How do you deal with customers in retail that yell at you?

quartel

Mitte 1 home prn
10+ Year Member
Apr 13, 2007
178
1
Status
Pharmacy Student
I went to a local pharmacy today and there was one PIC with a long waiting line of customers. A women in her late 30's. for reasons unknown to me, decided to make a huge scene for the rest of us to watch. The pharmacist came to the front to try to comfort her but she told him to ____ himself and stormed off with her medicine.

Now obviously it's best to avoid or prevent these types of situation before it happens but if and when it does happen, how do you deal ?
 

All4MyDaughter

SDN Mommystrator
Moderator Emeritus
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
May 7, 2005
22,784
335
Ivory Tower
Status
Pharmacist
If someone is just irate or unhappy, I try to talk to them to ascertain the problem and see what we can do to fix it. If they are truly out of control, yelling and cursing, I'll ask them once to please calm down and if they don't, I walk away. If they continue to make a scene, call security.
 

ethyl

Go suck on a Zoloft.
10+ Year Member
Dec 3, 2004
904
24
Status
Pharmacist
The moment they cuss at me or a technician, I tell them we do not tolerate being verbally abused and we're denying them service. They must take their business elsewhere and must leave or the police will be called on them for tresspassing. I say all of this with a cold stone face and when they continue to throw their temper tantrum I tell them "this is your last warning to leave". Then I call the police and instruct my techs not to talk to the person.

If they're yelling and unhappy without cussing at us, we just have to take it.
 

MountainPharmD

custodiunt illud simplex
10+ Year Member
Aug 15, 2004
4,567
323
Status
Pharmacist
It is so sad but this happens several times a week. Two things happen when someone walks into a pharmacy. First they lose their mind and then their IQ drops 50 points. For some people a 50-point drop in IQ makes them about as smart as a box of rocks.

It seems in society today manners and how to act in pubic have been completely forgotten. People constantly jabber on their cell phone no matter what they are doing. People are rude and inconsiderate and think they are the most important person in the whole world. The outrageous behavior I see on a daily basis by idiot customers is an embarrassing statement about our society.

As the Pharmacy Manager I get to deal with these type of situations all the time. I tell my techs to remove themselves from a bad situation as soon as possible. They do not get paid enough to get verbally abused by idiot customers. If the customers is just loud I do my best to calm they down, solve the problem and get them on thier way as fast as possible. If there is any type of profanitiy the converstaion is over. I have banned several people from using my pharmacy because of bad behavior. Hell two weeks ago we had to call the police because a customer was violent and verbally abusive. The bottom line is I treat people with respect. If they cannot show myself or my staff the same respect they I am done with them.
 
Mar 12, 2010
62
0
Texas
Status
Pharmacist
It is so sad but this happens several times a week. Two things happen when someone walks into a pharmacy. First they lose their mind and then their IQ drops 50 points. For some people a 50-point drop in IQ makes them about as smart as a box of rocks.

It seems in society today manners and how to act in pubic have been completely forgotten. People constantly jabber on their cell phone no matter what they are doing. People are rude and inconsiderate and think they are the most important person in the whole world. The outrageous behavior I see on a daily basis by idiot customers is an embarrassing statement about our society.

As the Pharmacy Manager I get to deal with these type of situations all the time. I tell my techs to remove themselves from a bad situation as soon as possible. They do not get paid enough to get verbally abused by idiot customers. If the customers is just loud I do my best to calm they down, solve the problem and get them on thier way as fast as possible. If there is any type of profanitiy the converstaion is over. I have banned several people from using my pharmacy because of bad behavior. Hell two weeks ago we had to call the police because a customer was violent and verbally abusive. The bottom line is I treat people with respect. If they cannot show myself or my staff the same respect they I am done with them.
I agree 100% with everything you just said.........well said!:highfive:
 

owlegrad

Uncontrollable Sarcasm Machine
Staff member
Administrator
10+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2009
21,742
6,519
Locked in the basement
www.facebook.com
Status
Pharmacist
I went to a local pharmacy today and there was one PIC with a long waiting line of customers. A women in her late 30's. for reasons unknown to me, decided to make a huge scene for the rest of us to watch. The pharmacist came to the front to try to comfort her but she told him to ____ himself and stormed off with her medicine.

Now obviously it's best to avoid or prevent these types of situation before it happens but if and when it does happen, how do you deal ?
I agree with what others have said. Ask them once to calm down. If they don't tell them to leave. I have never had to call the police, but I wouldn't hesitate if I thought it was necessary.

There are a few tricks that have worked for me. These do not apply to out of control people, just the ones who are in general rude. Thankfully truly out of control people are pretty rare.

As soon as you see it coming remind them you are trying to help them. Don't set up an adversarial type interaction from the start. An once of prevention, right?

I will let them cuss at me one time. As soon as it happens I tell them we are a family store and if they use that language again they will have to leave. This usually works.

Basically just be cool, calm, and try to get them out as fast as possible. Do NOT let them abuse you. If they won't behave send them on their way.
 

coffee4drug

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 7, 2005
129
2
Status
Pharmacist
I had a customer who once got mad at me and started to disgrace himself by raising his voice. I asked, "Are you okay? Do you need some water?". He seemed surprised and did not know what to say anymore.

I only wish I could use that on every angry customer. '"sigh"
 

rph3664

7+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2010
2,464
365
Status
Pharmacist
At my last retail job, telling someone to leave or not come back was a firing offense. :mad: We rarely had people using profanity, but we still were sometimes tempted to put up a sign that said, "ABUSING THE STAFF WILL NOT RESULT IN LOWER PRICES."
 
Jul 12, 2009
679
2
Status
simple, i tell them I wont serve them until they calm down

the abuse the techs take is awful, not worth it for the 8.50 they make
 

hckyplyr

My fighting days are over
10+ Year Member
Apr 2, 2008
265
35
Status
Medical Student
It seems in society today manners and how to act in pubic have been completely forgotten. People constantly jabber on their cell phone no matter what they are doing.
My pharmacy manager had alittle fun with the cell phone folks. He bought a cell phone signal scrambler (its illegal, ya so what) for about $20 bucks. So everytime someone comes up to the counter and continues to talk on their phone and be rude, one of us hits the "on" button, and bam, they lose their signal. Its hard not to laugh when all of a sudden they are like, "hello, helloooo, can you hear me.....ugh....this phone sucks, I lost the call"
 

spacecowgirl

in the bee-loud glade
15+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2004
2,519
536
Innisfree
Status
Pharmacist
the abuse the techs take is awful, not worth it for the 8.50 they make
Agreed. I tell techs when I do float work that I will handle any irate customer because they shouldn't have to. No one should have to, but especially not for just above minimum wage.

Usually I just say "I'm sorry we aren't able to meet your expectations, where would you like me to transfer your prescriptions" as I have the phone waiting in hand to call wherever. that usually stops them dead because they want someone to placate them regardless of what a giant jerk they are being and when that doesn't happen, they are shocked. and those people always come back, every stinking month. They never leave!

I have zero tolerance for abuse in the pharmacy. There are exceptions of course and I'm willing to try to understand but once you are being rude just to hear yourself complain, that's it. Again though, I only do float work.
 

owlegrad

Uncontrollable Sarcasm Machine
Staff member
Administrator
10+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2009
21,742
6,519
Locked in the basement
www.facebook.com
Status
Pharmacist
My boss used to start yelling himself when he got yelled at. Personally, when someone starts yelling, I start being sarcastic and troll them until they leave.
Both excellent ways of escalating a bad situation.
 

ucrx

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
May 23, 2007
576
7
Connecticut
Status
Pharmacist
When I first got a job in a pharmacy, my boss told me to always remember that most of the customers are sick or taking care of sick people. It helped me keep from letting things get to me. I would try to talk to the person calmly and see why they were upset and what I could do to help. Just making that attempt usually helped because they weren't thinking straight or were mad at someone else and didn't mean to be taking it out on the pharmacist/tech/intern. If that didn't help, I would either try to just do the work and ignore it (not ignore them) or tell them they would have to come back when calm or take their business elsewhere. The method depended on how rude they were and if it was a customer who was loyal to our store and maybe was just having a bad day.

It didn't always work, but it definitely helped.
 

ttopping

UB Class of 2011
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 18, 2008
229
1
Rochester, NY
Status
Pharmacist
When I first got a job in a pharmacy, my boss told me to always remember that most of the customers are sick or taking care of sick people. It helped me keep from letting things get to me. I would try to talk to the person calmly and see why they were upset and what I could do to help. Just making that attempt usually helped because they weren't thinking straight or were mad at someone else and didn't mean to be taking it out on the pharmacist/tech/intern. If that didn't help, I would either try to just do the work and ignore it (not ignore them) or tell them they would have to come back when calm or take their business elsewhere. The method depended on how rude they were and if it was a customer who was loyal to our store and maybe was just having a bad day.

It didn't always work, but it definitely helped.
I totally agree, good way of thinking about it. Another thing is to try and look at things from the patients perspective. They get mad because in their eyes, something wasn't done right, something was screwed up, and you're the pharmacy, you have the meds, you obviously did it. On our side, we get frustrated because they certainly don't understand what's going on behind the counter and everything that goes into (and can go wrong with) prescriptions. Sometimes its like talking to a brick wall because there's no way to fully make them understand so it's best to try and calm them down and fix the situation. Obviously some people cross the line of being angry and there's only so much you can do about that...

We had a guy last week who actually had his gf cornered right outside the pharmacy counter yelling at her about something (let's just say my store right now isn't in the best part of town). The pharmacist tried to simply ask they take it outside but then it turned on him, and needless to say, some harsh language was thrown back in the pharmacists face. Security was called over and that was that. Super exciting...

Some lady had called in for a few refills that her husband was going to pick up, and asked if that with her order I could grab some miralax and glycerin suppositories that her doctor told her to take for constipation. So, not really thinking about it I said sure (we usually are ok with this if it's 1 or 2 things, obviously not going to go shopping for someone) and grabbed a small bottle of glycerin suppositories and rite aid PEG to save some money. Now yes, I should have asked if she meant brand miralax (and oh yea, she did, and she let me know it on the phone later...) but there's really no way of explaining to her why I thought she wanted to save some money and why I went to the generic when she said miralax (miralax is easy to remember and say, but it's all the same to me...not so much to others). So I obviously apologized and let her say what she needed to say, I tried to explain on my end but to no avail, she exchanged the product and that was that. Sorry for doing your shopping for you...
 

owlegrad

Uncontrollable Sarcasm Machine
Staff member
Administrator
10+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2009
21,742
6,519
Locked in the basement
www.facebook.com
Status
Pharmacist
Once someone starts yelling, I have no interest in calming them down. I just want them to leave and not come back.
Niether yelling nor being sarcastic will make them leave any faster, on the contrary you are making the situation worse. You can believe anything you want with regards to how people should treat you, but the only way to diffuse the situation is to remain calm and deal with the situation at hand.

If you want them to leave and not come back, tell them to leave and not come back. Being sarcastic is not going to accomplish either of those things and will only make it harder to deal with the person.
 

pharm B

Phar Noir
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 12, 2008
8,759
578
Out to Pasture
Status
Pharmacist
When I first got a job in a pharmacy, my boss told me to always remember that most of the customers are sick or taking care of sick people. It helped me keep from letting things get to me. I would try to talk to the person calmly and see why they were upset and what I could do to help. Just making that attempt usually helped because they weren't thinking straight or were mad at someone else and didn't mean to be taking it out on the pharmacist/tech/intern.
I had the exact same thing explained to me after my first bad patient experience. It definitely helps you to mentally step back and assess the seriousness of the situation. Normally, for me it boiled down to "she's pissed she has to pay $6, and I'm out of here in two hours."

I've never been the deathly-sweet kinda guy, so I can't honestly say "just out-nice them," but I would say remaining calm tends to disarm them. If they come in with a temper tantrum, just waiting it out usually seems to calm them down.

Do NOT troll the crap out of them, as that only makes it so much worse! You'll just upgrade a firecracker to a MOAB.

Jeez, Sparda, you kill me some times. :smuggrin:
 

SHC1984

Membership Revoked
Removed
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 1, 2007
6,105
20
Atlanta, GA
Status
Pharmacy Student
Once someone starts yelling, I have no interest in calming them down. I just want them to leave and not come back.
When people start yelling, I am always calm and I just ingore them. I always try my best to get people their drugs and get them out ASAP, no matter who it is...if a person starts yelling, I do the same thing...I try to get their drugs and get them out ASAP. I do not ever say anything else.

I remember a woman came in one day with a box of Clartin D and started yelling " you guys are a RIP OFF, this box of Clartin D is half the price at Costco!!!! you guys are a bunch of CHEATERS, trying to RIP ME OFF!!!! you guys SUCK! blah blah blah blah." I didn't say anything, I just took her box, process the return, and give her her money back. I didn't say a word at all and I usually don't talk when I work. But man, what a trashy woman! :laugh: People that complain over a few dollars are crazy!
 

rxlea

Almost a unicorn
Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2009
13,248
198
Status
Pharmacist
Reflecting response. Sometimes x2. Never say you are sorry unless you did something wrong.

Patient: I HAVE BEEN WAITING 30 MINUTES FOR MY DAMN VICODIN!!! CAN'T YOU HURRY UP ALREADY? HOW MANY MINUTES DOES IT TAKE YOU PEOPLE TO PUT PILLS IN A BOTTLE?
Me: I can see that you are upset
Patient: YES I AM UPSET. CAN'T YOU SEE THAT I AM IN PAIN???
Me: Yes, and I am going to have your medication ready very soon.
Patient: WELL, WHAT IS SOON? an HOUR?? A DAY??? I DON'T HAVE ALL ****ING DAY TO SIT HERE.
Me: Yes, and we are very limited on our help and we are doing what we can, but I assure you, we will have your med out very soon.

Reflecting response + "Yes, and..." is the way to go. Some of my classmates have tried it and it seems to work. The fourth years use it in their rotations and it works (so I've heard). I did something sort of like that when I worked retail and it worked most of the time (unless the patient was high, drunk, or mentally unstable).
 

owlegrad

Uncontrollable Sarcasm Machine
Staff member
Administrator
10+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2009
21,742
6,519
Locked in the basement
www.facebook.com
Status
Pharmacist
Reflecting response. Sometimes x2. Never say you are sorry unless you did something wrong.

Patient: I HAVE BEEN WAITING 30 MINUTES FOR MY DAMN VICODIN!!! CAN'T YOU HURRY UP ALREADY? HOW MANY MINUTES DOES IT TAKE YOU PEOPLE TO PUT PILLS IN A BOTTLE?
Me: I can see that you are upset
Patient: YES I AM UPSET. CAN'T YOU SEE THAT I AM IN PAIN???
Me: Yes, and I am going to have your medication ready very soon.
Patient: WELL, WHAT IS SOON? an HOUR?? A DAY??? I DON'T HAVE ALL ****ING DAY TO SIT HERE.
Me: Yes, and we are very limited on our help and we are doing what we can, but I assure you, we will have your med out very soon.

Reflecting response + "Yes, and..." is the way to go. Some of my classmates have tried it and it seems to work. The fourth years use it in their rotations and it works (so I've heard). I did something sort of like that when I worked retail and it worked most of the time (unless the patient was high, drunk, or mentally unstable).
I am curious what the aversion to sorry is? I mean I basically agree with your post, but I don't know what the problem with "sorry" is. Heck, I probably over-use (abuse?) the word.
 

Sparda29

En Taro Adun
10+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2008
9,047
1,053
32
New York, New York
Status
Pharmacist
The Sparda Response

Patient: I HAVE BEEN WAITING 30 MINUTES FOR MY DAMN VICODIN!!! CAN'T YOU HURRY UP ALREADY? HOW MANY MINUTES DOES IT TAKE YOU PEOPLE TO PUT PILLS IN A BOTTLE?
Me: Hurry up? Want me to rush and make a mistake on this or would you rather wait and get the right stuff? Every time you ask me how much longer is it going to take, it will take longer.
Patient: YES I AM UPSET. CAN'T YOU SEE THAT I AM IN PAIN???
Me: If you're in pain, you should be writhing on the floor, not pacing back and forth yelling.
Patient: WELL, WHAT IS SOON? an HOUR?? A DAY??? I DON'T HAVE ALL ****ING DAY TO SIT HERE.
Me: Soon is a relative word. As you see I'm the only one back here and I have all these other patients prescriptions to get through before I get to yours?
Jeez, I can't believe I'm finally out of retail and don't have to deal with this stuff anymore. Sometimes the nurses get angry when we don't pick up the phone or respond to knocks on the door/bell ringing after closing, but w/e, we just tell them to read the Hours of Operation sign and if the pharmacy is closed, they have to get the stuff they want from the Omnicell.
 

joetrisman

10+ Year Member
Mar 9, 2009
1,869
14
Developing rickets
Status
Resident [Any Field]
When dealing with an irate customer, I usually think "I'm here all day, you're the one who is wasting your time. Let's see how long it takes for you to figure this out." I always smile at them, the madder they get, the more I smile. Kill them with kindness :)
 

Rockinacoustic

10+ Year Member
May 16, 2009
1,103
598
Somewhere Sunny and 75
Status
Pharmacist
I've learned to stop being the one to get the last word in when somebody makes an irate remark about our service.

Some people are just genuinly ignorant and ungrateful no matter what you do- My emotions are better spent on people who actually appreciate my service.
 

Its Z

Retired
7+ Year Member
May 15, 2010
4,849
162
Status
Pharmacist


That's not yelling.

This is yelling.

 
Feb 2, 2010
64
0
Status
Pharmacist
How do you deal with someone that won't leave the counter/drive thru lane and is demanding you give them their meds now?

It just happened to me the other day. Prescription was not filled because insurance would not go through and it was just called in and we were extremely busy (rush hour time). So guy comes in and I ask him to hold on, let me see if I can work on it and get the insurance to go through and he screams back at me saying he will pay cash right NOW. I apologize and say it isn't ready yet but just to give us some time to fill it. He yells back "Hurry up already then!" Every second that passes, he is getting more impatient and more rude. At this point he's not leaving the counter.

I see there is a line starting to form behind him so I tell him if he could please have a seat or shop around and I will page him when it is ready and that we are filling it as fast as we can. He screams back saying, "No I need it now!! The nurse called us and said it was ready!" and his female companion chimes in smugly, "Thats the problem! It was called in an hour ago! It should be ready NOW!!"

So we rushed to fill his prescription. I realize it is unfair to the people who came in before him and they were waiting patiently for their prescriptions too. It's also unfair to the people waiting in line behind this gentleman. Good thing, they did not complain.

So I gave it to the tech to ring out. He sells it to him and doesn't offer a flu shot since the guy was in such a rush. Next thing out of his mouth is, "Give me my free 2L of coke! You didn't ask me for a flu shot!" with a huge smile. So we have to page a manager for the free coke and of course he has no problem waiting for the manager to come.
 

Sparda29

En Taro Adun
10+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2008
9,047
1,053
32
New York, New York
Status
Pharmacist
How do you deal with someone that won't leave the counter/drive thru lane and is demanding you give them their meds now?

It just happened to me the other day. Prescription was not filled because insurance would not go through and it was just called in and we were extremely busy (rush hour time). So guy comes in and I ask him to hold on, let me see if I can work on it and get the insurance to go through and he screams back at me saying he will pay cash right NOW. I apologize and say it isn't ready yet but just to give us some time to fill it. He yells back "Hurry up already then!" Every second that passes, he is getting more impatient and more rude. At this point he's not leaving the counter.

I see there is a line starting to form behind him so I tell him if he could please have a seat or shop around and I will page him when it is ready and that we are filling it as fast as we can. He screams back saying, "No I need it now!! The nurse called us and said it was ready!" and his female companion chimes in smugly, "Thats the problem! It was called in an hour ago! It should be ready NOW!!"

So we rushed to fill his prescription. I realize it is unfair to the people who came in before him and they were waiting patiently for their prescriptions too. It's also unfair to the people waiting in line behind this gentleman. Good thing, they did not complain.

So I gave it to the tech to ring out. He sells it to him and doesn't offer a flu shot since the guy was in such a rush. Next thing out of his mouth is, "Give me my free 2L of coke! You didn't ask me for a flu shot!" with a huge smile. So we have to page a manager for the free coke and of course he has no problem waiting for the manager to come.
Where the **** do you work?
 

owlegrad

Uncontrollable Sarcasm Machine
Staff member
Administrator
10+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2009
21,742
6,519
Locked in the basement
www.facebook.com
Status
Pharmacist
How do you deal with someone that won't leave the counter/drive thru lane and is demanding you give them their meds now?
By giving them their script back. (I wish)

Empathy is a big part of dealing with patients. And it is easier to just fill as fast as you can and get them out the door.

I really hate to be "that guy" but if a script is called in and rejected by insurance, you shouldn't wait for the customer to come in before dealing with it. That rejection is a time bomb waiting to go off. Even if you cannot resolve it right then (I understand "rush hour") at least call the patient to let them know you are working on it. Would you rather be screamed at over the phone or in person? :laugh:

But seriously if you call them they will not waste a trip to the store and you won't have to deal with being yelled at. I would say most of the crappiest interactions are avoidable if you are proactive in your approach to helping people. If you get to the point where they are yelling at you it is to already too late. An ounce of prevention, right?
 

kvl1027

Member
10+ Year Member
Jul 11, 2006
619
62
38
Tampa, FL
Status
Pharmacist
I will always try to help someone who is being polite and understand, I will even go completely out of my way to make things right for them. When someone comes at me screaming my first reaction is to ask them what I can do to make it right. The interesting thing is that they usually cannot tell you what will make them happy, because the truth is nothing will make them happy.

If that doesn't work I will gladly hand them back their script and tell them it is someone else's turn to deal with them. (It doesn't take me long to get to this point)

A wonderful example: We have this patient that went to the local charity clinic for his phenobarb and darvocet scripts. Every month he came in early to get his "magic beans"

One particular time he decided to express his distaste for me and the fact that I would not refill his prescription early because the people who were paying for his "free" medication did not want us to refill them early.
I told him it was the law (BS) and I couldn't fill it early because it was a control. He then pointed out to me that his phenobarb was a control as well, but that I was filling that early (I'll admit he caught me). So I said "Is that early too?" Looked it up in the computer and said, "Oh, it is early!" and took the prescription bag out of his hand and told him he could pick them both up in three days. His, "Oh sh!t I shot myself in the foot look" was priceless.
 

Athelas

New Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jul 8, 2005
19
0
Status
Pharmacist
I went to a local pharmacy today and there was one PIC with a long waiting line of customers. A women in her late 30's. for reasons unknown to me, decided to make a huge scene for the rest of us to watch. The pharmacist came to the front to try to comfort her but she told him to ____ himself and stormed off with her medicine.

Now obviously it's best to avoid or prevent these types of situation before it happens but if and when it does happen, how do you deal ?


Now provided that she doesn't suffer from poorly treated mental illness, I wonder where in life she learned that her negative behavior would be reinforced.
 

pharm B

Phar Noir
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 12, 2008
8,759
578
Out to Pasture
Status
Pharmacist
Now provided that she doesn't suffer from poorly treated mental illness, I wonder where in life she learned that her negative behavior would be reinforced.
The first time a pharmacist, store manager, or DM rewards this person with a gift card, it's game over.

We had a guy throw a hissy over getting a fill of 5 viagra instead of the 6 he swears he ordered. Gift card!

Seriously? :rolleyes:
 

Old

7+ Year Member
Feb 11, 2010
297
137
Status
Pharmacist
I went to a local pharmacy today and there was one PIC with a long waiting line of customers. A women in her late 30's. for reasons unknown to me, decided to make a huge scene for the rest of us to watch. The pharmacist came to the front to try to comfort her but she told him to ____ himself and stormed off with her medicine.

Now obviously it's best to avoid or prevent these types of situation before it happens but if and when it does happen, how do you deal ?
Speak softly and.............. carry a large hatchet. It always calms a rowdy crowd.
 

Sparda29

En Taro Adun
10+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2008
9,047
1,053
32
New York, New York
Status
Pharmacist
The first time a pharmacist, store manager, or DM rewards this person with a gift card, it's game over.

We had a guy throw a hissy over getting a fill of 5 viagra instead of the 6 he swears he ordered. Gift card!

Seriously? :rolleyes:
For real, one time, this customer dropped off a prescription at 5:45PM when we're closing at 6PM. We tell him to stick around and not wander off. Prescription is done, I go gather items for stuff I wanna buy, I come back at 6PM, we lock up, clock out. Pharmacist leaves, and I go to ring up my items in the front. All of a sudden, the guy comes out of nowhere screaming about his prescription and how he was in the magazine aisle reading.

I assumed the pharmacist rang him up while I was gathering stuff I wanted to buy. I go to check the parking lot, pharmacist is long gone, and pharmacist is a floater so no way of getting them to come back. I tell the guy to come back tomorrow and he's not having any of it and refuses to leave the premises until he gets his prescription. I say w/e, tell the store manager the situation and leave. Turns out the store manager just gave him a $100 gift card for his troubles, wtf?
 

scoobygrl79

7+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2009
393
1
Status
All of a sudden, the guy comes out of nowhere screaming about his prescription and how he was in the magazine aisle reading.

I say w/e, tell the store manager the situation and leave. Turns out the store manager just gave him a $100 gift card for his troubles, wtf?
The first time a pharmacist, store manager, or DM rewards this person with a gift card, it's game over.

We had a guy throw a hissy over getting a fill of 5 viagra instead of the 6 he swears he ordered. Gift card!

Seriously? :rolleyes:

:laugh: these poor fellows...one got to read magazines for free while the other was on his way to enjoying some booty....now why the heck didn't they get two giftcards each?
 
Aug 22, 2010
151
1
Status
Pharmacist
How do you deal with someone that won't leave the counter/drive thru lane and is demanding you give them their meds now?

It just happened to me the other day. Prescription was not filled because insurance would not go through and it was just called in and we were extremely busy (rush hour time). So guy comes in and I ask him to hold on, let me see if I can work on it and get the insurance to go through and he screams back at me saying he will pay cash right NOW. I apologize and say it isn't ready yet but just to give us some time to fill it. He yells back "Hurry up already then!" Every second that passes, he is getting more impatient and more rude. At this point he's not leaving the counter.

I see there is a line starting to form behind him so I tell him if he could please have a seat or shop around and I will page him when it is ready and that we are filling it as fast as we can. He screams back saying, "No I need it now!! The nurse called us and said it was ready!" and his female companion chimes in smugly, "Thats the problem! It was called in an hour ago! It should be ready NOW!!"

So we rushed to fill his prescription. I realize it is unfair to the people who came in before him and they were waiting patiently for their prescriptions too. It's also unfair to the people waiting in line behind this gentleman. Good thing, they did not complain.

So I gave it to the tech to ring out. He sells it to him and doesn't offer a flu shot since the guy was in such a rush. Next thing out of his mouth is, "Give me my free 2L of coke! You didn't ask me for a flu shot!" with a huge smile. So we have to page a manager for the free coke and of course he has no problem waiting for the manager to come.
Wow... just reading that made my blood pressure rise. The coke part really is infuriating. :mad:
 
Apr 16, 2009
597
3
Status
I haven't had to deal with angry patients in pharmacy yet, but I have dealt with my fair share of angry retail and phone customers.

It does sound like many pharmacies actually reinforce this bad behavior by rewarding customers for throwing a fit. Some customers are embarrassed by the reward and act better the next time (I used to work at a place where we would placate customers for any inconvenience. Most were alarmed at our attempts to be nice when they were rude and would quickly settle down, but a few quickly learned to be rude every time they visited to ensure a reward).

Sometimes, though, the best thing is to make the customer know you won't serve them while they behave poorly. I don't know how this would work in a pharmacy setting, but I worked at a call center for an extended period of time. My managers assured us that we were not paid well enough to be yelled at. When an irate customer lost it and continued to yell for reasons beyond our control, we were allowed to terminate the call. I once told a customer who insulted me that she could call back when she was ready to be nice. If she did call back, I wouldn't know, because she didn't behave like that again. You do have power in these situations, even when you don't feel like you do.
 

Sparda29

En Taro Adun
10+ Year Member
Mar 25, 2008
9,047
1,053
32
New York, New York
Status
Pharmacist
I haven't had to deal with angry patients in pharmacy yet, but I have dealt with my fair share of angry retail and phone customers.

It does sound like many pharmacies actually reinforce this bad behavior by rewarding customers for throwing a fit. Some customers are embarrassed by the reward and act better the next time (I used to work at a place where we would placate customers for any inconvenience. Most were alarmed at our attempts to be nice when they were rude and would quickly settle down, but a few quickly learned to be rude every time they visited to ensure a reward).

Sometimes, though, the best thing is to make the customer know you won't serve them while they behave poorly. I don't know how this would work in a pharmacy setting, but I worked at a call center for an extended period of time. My managers assured us that we were not paid well enough to be yelled at. When an irate customer lost it and continued to yell for reasons beyond our control, we were allowed to terminate the call. I once told a customer who insulted me that she could call back when she was ready to be nice. If she did call back, I wouldn't know, because she didn't behave like that again. You do have power in these situations, even when you don't feel like you do.
I got yelled at one time over the phone when I was doing the CVS Readyfill calls, trying to get people to enroll in automatic refills or overdue refills, etc. I told the guy I hated the program as much as he did and that CVS is making me do it, he calmed down after that.
 

kbv

10+ Year Member
Sep 29, 2007
231
5
FromBostonMAToOrangeCountyCA
Status
Pharmacist
I got yelled at one time over the phone when I was doing the CVS Readyfill calls, trying to get people to enroll in automatic refills or overdue refills, etc. I told the guy I hated the program as much as he did and that CVS is making me do it, he calmed down after that.
From Google search:

"Five ways to lose your job and get fired"
"37 ways to get fired"
"Need some creative ways to get fired"
"How to lose your jobs by getting fired"
"Top 10 ways to get fired and lose your job"

The list goes on...
 

sakigt

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 19, 2006
929
364
Jacksonville, FL
Status
Pharmacist
My pharmacy manager had alittle fun with the cell phone folks. He bought a cell phone signal scrambler (its illegal, ya so what) for about $20 bucks. So everytime someone comes up to the counter and continues to talk on their phone and be rude, one of us hits the "on" button, and bam, they lose their signal. Its hard not to laugh when all of a sudden they are like, "hello, helloooo, can you hear me.....ugh....this phone sucks, I lost the call"
I had a guy do that to me while I was interning. I waited until he made any attempt at communicating with me but he didnt. So, I waited. He started talking to the other person on the line about how he had been standing there for 10 minutes :)rolleyes:) and the tech was just standing there ignoring him.

I looked up and told him: "Oh Im very sorry. I didnt want to interupt your conversation, can I help you?" Pharmacist backed me up immediately :)thumbup:) and the guy finally hung up.

Im not biased against all cell phone use. Most people either hang up, tell people to hang up, or give human-like facial cues that communicate what they want and that they appreciate my understanding that they need to be on the cell phone, however rude it is. Being a douche doesnt require technology.
 

Pharmavixen

foxy pharmacist
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 20, 2008
1,043
14
Canada
Status
Pharmacist
I try and avoid escalation, trying to calm them down, and if the person is reasonable, they may even apologize for their behaviour (hey, I've had it happen).

Though some people are just d-bags, and nothing you do will work.

I'm glad we don't do the gift cards thing in Ontario. That would drive me up the wall. Someone yells at you, and the front shop manager gives them a gift card? Like, undermine the pharmacist much?? And what better way to train all your customers to act like 2 year olds.

I had a really irrationally abusive and nasty customer once, and I called the cops on him. So the cops come, there's some oddly quiet discussion between the cops and the jerk (I was serving other customers), and the cops and the jerk leave. Then the security guard came over and explained that the jerk was himself a cop :eek:
 

rph3664

7+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2010
2,464
365
Status
Pharmacist
you're the one who is wasting your time
I said that one time under my breath when someone kept asking me how much they would save if they got this quantity, that quantity, etc. with a discount card. I wanted to say, "Why don't you just not get any of it and save yourself all the money?"

This wasn't the case at the grocery store, but I worked at two places where I was not allowed to tell customers that we were having computer problems - "We do not involve the customers in our problems." :confused: People can handle the truth, folks.
 

Ackj

10+ Year Member
Nov 25, 2008
2,460
285
Status
Pharmacist
Surprisingly, I haven't had too many upset customers where I work - we're a pretty low volume store, mostly 55+, decent neighborhood. The other day though, it was almost comical with people freaking out.

We've had a new SP for about 9 months now, and the previous one had been there for 10 years or more. The customers all knew him and liked him, but from what I've heard, he wasn't good with inventory control, early refills, adding refills, etc. so great customer service, but bad as an SP. So our new SP is a good guy, pretty much by the books. Surprise surprise, customers don't like hearing "this rx has no refills on it" or "sorry, you had this filled 2 weeks ago." We had a lady tell us "I've been coming here for years, and this place has just gone to HELL (pounds counter) in a HANDBASKET(pound) since he left, and this NEW(pound) guy has NO (pound) idea about running a pharmacy.

Then another lady complained about how her Autofill prescriptions were wrong, and she had to come back 3 days in a row. Day 1, she picked up HCTZ. Day 2, she realized she had lots of HCTZ at home and didn't want the HCTZ, she came to pick up metformin, why wasn't that filled, it should've been on autofill, etc. Turns out she was taken off of metformin and had a new rx on hold for metformin ER, so it couldn't be automatically filled since she never had her first fill of it yet. We fill the metformin ER, and she doesn't come back until after we close. Day 3 "I'm never coming back here again! This is ESSENTIAL (pound) to my HEALTH (pound)!"

SP suggested we put up a sign that said "If you pound our counter, we are not responsible for your broken tablets."

It's really just shocking how people will freak out. I couldn't imagine being so upset about something that I would yell and pound on a counter. Sure I'd be unhappy about all these problems, but you have to keep your composure. The whole time you give them the "yes, okay, what can I do for you, okay, alright" and just smile away.
 

loveoforganic

-Account Deactivated-
10+ Year Member
Jan 30, 2009
4,222
13
Status
How do you deal with someone that won't leave the counter/drive thru lane and is demanding you give them their meds now?

It just happened to me the other day. Prescription was not filled because insurance would not go through and it was just called in and we were extremely busy (rush hour time). So guy comes in and I ask him to hold on, let me see if I can work on it and get the insurance to go through and he screams back at me saying he will pay cash right NOW. I apologize and say it isn't ready yet but just to give us some time to fill it. He yells back "Hurry up already then!" Every second that passes, he is getting more impatient and more rude. At this point he's not leaving the counter.

I see there is a line starting to form behind him so I tell him if he could please have a seat or shop around and I will page him when it is ready and that we are filling it as fast as we can. He screams back saying, "No I need it now!! The nurse called us and said it was ready!" and his female companion chimes in smugly, "Thats the problem! It was called in an hour ago! It should be ready NOW!!"

So we rushed to fill his prescription. I realize it is unfair to the people who came in before him and they were waiting patiently for their prescriptions too. It's also unfair to the people waiting in line behind this gentleman. Good thing, they did not complain.

So I gave it to the tech to ring out. He sells it to him and doesn't offer a flu shot since the guy was in such a rush. Next thing out of his mouth is, "Give me my free 2L of coke! You didn't ask me for a flu shot!" with a huge smile. So we have to page a manager for the free coke and of course he has no problem waiting for the manager to come.
Mental note to not convict the pharmacist who beats a customer to death with a coke bottle, if I should ever so happen to be a juror for such a trial.
 
Jun 23, 2010
5
0
Status
Pharmacy Student
Agreed. I tell techs when I do float work that I will handle any irate customer because they shouldn't have to. No one should have to, but especially not for just above minimum wage.

Usually I just say "I'm sorry we aren't able to meet your expectations, where would you like me to transfer your prescriptions" as I have the phone waiting in hand to call wherever. that usually stops them dead because they want someone to placate them regardless of what a giant jerk they are being and when that doesn't happen, they are shocked. and those people always come back, every stinking month. They never leave!

I have zero tolerance for abuse in the pharmacy. There are exceptions of course and I'm willing to try to understand but once you are being rude just to hear yourself complain, that's it. Again though, I only do float work.
I wish I could be more calm and sincere like you in high-octane situations..
 

MountainPharmD

custodiunt illud simplex
10+ Year Member
Aug 15, 2004
4,567
323
Status
Pharmacist
It's really just shocking how people will freak out. I couldn't imagine being so upset about something that I would yell and pound on a counter. Sure I'd be unhappy about all these problems, but you have to keep your composure. The whole time you give them the "yes, okay, what can I do for you, okay, alright" and just smile away.
It is the society we live in today. People are not responsible any more. People always want to blame someone else because it coudn't possible be thier fault. People have lost all sense of social grace and manners. It as if our whole society has forgotten how to act in public. Being a rude abrasive a-hole is the new norm. People think they need to act that way to get what they want. We are a fast food society now. Everyone wants it there way right away or they are going to start yelling.