Monday, August 25, 2008

A few weeks ago I was transferred from a beach store to a downtown store. The differences are astonishing.

The beach store is quite close to an area plush with high dollar water front homes and condos. The parking lot is daily littered with Lexus, Hummers and Mercedes. The Hummer belongs to the store manager! The customers are mostly wealthy retirees. Many wear nice clothes, carry designer handbags and belong to fashionable golf and yacht clubs. It's a store where the big crisis is being out of the advertised baked beans.

Downtown the customers are more ethnic. Elderly widows barely getting by on social security living in nearby subsidised housing. Hispanic families, the homeless, young folks starting out, all struggling to get by. Some have medicare or medicaid but often the medication prescribed for them is not covered. Others simply don't have insurance, I can relate. I took this job for the benefits and it fell into my lap thanks to rqm. Before that, we could no longer afford the insurance payments which had climbed to $1800 a month!

Daily I see people who truly need medication unable to pay for it. They work with the pharmacist to calculate the cost of each pill... figure out how many pills they can afford on that day.... purchase only a few and vow to obtain the required funds to come back for the rest. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

Today an elderly lady came to pick up her medication. The total was $2.50... she didn't have it. Later she returned with the money and also needed something from over the counter. But that she couldn't afford. Another lady takes a medication that costs $3000 a month! So far, insurance covers it. If the day comes that it is not covered, she will die. I overheard another gentleman say he would be better off dead. He could no longer afford to be alive.

The scenarios are endless. This is real. This is happening every day, everywhere, right now.

Politicians should sit in my seat for a day or better yet in that of the pharmacy customers.


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