Friday, 6 March 2015

Working stiffs: Their tough lives in Pharmacies and Car Wash places.

My Primary Care Physician  (G.P. in the U.K.) prescribed a potent medicine to take care of a nasty infection in my nether regions.

The medicine is so potent that I am allowed only two pills  (each taken a week apart): for continued doses of this medicine might cause cancer, (go figure).

My prescription insurance plan usually takes care of drugs etc. and sends them to me by mail. 
But in this case, to avoid delay, I routed the prescription via a local (chain) pharmacy which is a partner of the mail order pharmacy.

The local pharmacist was good enough to tell me that the retail price for the two pills was $31, and that she had to charge this full amount since I had not connected the dots between the mail order Pharmacy, the insurance company, and the local branch of the retail Pharmacy.  

She added that if I submitted my insurance details to her within seven days I could get the lower price.

I'd have been a fool to ignore this, so I trotted back to the local pharmacy with all my insurance details -  leading to a final cost of $5, (not $31).  All well and good.

All well and good, but my heart went out to the two clerks/assistants  at the Pharmacy who tried to help.  The first one (a trainee I think) was utterly buffaloed by the store's computer system.  She called for help, which was rendered by a young man who had some exalted title or other in the Pharmacy's hierarchy.

He went to work:  key-stroke after key-stroke. 

Then more key-strokes. 

Then even more. 

After at least ten minutes of  fiddling on the computer he was able to establish that my insurance was valid, and that I should pay only $5.

I thanked him profusely for all his efforts on my behalf.  He was grateful.

Then I added: "I am not certain that computers have made your life easier".  He nodded an assent.

I went on to say, "maybe my bad karma caused this trouble"  (not that I believe in karma).

My  words made him laugh out loud.  Such words did not increase his pay, but I hope that they gladdened his way.


Later today (March 6th 2015) I took my car to the local (interior and exterior) car-wash.

 (I am giving a lift to local friends on Saturday 7th March, so I thought that they  deserved a clean car).

The "world and her husband"  were also at the car-wash, so I was about the ninth in line.

Despite this long line my car was all washed and cleaned within thirty-five minutes,

I discovered that the "front end"  staff,   (those who receive our cars and take our payments),  are on salary;  whist those who "detail"   (vacuum clean, and clean the interior surfaces of our cars; and later  dry and polish the exteriors of the cars)  depend on tips for their living.

This means that the "white collar" workers receive a fixed salary, whilst the "drones" (the hard workers) are remunerated via


This old Christian Socialist (jmp)  still believes in: "From Each According to Their Abilities, to Each According to Their Needs".


The workers at my local pharmacy,  and at the local car wash certainly work hard according to their (not inconsiderable) abilities.

I know that they are not remunerated according to their needs.

Such is the nature of un-bridled Capitalism.

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