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Woman on the Sainsbury's pharmacy counter

(395 Posts)
SoggyBottomBoys Sat 18-Feb-17 12:35:40

Shopping in big Sainsbury's this morning with baby. Tried to buy some Solpadeine at the counter. Have been suffering from various post-birth complications and SPD that's flared up pretty badly (I was basically hobbling). Conversation (in full earshot of 3 people queuing behind) goes like this:
Pharmacy assistant: Have you taken this before?
Me: yes
PA: Are you on any other medications?
Me: No.
PA what are you taking it for?
Me: I'd rather not discuss that.
PA: Then I can't sell this to you.

And she refused to sell it to me! Unless I told her what was wrong with me. Which (because I was really annoyed/emotional by this point) I refused to do. So I walked off almost in tears and now have to lug myself to a chemist to buy some when I can frankly barely walk.

Am I right in thinking she crossed a line here? The first two questions are completely fine. I have no problem with being warned of side effects, don't take for more than 3 days, etc. But the third one just seemed so intrusive, especially in public when it's a woman who clearly has a small baby they have recently given birth to. They can't demand you tell them what's wrong with you...can they?!

Tell me if IABU... as I am so cross I'm considering complaining.

SerialReJoiner Sat 18-Feb-17 12:36:53

I would be upset, too. Was there a private room offered to you?

iklboo Sat 18-Feb-17 12:38:27

Solpedeine has addiction potential as it contains codeine. They have to be very careful when selling it.

DisneyMillie Sat 18-Feb-17 12:38:40

I think it's reasonable to ask what you want it for if it's pharmacy controlled rather than on the shelf (like a doctor would want to know before prescribing meds) but you should have been offered a private space to talk if you didn't want to discuss in public

Lilmisskittykat Sat 18-Feb-17 12:38:45

That would upset me too... if you have taken it before and on nothing else I don't see why her next question was relevant.. especially in the middle of a busy shop. Like you say it's private

Sirzy Sat 18-Feb-17 12:39:32

If it is over the counter only then they are within their rights to check before selling it.

Surely a "I am having SPD trouble and nothing else is working" would have been a sufficient answer?

Babbaganush Sat 18-Feb-17 12:41:06

There are strict rules around pharmacy only medication - she was only doing her job. You could have asked to discuss it somewhere private!

Hercules12 Sat 18-Feb-17 12:43:40

This is a non starter surely for aibu. She was doing her job as she has to. If you're embarrassed, some would be, some wouldn't, then ask for private place to tell her.

SoggyBottomBoys Sat 18-Feb-17 12:44:33

There wasn't anywhere private. It's in the middle of Sainsbury's.

Sirzy you are quite right, I could have said that. In fact had I been prepared I could have said anything! But I was totally taken aback to be asked to be honest. It felt very intrusive.

SoggyBottomBoys Sat 18-Feb-17 12:47:05

I'm just interested in whether she really was doing her job as she 'has to'. I understand there are questions they can and should ask you. I'm just not convinced that forcing you to tell them your symptoms is something they're allowed to do. I hope someone who actually works in a pharmacy comes along and can tell me.

MadHattersWineParty Sat 18-Feb-17 12:47:05

Sainsbury's near me-the big one- has a little side room they use if you don't want to disclose anything in earshot of others as part of the pharmacy. If they didn't have such a room, I don't think she did anything wrong in asking you that question over the counter.

miserableandinpain Sat 18-Feb-17 12:47:08

I feel for you op i do.

Bit its not an 'embarassing' illness. Embarassing in air quotes as there is no such thing as an illness being embarasisng but many feel thet are.

Anyway. I couldnt give a flying monkeys if a few strangers heard me say its for spd.

She was right to ask as you had taken it befofe. Refused to say why? She cant give it to you as it can be addictive and you may have been addicted to it.

In the future ask to step to one side or go ti a private consultation room.
I get that after having a baby though you feel vulnerable and hormonal so i understand why you feel like this x

OneLumpOrSeven Sat 18-Feb-17 12:47:22

Yabu. It's their job to check they are selling medicine appropriately.

AshesandDust Sat 18-Feb-17 12:47:37

Yanbu. That is appalling and very unprofessional. Since when has it
been decreed that the public must submit to intrusive public questioning
by people with zero empathy or people skills?

Blossomdeary Sat 18-Feb-17 12:49:52

I would just have told her - I do not think it is anything to be embarrassed or ashamed about. She was indeed just doing her job.

DesolateWaist Sat 18-Feb-17 12:49:58

They have to ask. They can't sell it to you without asking. You refused to tell her. It isn't up to her to infer that you have just had a baby. You could have said that you don't want to say out loud in public rather than saying that you refuse to discuss it.

SoggyBottomBoys Sat 18-Feb-17 12:50:12

Also a note on the private room thing. To me it's a bit of a red herring. This woman was officious and made me feel uncomfortable and I didn't want to discuss my symptoms with her, in private or otherwise. I have never heard that discussing your symptoms with the pharmacist is a condition of sale. I guess that's the point here.

AstrantiaMajor Sat 18-Feb-17 12:50:40

I had something similar in boots. Young man, not the pharmacist, handed over the prescription then started asking questions, telling me it has addictive qualities and they may be able to offer something else.

I refused to engage and have never used Boots pharmacy since. Problem is they catch you on the raw, with everyone looking at you. It is hard, not to be rude or think of an answer that does not sound rude.

SoggyBottomBoys Sat 18-Feb-17 12:52:06

Ashesanddust you expressed it perfectly. Thank you.

NeedsAsockamnesty Sat 18-Feb-17 12:53:11

I use it for my back and pelvic pain, I have never once ever been asked by a pharmacist what it's for. In public or private.

AshesandDust Sat 18-Feb-17 12:53:47

This is from 2012 Pharmacy Regulations but I don't think this rule would have been altered much since then:
'You must respect and protect people's dignity and privacy...'

ilovesooty Sat 18-Feb-17 12:53:49

Obviously your perception of her manner was negative but she was quite within her rights to refuse sale if she hadn't been told why you had asked for opiate based medication.

SoggyBottomBoys Sat 18-Feb-17 12:53:51

I totally agree that SPD is nothing to be ashamed of, but that isn't really the point here.

OneLumpOrSeven Sat 18-Feb-17 12:54:54

But what if the medication you wanted to purchase wasn't appropriate for what you wanted it for? They are liable for everything they sell.

Random member of the public: I went to buy codiene
Pharmacy: why?
Rmoftp: I'm not telling you
Pharmacist: fine, have a shed load.


KarmaKit Sat 18-Feb-17 12:55:22

Yep it's definitely officious and nosey people just wanting to know for their own personal gain, nothing to do with them just doing the job they've been told to do. For every person who gets pissed off at being asked "intrusive personal questions" there's another who would be INFURIATED that the stupid, disinterested and lazy sales assistant gave them the wrong thing for their ailment.

People in retail/healthcare can't win.

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