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How to Work at a Drug Store in a Recession

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Two types of cashiers exist for a local pharmacy: the cashiers who directly handle the prescriptions, and the cashiers who handle the store and gift items. Directly handling the medication is stressful, because customers can become overly aggressive for their drugs. And though working with the pharmacist may look good on a résumé, working as a cashier and providing customer service for the rest of the store can also boost your résumé.

Retail continues to struggle in the current economic recession. Often times, part-time employees only receive raises due to state and federal law. As someone with experience in working the store and gift section in a local drug store, I have listed below how to make the boss happy with your work in a poor economy.

The Sign to a Local Drug Store

Drug Store
Credit: Consumerist Dot Com

Remain Proactive Despite the Absent Customers

Bosses absolutely hate to see their employees standing around. When customers are staying home and saving their money, as often happens after the holidays, then the employees need to find something to do other than waiting for someone to walk in. Below is a list of some ideas:

  1. Replace sold items – Whether in the store section or the gift shop, some customers wandered in and bought an item or two. If the inventory in the computer says there are more of those items, and they seem missing from the floor, then go back into the storage area and replace the sold items.
  2. Price new items – When a new order for gift items ships in, someone needs to price the items and place them on the shelves. The manager will most likely assign you and your coworkers in the drug store to do this task after he or she have recorded the items in the computer inventory.
  3. Clean the shelves – Nothing screams louder about having a thankless job like cleaning. However, this brainless activity makes you seem hard-working, even when the dirt is minimal. Besides, customers more quickly see the cobwebbed corners and bug-smeared glass than the employees, which mean they also more quickly see a clean store.

The Aisles of a Drug Store

Drug Store
Credit: Open Grid Scheduler

Treat the Regulars like Old Friends and Family

Having worked at my current place of employment for over three years, I now recognize over a dozen customers who classify as regulars. Other than picking up their prescriptions at the pharmacy, they regularly buy from the store, and sometimes from the gift and greeting card section. Most of these customers have store accounts. Over the years, I’ve come to memorize their account numbers. This always seems to impress them.

In addition to making the shopping experience easy and convenient for the regulars, employees should always remember to put on a friendly face. This may come a little more easily to the extroverted persons, but for us introverts, it’s a daily struggle. Both the friendly and outgoing regulars and the serious and reserved ones like an employee who smiles and greets them warmly. If requiring inspiration, look toward the drug store owners. They usually are able to please the customers down to an art.

A Drug Store as Seen in 1909

Drug Store
Credit: Rockcreek

Make Friends with the Other Employees

Warring employees disturb everyone. Not only do the other employees suffer from the bickering and the badmouthing, but the warring employees will gain a bad reputation from their boss when they must look for another job. To gain ground with your employer, try to befriend the other employees. Several rules apply when making friends with your coworkers:

  1. Talk WHILE working – Most bosses don’t have a problem with their employees talking to each other. They only have a problem when what all their employees do is talk. Eventually, the work will become second nature and all the employees can enjoy their time with each other.
  2. Work as a team – Too many employees will take advantage of their coworkers. If a coworker switches shifts with you once or twice, don’t expect for her to do so every time you want to take a night off. The coworker may like you, but she may change her mind if you abuse her generosity.
  3. Be compassionate – Sooner or later, your coworker will screw up and the blame will fall on you. Correct the manager if the accusation is serious, but be friendly toward the coworker. She was likely tired and had zero intention in making you look bad.

As Found in Drug Stores

TheraFlu Night Time Severe Cold and Cough, Honey Lemon, 12 Count
Amazon Price: $14.49 $7.67 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 29, 2016)

Look Toward a Brighter Future

During the first couple years at my workplace, I knew two women who made their careers out of working retail. These women had hard lives and struggled with anger, self-hatred, and bitterness. Working at a drug store is temporary, a means to advance toward something with better pay and benefits. Unfortunately, benefits are rarer these days, as are fulltime positions, but part-time employees who earn minimum wage must look towards the future.

If you work at retail during today’s recession, then set goals and be proactive, friendly, and cooperative. The best bosses will look at you and see more potential. Who knows? You may even receive a decent raise when the boss notices your good work and provides you with more duties. Your résumé will never look better.

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