Around 8:00 pm, January 6, 2015, Tuesday when a box of Althea pills was bought by my boyfriend at Rika’s Drugstore, Tirso Neri St., Divisoria Cagayan de Oro. Staff by the name of Shiela (as reflected on receipt) was the one who took charge on getting the box and Liza was the assigned cashier receiving the payment, punched at exactly 8:16pm, 2 minutes ahead from the Robitussin that was also bought in which both were packed together with two separate receipts stapled on it.
Upon handing the box to me since it was already due at 9pm to take the pill, I was surprised the box has no seal anymore (I can’t describe it as broken since no seal can indeed be found) and was even more surprised the time I finally opened it. Inside was an empty pill packets still with package insert. So, I hurriedly gave it back to him to be replaced immediately at the drugstore. Unfortunately, Rika’s was already closed.
At Rika’s Drugstore Divisoria
The next day, at 10:45am, he went back for a replacement and complained regarding the empty pill packets inside the box. They took the items still inside the cellophane with the receipts and weren’t actually surprised of the complaint. In fact, they simply commented, “Pangkaduha na ka sir!” (second customer to complain).
They waited for Sheila to “in” and by the time she arrived, she confidently replied that she did double check it and as was so sure that it was not an empty pack.
According to him, the staff disregarded his complaint, mocking him that he was only making up a story. To his much disappointment and humiliation, he told them he’ll file a police blotter regarding the incident, which the staff jokingly replied, “Pag pa-blotter lang sir!” Their reply further added his anger and quickly left forgetting the items to take with him.
He went straight to the Police Station Divisoria for the police blotter.
Remembering the items left at Rika’s drugstore, he went back to claim it, which the staff took the package insert from the box. He, then proceeded to DTI to process a complaint regarding Republic Act No. 7394 or The Consumer Act of the Philippines. We are just waiting for it to be processed.
- Unprofessional Staff Reaction on making up a story
I am not sure if they are all Pharmacists but they took the whole situation unprofessionally. There was even no considerations made on our complaint but rather disregarded and ignored. The most disappointing part is that they considered it as a make up story, laughing at my boyfriend while explaining his point. As professional ourselves, it was such a humiliation. Their reaction maybe expected but the “laughing part” is unnecessary.
My boyfriend may have forgotten to ask for the head staff, owner or a higher positioned staff due to anger and humiliation, but they should have initiated it. In such situations, it is expected to call and inform a higher position regarding the incident who will be the one to deal with it and not just merely keeping it to themselves and freely throw comments on the customer.
- “Pangkaduha na ka sir!” (second customer to complain)
This is a very important point to note. If it was already their second time to receive similar complaint, shouldn’t they be alerted? If repeated incidents have been made, this certainly needs immediate action. There are actually a number of theories that can be made here. The staff may have mistakenly forgotten to double check the pack before placing it to the cellophane, staff may have packed the “display” empty pack instead of the new one, an unauthorized personnel may have gotten inside and took the new packet of pills and replaced with his old one or the supplier may have mistakenly included an empty box of pills.
That is why there is such thing called as “meetings” to talk about everything, lapses and etc. However, to put all the blame on the customer part, accusing on just making up a story and mocking that it was not true is totally unfair. What happens to their long-time-running customer satisfaction slogan “The Customer is Always Right!”? It may not be applicable in most aspects but you shut us down and worst making us the bad person.
- “Doublecheck” as verbalized by Staff
According to my bf, he could still remember the staff getting the box from the pill shelves without actually looking at it and directly putting it into the cellophane. But if the staff was really sure about making a double check, then she can back it up with some proof and evidence. Their inventory list for example can back her up. I’m pretty sure all the boxes of pills sold, displayed, even the empty box most pharmacists use as samples are listed there.
We’ve complained and shown the empty pill packets in front of them and they did not believe us. So, what’s the difference of simply telling us that they did double check without any proof to show?
- As Previous Medical Providers of the product
As previous Medical Providers/Nurses of the company owning the product, Althea is known to be the most expensive pills among the line up because of its additional benefits such as regulating menstruation, getting rid of acne problems and etc. The hassle of not being replaced immediately have now caused me a couple of “missed pills” that may result to irregular menstruation again and worst, recurring of my acne.
I must admit P325 is not that too affordable and even up to now, I’m still hesitant to buy another, however, it’s not enough to pay for our reputation as what the staff is trying to imply that we are just making it all up.
- As Nurses
As a nurse, medicines always play an important part in our patients. We always double check it before handing it to them. In your case, as dispensing pharmacists, you’re as well expected to double check it both yourself and with the customer since they rarely check boxes of medicines within the pharmacy premises. However, you never did in our case. You did not show to us the box first so, what makes you confident to say that you did.
For your future third complaint, what if it was not an empty pill packets but an empty packets of antibiotics in a box? What happens when they just found out about it in the hospital. Imagine the hassle of getting back and forth from the hospital to your pharmacy and would just end up empty handed because you don’t consider customer complaints?