Yesterday, Evan's allergist called in a prescription for Singulair for him and his poor, swollen, allergy nose. But, because I have had so many issues with the pharmacy at our grocery store and The Filling of Prescriptions On Time, I didn't even consider picking up the prescription until today.
In fact, I didn't even bother heading straight out to the pharmacy when we left the house this morning to run some errands. I spent this dreary, rainy, thundery morning with my runny-nosed, up-too-early, whiny, clingy 2-year old and my touch-everything-in-sight 4-year old, doing everything else that needed to be checked off the list. Then, and only then, did I head to the grocery store.
We get there at 11:30. By 11:35 I have grabbed the few other items on our list and head to the pharmacy counter. There's a line, which there always is, so the kids occupy themselves with the conveniently placed rack of smelly candles while I wait. And wait. Finally, the man just ahead of me is finished and turns to leave. I can't help but notice that he is empty-handed and muttering something indecipherable yet distinctly unpleasant as he walks away.
I approach the counter and....wait some more while Pharmacist #1 types on her computer and Pharmacist #2 chews with her mouth open.
Finally, Pharmacist #1 asks me for the name. She spends a few minutes searching through what must be completely disorganized racks of ready prescriptions. With a puzzled look on her face she returns to her computer and asks me for the full name and date of birth. She starts typing.
"When did you drop off this prescription, ma'am?"
"His allergist called it in yesterday."
"Okay, see, here's the problem."
"We don't have it."
"You don't have it ready? I can wait." I say, noticing that the kids are still pleasantly occupied with the smelly candles.
"No. We don't have it here at the pharmacy. It'll be in this afternoon, though. Probably. Or tomorrow."
Trying really hard not to take out two years' worth of pharmacy frustration on her, I say, "You should have called me. If a prescription request came in and you knew you didn't have the medication here at the store and wouldn't for at least a day, I would have appreciated a call. It would have saved us a trip."
"We should have called you, ma'am. You'll probably want to call before you come back, just to make sure."
"Yes, I probably do."
So we walk to the check-out lanes to pay for the few items we are able to get. It's a total mob-scene so, against my better judgement, we go to the self-check out lanes.
I put Molly down so I can begin to scan my items, which is when the crying starts. I scan the toilet paper.
PLEASE PLACE THE ITEM IN THE BAG, the machine instructs, so I place the toilet paper onto the bagging shelf.
Molly removes it.
PLEASE PLACE THE ITEM IN THE BAG.
I try, she cries.
PLEASE PLACE THE ITEM IN THE BAG.
I try to trick the machine by moving onto the next item. I scan the special pesto tortellini we are going to have for lunch and place it in the bag.
"I hol'! I hol' LUNCH!" Molly yells.
"You can hold it in a minute," I try, "here hold Mommy's bag!"
Nope. "Lunch! I hol' MY lunch!"
Meanwhile, touch-everything-in-sight Maxwell is behind me, just out of my line of vision.
"Oops!" I hear, loudly, from the woman at the self-check out lane next to me. "He can't sit there! He'll upset the scale!"
I turn to see Max sitting on her bagging area.
"Max, don't sit there, it'll confuse the machine. It'll think you're groceries."
This is hysterical to Max, not so to the woman. He's no longer sitting on it, but the kid just can't help himself and he keeps one little finger on it.
"It's upsetting the scale!" she says again.
"Max, please step over here."
Molly is laying on the floor, sniffling and sobbing about her lunch. Max is twirling, since he is no longer able to sit on or touch the other customer's bagging area. I'm still reeling with frustration over the prescription and now my kids are eking the last bits of my patience out of me.
And that's when it falls apart.
The damn machine tells me to PLACE THE ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA one more time and I lose it. I mutter, too loudly, "Oh my god. Get me out of here."
The manager at the self-check kiosk overhears. "Oh, poor thing," she starts, looking down at Molly, "Does somebody need a nap?" Then, looking at me: "It gets better, Mom."
I glare daggers at her. "I'm not upset about my 2-year old. I'm upset about your pharmacy."
She raises her eyebrows.
"There needs to be a better system! If a medication isn't in stock, they should call me!"
I'm starting to sound a little bit like I'm losing it.
Another manager walks over to her. She begins, in a hushed voice, to explain My Problem to him. He turns his back to me and keeps glancing over at the pharmacy.
I'm trying to close out the sale but Molly keeps picking up the toilet paper and putting it back down. The machine keeps yelling at me. I touch the screen a hundred times and finally the sale is complete. Molly is crying, I pick her, the toilet paper, and two bags of groceries up.
Max twirls over to me.
We're trying to walk out the door, the two managers and now one other employee are still talking, I can feel their glances of pity on my back.
We walk out of the store along with a grandma, a mom, and a baby. The grandma looks at crying, flaily, snotty Molly and says to me, "This stage will be over soon! Don't worry, Mom!"
I can't help myself: "I don't want this stage to be over soon. I WANT this pharmacy to start operating like a business, not like something that exists solely to be a pain in my--"
Grandma and Mom are now looking at me like I have completely lost it.
There's an uncomfortable pause during which we all just look at each other.
Then, the mom says to me, with a perfectly straight face (and I'm not making this up):
"Do you need help?"
Um. It appears as though I may. Or at least a new grocery store, as it is perfectly clear that I can never show my face there again.