Monday, December 1, 2014

The Dismal Science

"Hi, Galaxy," I said to my phone. "Call The Medicine Shoppe." A Walgreens recording answered. Figuring that Galaxy messed up, I myself dialed the Old Towne pharmacy I'd used for 14 years. Chillingly, the Walgreens tape answered again.

It was surreal. I'd picked up a refill three days before from the familiar pharmacists and techs in the drab little Shoppe that kept only one of each item on its shelves, and had a rack of greeting cards that I alone (I think) bought from.

I drove there. Medicine Shoppe #1390 has closed. All prescriptions were transferred to the Walgreens a quarter-mile away, the sign said. No chance to ask questions or say goodbye before the staff--a motley, earnest, totally sterling team of women whom I trusted with my life--dispersed--to where?

Walgreens welcomes "Customers of Medicine Shoppe #1390"
I'd shunned the Walgreens because The Medicine Shoppe ladies saw my husband through his two and a half years of fatal illness; they'd rented me crutches; they'd witnessed my weepings and ailments, phoned and argued with doctors and insurers, knew all my secrets, and had never, not once in 14 years, given me the wrong medicine. I saw them save their meds from floodwaters. My insurer tried to force me to fill prescriptions by mail and I refused. My loyalty is non-negotiable.

Closed now. Maybe bankrupt. Or not profitable.Could have been franchisee's retirement, corporate downsizing, or higher rent. Maybe unable to compete with the Walgreens, grocery-store, and Walmart pharmacies within a two-mile radius. Possibly new rules for Medicare prescription payments. But no goodbyes. The weirdest sort of shock and heartache. And they're all out of work. They call economics "the dismal science" for a reason.

Walgreens had a sign outside to welcome me. Things could be much worse. But I wanted to cry.

1 comment:

Debi Jarvis said...

You have just summed up my thoughts and feelings about the closing of this home-town pharmacy. I almost felt like a good friend just up and moved with no forwarding address! So disappointing.