There are few guarantees in life.  But that doesn’t stop some people from seeking them out.  And unfortunately, this includes people at the pharmacy.

     I was working one day recently and a customer dropped off a new prescription.  I checked first to see if we had the medication in stock.  Bad news, we didn’t have any of the drug.

     I told the patient we could order the medication and that it would be in on Wednesday.  He responded with this question “So can you guarantee that this drug will be here this Wednesday?”  The answer I’m afraid is no. 

     Not too much later in the same shift an elderly lady dropped off a prescription. It was brand only and she handed me a new insurance card.  As she handed me the new ID card, she says “can you guarantee me that my insurance will cover this?”  Again, the answer is no. 

     There is this need by people to have all kinds of absolutes in life.  So many of us want guaranteed happiness.  Unfortunately, life isn’t that simple or accommodating.  Things happen and guarantees are rare. 

     So when a customer asks me if I can guarantee that we will still have flu shots available in a month I respectfully decline.  Or when someone asks me to guarantee that a particular drug will work for them I’m forced to disagree. 

     Life is never simple enough to rely on uncertainties as if they were set in stone.  And life behind the counter at my local pharmacy isn’t any different. 

     Of course, this lack of absolutes does work against me as well.  There is no guarantee that I will have a job the next day.  Though I may dismiss the thought of anything major happening to my employment status, it’s always a possibility. 

     People need to learn that guarantees are not handed out that often in life.  And when they are, they’re usually negatives.  Death and taxes are two glaring examples of the dark side to life’s guarantees.   

     I wish my customers and patients weren’t so demanding.  I think that certain expectations by patients are unwarranted.  Yet they still ask for them.  And I still have to decline. 

     So please everyone don’t expect too many guarantees out of life.  And if you do come across one, don’t be surprised if it is something you don’t want anyway. 

     We all have things we want to count on in life.  But few things in life are true guarantees.   This is true at the pharmacy just as it is everywhere else. 

The Redheaded Pharmacist

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