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Why Do We Queue At The Chemist?

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I don’t mean to upset anyone, it’s just a simple question, why do we queue at the chemist? Let me start by saying that I really appreciate my chemist. Always cheerful and helpful answering any medical type questions I have.

However, every time I visit for prescription medication there is a long queue and usually a minimum waiting time of fifteen minutes. Sometimes it’s a little longer, sometimes shorter. The place is always packed to the rafters too.

Aren’t Chemist shops similar to Sweet shops?

In my mind (which isn’t very big) I see the chemist shop as similar to a sweet shop. You know, you ask for a quarter pound of Aniseed balls, the assistant reaches for the jar and they’re dispensed immediately. Gobstoppers, 5 in a packet, sorted. One length of liquorice, snip, all done! No waiting, no fuss and all completed in under 2 minutes.

So why does it take so long to sort out the medication in a chemists shop? Don’t most tablets come in boxes of 20 or 56 or whatever. I’ll have one box of Rumplepethydine extract please. Pop it in the bag with the bottle of cough mixture. Job done. Alas, it seems not.

The assistants look at you from behind their eye level counters, then what seems to be all sorts of shenanigans goes on. Whispering, talking about my medication, perhaps they’re talking about me and wondering why I should be taking Ompomperapozole tablets! Perhaps I’m getting paranoid? There’s tablets for that, isn’t there?

I honestly don’t mind queuing

We are so lucky in the UK with our National Health Service. I’m eternally grateful for everything they do for me and my family. I don’t mind queuing, honestly or waiting, but I still can’t stop thinking why do we queue at the chemist? There must be a straight forward answer. If you know why, I’d love to hear.

 

 

18 Responses
  • angloswiss
    June 30, 2017

    We don’t actually queue at the chemist in Switzerland, but when we get to the counter, we have to go through a third degree about the medicine we choose. Do we really need it, and why. Do we take other medicines, etc. etc. They just like to feel that they have a purpose in their work. If you have a cold of cough, then it is better to think about it before getting medicine. And it is not free either. Funny thing is that if I buy medicine made in Switzerland in England it is usually cheaper than what I pay in Switzerland.

    • Trev Jones
      June 30, 2017

      They ask us all sorts of questions, but it’s mainly checking that we are who the medication has been purchased for. We do pay for prescriptions until we get to 60, then it becomes free.

  • Leland Olson Hoel
    June 30, 2017

    I do believe chemists and pharmacist have you queue for a reason, mostly to build up their prestige and feeling of self-worth. Their jobs require a lot of training, similar to that of a doctor. Doctors can leave you waiting at the clinic while they finish a round of golf and almost require a waiting time at the clinic so you appreciate them more when you finally get to visit them. I feel chemists are just searching for their place in this world and a little respect, sort of like Rodney Dangerfield.

    • admin
      June 30, 2017

      Maybe you’re right, Leland.

  • Embeecee
    June 30, 2017

    Because people are inherently herd animals and we have some biologic imperative to seek out herds now and then? I’ve seen films or TV shows about the U.K. and the Chemist’s shop and I can’t say it’s much different from some pharmacies in the U.S.A. They are rapidly disappearing, however, and being replaced with drive up (thru) type places or ones in big grocery store chains. The individual Mom and Pop customer service is disappearing too. Enjoy it while you’ve got it. You’ll miss it when it’s gone.

    • admin
      June 30, 2017

      As I said, I’m always grateful that you get personal service from a chemist. You can ask him anything and he’ll either give you and answer or tell you to see your Doctor. I definitely would miss him if he was swallowed up by a big faceless conglomorate.

  • davekingsbury
    June 30, 2017

    If you didn’t have to queue the stuff wouldn’t do you so much good …

    • Trev Jones
      June 30, 2017

      Haha, that’s one way of looking at it, Dave.

  • susiesopinions
    July 1, 2017

    Because the Insurance companies make you wait until your last pill. Then you have to get them, however long the wait is.

    • Trev Jones
      July 1, 2017

      Perhaps by the time we’ve queued we’ll be better.

  • Henry Chamberlain
    July 3, 2017

    I didn’t think Brits minded so much getting in a queue. You have such a quaint word for simply standing in line. I do wish more people would learn to properly stand in a line. Have you been to the airport lately? Well, we all carefully stand in line in the U.S. when we go through security. However, once we’re waiting to board a plane, people behave as if they don’t understand the concept of standing in line. Everyone is perpetually inching their way forward. No one enjoys waiting. And being able to cut in line is a prize worth having for many. Now, in the U.S., we are forced to behave when it comes to waiting for a prescription at a pharmacy. I don’t believe we in the U.S. give a pharmacist much regard. From my experience, a pharmacist just drones on as they read the same instructions on the back of the bottle that you can read for yourself. I should read up on your National Health Service too. You probably have a very good system in place in the U.K.

    • Trev Jones
      July 3, 2017

      Yes, we have a great system in the NHS. I think we’re famed for being a country of queuers, if there’s such a word.

  • SueW-Nan'sfarm
    July 6, 2017

    We queue because someone else got there first! What’s the problem?

    • Trev Jones
      July 6, 2017

      I don’t have a problem. I said that from the outset.

  • wiltdidit
    July 7, 2017

    I generally don’t hate queues as I can witter on about how long the queue is. It passes the time, but only if people reciprocate haha.

    • Trev Jones
      July 7, 2017

      Best answer I’ve heard, thank you. 🙂

  • Scott
    July 18, 2017

    Outstanding.

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