need at the pharmacy, and without it, your access is CLOSED.
Then came the “privacy” freaks.
“Ms. Wentz, please read this. It explains your privacy rights. Sign and date it, have it notarized and return it in duplicate, along with your firstborn child and the chin hair of a newt, or we’ll tell everybody in town about your rash.”
Please. Anyone in cyberspace can peruse the intimate details of my life, from my peri-menopause symptoms to the three pieces of cake I MAY have sneaked out of the cafeteria yesterday. Letting folks know I have a rash is small potatoes.
The next “enhancements” were signs saying, “Please allow customers privacy while at the prescription counter” and they drew a white line on the floor, behind which those in line must stand to grant their fellow drug-buyers privacy. Of course, when it’s time, some Pharmacist Barbie will ask, “MS. WENTZ, WHAT IS YOUR BIRTH DATE?” in a voice so loud they could hear it in Uruguay. I’m not that concerned about keeping my rash hush-hush, but my age is between me and my minister, and everyone knows he lies.
Then came the little wall. About two feet tall and three feet long, cutting the prescription counter in half, ensuring that two customers at the counter at the same time will not be able to glance over and see the other’s purchases. Like I give two hoots if Jezebel Jones needs liver pills. I HAVE A LIFE!
Now, on one side of this wall there is nothing on the counter as far as the eye can see. And, no one uses this side at all, EVER! On the other side, we have a bolted-down credit card machine that only works on days beginning with G, an immoveable display of diabetes supplies, and a Detroit-sized cash register -- this is where they want to do your transactions, but Pharmacist Barbie can barely slide you your medication. God forbid you should need something large, like a prescription gas mask or a head splint. They’d have to lob it over!
And, if you don’t have cash or a card, you’re pretty much screwed unless you can balance on one foot while writing a check on your other knee. You could sneak over to the other side, but then another customer might walk up and find out you have a rash, and you could sue the store for millions and go to Tahiti with all your rash money!
If you’re trying to buy additional stuff, you’ll be forced to set it on the other side of the wall, and the lady will have to scurry back and forth to ring it all up, which is entertaining, but also annoying if you want to get home before the troops in Afghanistan.
Could we all just get a grip about this privacy stuff? And, to steal what the late President Reagan said to Mr. Gorbachev – Mr. Pharmacist, tear down this wall!
Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker. Readers may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting her website at www.vickiwentz.com.