Drugstore delays

New York State, June 1982
New York State, June 1982

I took this picture back when I was still single, driving around New York State. That was probably the same trip when I first tried Iron City Beer, a beer brewed in Pennsylvania. When I was on vacation back then, I used to sample some of the local beers, those I couldn’t find in Indiana, when I would stop for a meal. I don’t recall what beer I might have bought in New York, but I evidently had a good impression of Iron City.


I went to the drug store the other day to pick up a couple of prescriptions. There were two women in the line ahead of me. Before paying for her prescription, the first woman was talking to the clerk. The woman immediately ahead of me was swaying back and forth in time to a tune that wasn’t playing on the canned music playing through the ceiling speakers. Since she wasn’t using ear buds, I assumed the music was in her head.

After a few moments I heard the lead woman say to the clerk that she hadn’t expected that the prescription would be so expensive. The clerk explained that since it was the first time under the woman’s new insurance the co-pay was higher than it would be later in the year. I guess that made sense. At any rate the woman started to pay, she had swiped her credit card and the clerk had started to bag the prescription and two books that the woman was purchasing.

In the meantime the woman immediately ahead of me diddly-bopped her way forward to stand beside the woman who was paying, and plucked a magazine out of the rack. I think the cover story was about how to have wild monkey sex with your mate, or something in that vein. I thought it was rude of her to stand beside the first woman while she used the card reader to finish her transaction.

The first woman decided to not finish her transaction. She decided that the cost of the prescription and two books was too much, so she asked the clerk to remove one of the books. To do that the clerk had to void the entire transaction, and to re-ring the wanted items. She did so. Before swiping her card again, the lead woman decide she wanted neither of the books, and asked the clerk to remove the second book from the sale, leaving only the prescription. The clerk was able to do that without voiding the entire sale.

Meanwhile the second woman was still standing beside the first woman. swaying to her own internal music, and reading about great sex. Of course, she may have been checking out the recipes.

The clerk was ready to have the first woman swipe her card again when that woman decided to once more change everything. This time she decided she could live without the prescription, but not without the books. She asked the clerk to remove the prescription from the purchase and to re-ring the books. Amazingly, the clerk did so while maintaining a smile on her face the entire time.

At that point the second woman dropped the magazine she had been reading and decided to cruise the aisles looking for something to buy. That meant I was able to get my prescriptions and check out with no more delay.