A Tale of Two Pharmacies

posted on 03 Oct 2023 | Blog

What follows is the story of why I no longer go to my old pharmacy. This is recounted from memory, and some of the details may be inaccurate, but the gist is there.

drops in at local pharmacy

"I'm running out of my meds, can you refill them?"

"Sorry, you have to come closer to refill-day, so come back Saturday."

"Okay, I'll come back then."


"Okay, it's Saturday, here to refill my meds."

"... yeah, you're out of refills. We'll have to talk to your doctor."

"... but it's the weekend?"

"Oh, we'll sort it out on Monday."


"Okay, it's Monday, can you get in touch with my doc?"

"Sure! We'll fax that. Come back tomorrow and we'll have it sorted out."

"No, I'm on my last pill, it has to be refilled today."

"You know you're supposed to give us 48 hours notice, right?"


"Yes, I know. I tried."

"Okay, we'll fax them now. Come back this evening."


calls towards the end of the work day

"Hi, are my meds in yet?"

"What? We don't have any meds for you on file."

"No, my doctor faxed something?"

"No they didn't."

calls doctor

"We definitely faxed them. We'll fax them again."

phones pharmacy back

"Hi, are my meds in yet?"

"What? We don't have any meds for you on file."

"Can you check if you got faxed anything about my meds?"

"Oh, yes, we see that now, we got a fax. Can you come in Wednesday to pick them up?"

"No, I'm on my last pill."

sigh on phone

"You know you're supposed to give us 48 hours notice, right?"

"I tried."

"Okay, we'll get that ready for you, please hold."


"Sorry, we're all out of those. They've been all out for a while. It's on back-order, everybody's out."

stifles why-am-I-just-hearing-about-this-now-screaming-rage

"Uh, what do I do? I'm on my last pill."

"Okay, we've got a one week supply to give you. Can you come tomorrow?"

"I can come now."

"But we're closing in 15 minutes."

"I'm out walking the dog. I'm literally at your door."

".... Okay."

gets my one week supply

"Thanks. What do I do for next week? Will there be more then?"

"Oh no, it's really out-of-stock. But the half-dose pills aren't. We've got those, so you can just double-them. Call your doc and we'll get that sorted."



frustrated and needing to get back to my life, I give it a few days. Bad mistake.


calling dr office

"Hi, they're out of my meds everywhere, can I get prescribed the halfsies instead?"

"Uh, your doctor has been prescribing those to a lot of people and nobody's complained yet."

"Well the pharmacy disagrees."

"The pharmacy is allowed to give you the halfsies sans scrip if they're out of the regular dose."

"I did not know that. Do they know that?"

"Whatever. They obviously don't want to without a scrip. Doc will be in tomorrow, we'll sort it out."


Calls pharmacy next day afternoon.

"So d'you have my meds?"

"What? We don't have any meds for you on file."

"No, I mean my doctor said they'd fax today."

"Yeah, they didn't. For what?"

"The halfsies. They also said you can do the substitution yourself when you're out-of-stock on something."

"Yeah, we can't do that, they're wrong."

"Fine. Okay, I'll call my doctor again about sending the fax."

calls doctor

"Did you send them that fax?"

"We sent them the fax again. We'll send it again again."

"Great, thanks."

at this point life intervenes, and I still have one pill for tomorrow morning - so wait until next day to call

"Hi, do you have my halfsies?"

"We can have them for you day after tomorrow."

"Day after tomorrow!? ... Sorry for raising my voice but I'm on my last pill, what happened?"

"Well, they're not in stock."


"But you can get them from other pharmacies."

"I was told they were in stock here."

"They're not."

"Fine. I'll call around."

thinks angrily about the last time this happened and scrip was lost in limbo between two pharmacies and had to get re-prescribed

Calls Other Pharmacy. On hold for 15 minutes.

"Hi, do you have these meds?"

"What? No, nobody has them."

"I mean the halfsies."

"Oh! Let me check."

on hold even longer

"Yep, we've got them. We'll call your pharmacy and get the scrip transferred."


gives this an hour to work out, calls my pharmacy

"Hi! Are my drugs transferred to Other Pharmacy?"

"We're just putting the scrip on hold and doing the paperwork, we'll get it sent to them in five, then call them."

"Great! I'll give them 20."

15 minutes later, call Other Pharmacy anticipating being stuck on hold for a long time.

phone picks up quickly! Yay!

"Hi! Have they transferred my scrip?"

"Let me check."



"Nope, they haven't. I'll give them a call right away. Can you call back in half an hour?"


(; ̄д ̄)

calls Other Pharmacy half hour later

On hold. Every few minutes get redirected back to main menu. Go back on hold

run out of minutes on phone (I'm cheap, okay?), buy more minutes. Call again. Go back on holdm

Give up, drive out to Other Pharmacy, arrive and find pharmacist juggling phone in one hand and serving a mob of customers


"Yeah, they still haven't faxed me yet, I'll call them now."


more waiting

"Any luck?"

"They said they'd fax again."

more waiting

even more waiting

"Uh, are my meds-"

"I'll call them again."

even more waiting


aimlessly wander the tiny drugstore playing on my phone



perk up


"They were faxing your prescription to the wrong number. They didn't figure it out until they got a confused call from Alberta. Gimme a minute to do the paperwork and we'll have you on your way."

And that's how I got my meds.

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