Technology Manners

by fmhilton

In real life, I work in a pharmacy. This means I wait on customers who need to buy their prescriptions at our pharmacy.

Usually most customers are alert, and receptive to me, and pay attention when I ask them the basic questions that any pharmacy worker does when dealing with prescriptions.

However, with the increasing use of cell phones that have become completely ubiquitous, there has also been a rise in the number of people who totally and completely ignore me when I attempt to talk to them about what they want.

For instance:
A customer talking on a cell phone will come in and tell me the details of a prescription and continue to talk to the other party on their cell phone, completely ignoring me while I stand there waiting for them to end their call.

Usually they will quickly end it when they see me looking a bit miffed. However, there are those who not only ignore my look, but continue to talk on their phone while attempting to deal with me at the same time.

I’m not having any of that any more-and now I’ve become more assertive when it comes to that kind of behavior, by asking them to stop talking on their phone so I can talk to them.

That’s the attention getter that usually stops the caller dead in their conversation. They quickly say good-bye to the other party, usually with a modicum of embarrassment for it.

Why am I writing this? I want people to understand a few things about pharmacies, and customer service:

All pharmacies are required by law under HIPPA to keep the details of all prescriptions limited to the patient and/or their representative at the time of the order being picked up.

For me to talk to someone who is on their cell phone means I am also talking to another person in the background who can hear every single detail about the transaction.

Under the law, I’ve just broken the HIPPA rules, and can be fined up to $25,000 for it.

That’s not a joke, either.

Another scenario that has happened is someone with a text-enabled cellphone will come in, texting away madly and never pay attention to me. This happened to me recently and it made me rather angry.

It’s considered very rude behavior on my part should I interrupt a transaction to answer our phone. It’s also considered bad manners from me if I don’t stop talking on our phone when a customer comes to the counter.

On the other hand, I consider it extremely rude behavior for the customer to do the same to me when I am standing there, attempting to do my job, and they don’t have the basic courtesy to pay attention to the person in front of them, instead of the toy they’re so entranced by.

Do you think I’m being crass when I ask you to pay attention to me? I don’t.

I consider it basic manners and common sense to drop the toy, and stop the other conversation when picking up a prescription that might need to be explained about in detail.

It’s the height of rudeness and bad manners to not do this.

You wouldn’t do this to my boss, would you? A pharmacist is a trained, licensed professional worthy of listening to, aren’t they? Thought so.

I am worthy of your attention, too-just because the perception is that I might be a glorified ‘cashier’ to you, does not mean I am.

Under the professional license that I hold, I handle dangerous drugs capable of killing you, every day. I know my job, and I know what I’m supposed to do when a customer comes to pick up a prescription.

So give me a little of your attention, and we’ll both be happy.

In case you’re wondering, all pharmacy workers feel the same way about this issue, believe it or not…and we all thank you for your consideration in the future.

Have a nice day!