Human nature never ceases to amaze and confuse me. Just when I think I’ve figured out the human condition, I am thrown yet another curveball in life. Working retail pharmacy, you start to see lots of those curveballs.
I’ve been known to say that working directly with the public is a case study in the human condition. And working in the community pharmacy setting, you definitely see the extremes of human nature.
I tend to forget when dealing with patients and customers that they might be under a lot of stress. Who knows what is going on in their lives or the lives of a loved one? An illness, death, or stress might be troubling them.
When I see someone get angry at me or be hateful, I tend to assume they’re singling me out. It’s a habit I need to break. Often, I am not the root of their troubles.
The irony though of blaming bad behavior on circumstance is that it ignores our ability to control our emotional response. It can seem like a sad excuse to blame a person’s anger on an illness. But that very well might be the case.
Some people have the ability to weather their personal storms more effectively than others. While others seem to take out every little frustration on anyone who’s available.
As a pharmacist, I’m trying to learn how to react to difficult or hateful customers more effectively. But it isn’t easy and I tend to make the false assumption that they’re singling me out for some reason. I also have this stubborn attitude that I deserve respect. Is that really asking too much from the general public?
In reality, the anger and frustrations displayed from the other side of the pharmacy counter have little or nothing to do with the pharmacy staff. We are the perfect scapegoats simply by being accessible to patients. We are there, so the anger flows to us.
I’ll admit that the anger displayed by some of my patients is enough to drive me away from community pharmacy. But just when I feel the most frustrated, I’m thrown a curveball. Someone stops to thank me for my efforts or shakes my hand in appreciation of my work.
Occasionally, you can even see it in the eyes of patients. They are thankful for whatever you are doing for them. They want relief from whatever brought them to your pharmacy. Even if they don’t verbalize it, they are thankful.
I’ve come to the realization that community pharmacy will throw you curveballs. Those curveball are just part of the job. It’s life on display at a retail pharmacy near you.
The Redheaded Pharmacist