When I turned 15, I got a job. Not just any job, a job working at the drug store in my hometown, the only drug store in town and also the drug store where my mother is one of the two pharmacists.
Some might think, “sweet, working for your mom must have been a breeze”. WRONG.
Don't get me wrong, I love my mama – but when your mom is the “boss” (when the owner Mr. JH wasn't there), it isn't fun. Your name is the first out of her mouth when something needs to be done or when something goes wrong. And if you screw something up at work, you catch it at home too.
|my friend (and then co-worker) Cory thugging with my mother in the pharmacy.|
At the drug store, the other kids and I had all kinds of duties. We did your standard stuff like clean shelves, stock and inventory merchandise, work the cash register in the pharmacy and at the front, take out the trash and put labels on incoming medicine and merchandise. However, we also had some... interesting tasks.
Taking refill orders over the phone/at the counter:
You never knew what some of the customers would come up with. Now, I know that medicine names are hard to say.... but could you at least try? Because saying “that square-round pill with the little number on it” doesn't quite help me out (yes, that was a legit refill request one time), nor does “that peach-colored one”.
Delivering medicine to home-bound customers:
This is actually no longer a duty at the drug store thanks to a few employees who couldn't quit wrecking the delivery car (which was a sweet, custom PT cruiser sarcasm) or getting speeding tickets on it. But when I was there, delivering medicine to customers also meant getting out of the drug store for awhile. We didn't just deliver medicine either, some times our home-bound folks needed batteries and other things from the store.
Taking things to the storage building:
Our storage building was on the other side of the main street on the opposite corner from the store, so we'd load stuff into the delivery car (or sometimes Mr. JH's truck) and drive to the building, climb the terrifying stairs (the storage area was over another shop) and just THROW the things into the room. It was un-air-conditioned, un-heated and also un-lit. The hallway leading up the steps is graffiti-ed forever with all our names and dates of when we took things to storage.
|horrible picture - but of me & Jarrett behind the counter (this was actually in the Service Drug yearbook ad our senior year and it said "Good luck Lar & Jarrett haha).|
Another not so fun part? Trying to not notice what people are buying in the drug store, there are some embarrassing purchases to be made there: diarrhea medication, condoms, lube, special kinds of creams, pregnancy test... it's like judgement central.
However, working at the drug store taught me all kinds of things. I learned about having to work the public and how to smile and nod at someone telling you too much information. I learned about humility and how screwed up our healthcare system is as I watched people count out pennies for medicine they couldn't live without while I watched others working the system and getting free meds before buying three cartons of cigarettes with cash money. I also got to work some amazing people who I am still very close to.
Sadly, this was the day of disposable cameras (as my friend Cory reminded me when I asked if he could send me any pics he had from our drug store days) so I have hardly any pictures. So here the few I could find (or steal).
|me at 15 with my friend Tracy|
|some of the Service Drug crew at prom|
|being silly with Cory, could I have more gum-mage in this pic?|