ehowton (ehowton) wrote,

Compel Me

I picked up my medication refill at the Wal-Mart pharmacy this morning - at the tail end of taking my daughter to flute practice and swinging by Walgreens to get my grandfather-in-law some mouthwash.

I was already on edge because while I bring my laptop, aircard and RAS fob with me, the calls usually come in just as I'm driving off - and not only did the customers at Walgreens appear anachronistically in awe of the Point Of Sale machine, so did the employees. That, and when it was finally my turn she rang up the bottle twice, then stared incomprehensibly at the single bottle when I pointed out her error, as if I had somehow palmed the second bottle and was trying to obfuscate the truth with a receipt trick, because, in her defense, the receipt did show two. The fact that there was only one bottle was quite the contentious point for her. Had any more time passed I surely would have asked her to recount the events from her perspective. "Do you remember ringing up two bottles of mouthwash?"

So when the girl checking me out at the Wal-Mart pharmacy informed me that the pharmacist would like to speak me, I naturally asked, "Why?"

The problem I seem to run into time and time again seems to revolve around policy. As long as there is a policy in place, all answers should be self-evident. At my grandfather-in-law's nursing home they scanned in a new medication regime from a new doctor, which apparently automatically cancelled the existing schedule. The fact that they had difficulty in getting the new medication to the nursing home in a timely manner wasn't considered problematic because the policy did not address it. Policy stated only active medication schedules were to be followed, so he went too long without pain pills. Policy should never be a replacement for cognitive problem solving.

Don't get me wrong - I love policy. That is, policy which is grounded in logic, and allows for interpretation as required. The inverse of that of course opens the door to greed. Just look at the bible for issues behind interpretation. We each want our own version of policy to subjectively apply to our own wants and desires. When I asked the the girl checking me out at the Wal-Mart pharmacy why the pharmacist wanted to see me, she explained because I was getting a new prescription. The fact that it was supposed to be a refill didn't fill me with confidence. I asked if they had changed my medication without informing me. Her reply? "I don't know."

"I don't know" is perfectly acceptable answer much of the time. There is no shame in not knowing - not knowing something is a marvelous learning opportunity. Its how I spend most of my day, both on and off the clock. But as an answer to policy, it is substandard and inefficient. At least once a week my wife returns from school with some seemingly tall tale about what they are being told about classes, grades, placement, and internship. Usually I am aghast, and in the past was very excited to hear of the explanations behind these very obviously aberrant behaviors - because I know even my wife would question such ignorant directives. Alas, while the ridiculousness of the claims have not slowed, my excitement in their origin has, for my wife's trouble-making questions are always given the same inappropriate answer, "Because its policy."

I know its policy. My question to you is why is it policy. I have asked my boss many times before, "What situations led up to this policy being instituted?" I'm not asking because I'm some asshole, I'm asking to understand. And at least in IT, technology has changed to some degree to nullify or amend the policy so that it remains effective.

After the girl at the Wal-Mart pharmacy gave me my medication, I tore the bag open and verified its contents. It was indeed what I was expecting. Because she gave me no compelling reasons for speaking to the pharmacist, I didn't. Policy does not compel me. You want me to do something, you're going to need to give me a reason.

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