Confessions of a Charlotte pharmacist

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Note: We’re starting a new series of “confessions” where we ask certain professionals a quick set of questions and keep their responses anonymous so that they can tell the complete truth. If you’d like to participate, please email hi@charlotteagenda.com. We promise to keep you anonymous.


There’s nothing worse than standing in line at the pharmacy. You’re around a bunch of sick people, all you need is your damn birth control and the pharmacists look like they’re moving in slow motion.

I talked to one pharmacist about why there always seems to be a wait, coworkers who steal and the woman who got naked in front of an entire drugstore. Here are her confessions.

What’s the best part about being a pharmacist? The worst part?

As cliché as that sounds, the best part is helping people. Sometimes one friendly patient can negate all the negative interactions you’ve had that day.

The worst part is that everyone is in a hurry and wants everything yesterday. People need to have some understanding that the pharmacist you’re waiting on is not trying to make your day worse. If we’re making you wait it could be because we’re checking on a drug interaction or a potential side effect that could really harm you. Believe it or not, we are trying to help, not make you mad.

Do you ever get nervous that you’re going to give someone the wrong medication?

Of course! Luckily, there are a lot of safeguards put in place to help. We have SO many distractions, so you have to get in your own rhythm of tuning things out.

Someone said to me the other day, “Your phone was ringing, and you didn’t answer it right away.” Yes Ma’am, you’re correct. I was verifying a prescription and had to concentrate on that and not on the phone!

What’s the most common ailment people need medicine for?

The most commonly prescribed medications are for blood pressure, cholesterol, indigestion/GERD and diabetes. This speaks to how healthy our country is…

Is it common for pharmacists to take advantage of their jobs and steal pills from work?

It’s definitely not common. Although I have known pharmacists who had drug addictions and were stealing pain meds from their jobs. I have also seen pharmacists writing controlled substance prescriptions for themselves or changing quantities on their own prescriptions and got caught.

Pharmacies have countless cameras and every medication (especially controlled substances) has to be accounted for. So, if you’re stealing from a pharmacy you will get caught. It’s only a matter of time.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made at work?

Luckily the mistakes I’ve made at work were not major life-threatening things. I’ve dispensed a cream instead of an ointment and given a lower dose of a medication.

What’s the weirdest interaction you’ve had with a customer?

One time I was giving a flu shot to an older woman and when I asked her to pull up her sleeve she took her shirt completely off and wasn’t wearing a bra.

This wouldn’t have been a huge deal, but she was in our waiting room with several people around!

She didn’t seem bothered in the least.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to give her a flu shot as fast as possible while my face is 19 shades of red.

Any crazy customers?

We had a very irate lady who paced back and forth in front of our pharmacy yelling because she was mad that her doctor hadn’t gotten back to us about a medication.

She didn’t care about the interaction we were checking on, she wanted her medication (narcotic pain med, of course) filled NOW. Our store manager had to ask her repeatedly to calm down and to please stop shouting. She was so loud that it was hard to talk on the phone. This went on for over an hour until she got her medication.

Do you ever make people wait longer because they’re being rude?

Oh absolutely.

Any other confessions?

I’m always shocked at how willing people are to show me rashes on various parts of their bodies, talk openly about bowel movements and even ask questions about their sexual dysfunctions.

I once accidentally saw an old man’s testicle because he pulled his shorts up a little too high asking me about a rash! And one time a lady had a question about finding something in the aisle, and while I was helping her find it, she told me about a lump in her breast. She then physically grabbed my hand and had me feel it! I was MORTIFIED!

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Mary Gross
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My name is Mary Gross and I am a copywriter, a craps player and an excellent napper.