‘I was disappointed, I was shocked, and I was also embarrassed.’

brown paper bag

A writer for a popular website has taken aim at a pharmacy assistant over her customer service

Mother-of-two and Mamamia writer Shona Hendley wrote that while buying a pregnancy test in a local pharmacy recently, she put in an effort to hide the fact from other patients.

“I had carefully positioned the bag of cotton wool balls around the First Response box, so it acted as a wall of privacy and was out of view from the line of other customers behind me,” she wrote in a piece titled ‘I was picking up a pregnancy test from the chemist when the cashier’s words shocked me’.

Ms Hendley said she had nearly finished her shopping trip without running into anybody who would recognise her.

“I was nearly there!

“Just as the woman who had served me was handing me by bag of items she said, ‘I hope you get the result you are looking for’.

“She smiled, the woman behind me smiled, I am pretty sure the elderly man with the hearing aid at the end of the line smiled.

“What had been a discrete [sic] visit to a pharmacy to buy something that I wanted to be kept private was now the pharmacy community news.”

Ms Hendley said she lives in a regional city where “everyone knows everyone else, or at least someone who knows someone you know,” which can have privacy implications.

“So the purchasing of particular items that you’d prefer to keep private, you know sensitive type products like Rogaine, laxatives, wart removal cream, pregnancy tests and the like can sometimes be like a covert mission that involves a stake out of the area to check for people you may know.

“It also entails a well-researched and thought out plan to decide which shop and what time will provide the safest outcome and sometimes some swift manoeuvres to get in and out to guarantee the highest possibility of success.

“So, you can imagine my disappointment when my well executed plan fell to pieces right at the last hurdle.

“I was disappointed, I was shocked, and I was also embarrassed that something I had wished to remain private was now known by several complete strangers. A choice which was taken from me by a pharmacy cashier I had never met.”

Ms Hendley recounted her experience working as a supermarket checkout operator in which she placed items such as condoms and lubricant “into bags discreetly and respectfully without any comments apart from the routine ‘have a great day’.”

She did this because she believed teenagers did not want to discuss contraception and women probably did not want to discuss pregnancy tests, she wrote.

“I know that customer service is definitely key but also in particular retail environments (you know like pharmacies) and situations (like purchasing pregnancy tests) so is discretion and common sense.

“In fact, I would consider these things an essential part of customer service if employed by a chemist.

“The reality is this pharmacy cashier does not know me, she does not know my background, my situation and my experiences. Hell, she doesn’t even know that the test is for me.

“I really don’t want her well wishes on a topic that I had wished to keep private.”

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  1. PharmOwner

    While a pregnancy is a joyous time for many we should remember not all potential pregnancies are planned, or welcome. Of course the customer in question could have assured her privacy by approaching a pharmacy staff member and mentioning in advance that she wished the sale to remain confidential. Communication is a two-way street, after all

    • chris

      What a whingeing journo is all i can say. The assistant was simply being pleasant and polite and I wonder if she screamed it out at the top of hr lungs so that the old geezer standing five customers back heard it. What crap.

  2. Cautious Cow

    I too have suffered embarrassment when purchasing cotton wool balls. Fortunately I don’t blog photos of my children, which can obviously promote teasing by their local community (and possibly the entire planet). Have a nice day.

  3. pharmacist

    So I worried about the two customers queuing up behind me saw or heard our conversation about my pregnancy test yet I blog it to the whole world to know.

  4. Nicholas Logan

    I suspect the author is prone to disappointment.

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