This incident is so mind-numbingly typical of every single visit that I have to Duane Reade that I was at first hesitant to even bother typing it up. But I’ll press on so future generations will have a full and complete catalogue of the miseries inflicted by this place that I occasionally have to go (I can no longer bring myself to call it a store, as leaving there having purchased the items you actually need is purely a matter of chance rather than the whole fucking point of DR's existance.).
I’ve had some eye troubles the past few months that have required the use of a wide variety of prescription eye drops. Recently there was a particularly vile flare up of my left eye that made me look like Al Swearengen after he and Bullock have that huge fight and fall off the balcony, and Al gets a really disgusting case of kidney stones or gall stones or some other kind of stones that made his eye bulge and turn yellowish-red (I recently watched the entire second season of Deadwood over a period of two days. If I had my own flesh eating pigs, this story would have a very different ending.). I dashed down to my Doctor’s office to get a prescription for more drops and returned to my office which is perched directly above a DR.
My history with the pharmacy at DR is, let us say, fraught with unpleasantness. We’re that couple that everyone hates. We fought all the time and stayed together too long, primarily out of spite. We finally broke up, but I will still bitch to anyone who will listen about how I pissed away years of my life with that asshole. They have lost one prescription, told me they would fill another only to tell me later that the medicine wasn’t in stock, and last but not least, told me that I had no refills left even though my order clearly stated that I had three more to go.
I knew from the get-go that getting it filled there would be a mistake that would very likely take forever. Furthermore, there was no guarantee that I would walk out with the medicine I needed. I knew that, and yet, I went for it anyway. I was in something of a bind. I needed to get this medicine that night, and by the time I would get back home, my usual place would be closed. Besides, I stupidly thought, maybe this time will be different.
No, I will never learn.
Dropping the prescription off wasn’t a problem. Shocking as it may sound there was nobody in the pharmacy line, and someone was actually manning the register. No, I wasn’t drunk, and I didn’t dream it. I swear. I was told to come back in forty minutes to pick it up. I’m not quite that naïve. I knew there was no way they could do this in less than an hour, so I went back to work and returned in sixty minutes.
Friends, there were EIGHT people waiting in the pharmacy line by that time. Do you know how long you’ll be in line at a Duane Reade pharmacy when there are eight people in front of you? I don’t think numbers go that high. Every single person there was on their cell phone bitching about it. I would have been dictating this to Wrathos if I hadn’t left my cell at home that morning. And just to add a teeny bit more misery, my Ipod died almost immediately.
So I waited for an hour, two hours, ten hours, who the hell knows. Time may have actually stopped moving. Everything was getting fucked up. Customers were getting pissed, and the cashier didn’t know what he was doing (In his defense though, he wasn’t going out of his way to be a douche, which is a welcome step in the right direction customer service wise.). Finally a manager came to help him out. The manager stood at the other register, and we all thought that we were in for sweet relief. Manager asked to "help" the next person. Person told him her name, manager turned around, got her prescription, set it next to the other register and told her that the other guy had to ring her up. So she had to get back in the line she just left. Next person walked over wanting to drop off a prescription. The manager couldn’t take those either. Get back in the other line. As it turns out the only thing the manager could do was get prescriptions that were already filled. That was the one part of the whole torturous process that the original cashier had no problem with.
By the time I reached the front of the line, I felt like I had just reached the summit of Everest. My victory was short lived, however, because my eye drops weren’t ready. I had to wait another twenty minutes. I was so beaten down at that point, I couldn’t even get mad. I just stood by the counter perusing the selection of vitamins, lube, and hearing aid batteries on display by the cash register. I did finally get my eye drops, and I only missed the opening credits of The Office, so I guess it could have been worse. There could have been a small child crying in line behind me.