Queuing: a method of torture devised by the incompetent to cause unneeded grief to customers.

A simple task, go to the pharmacy, deliver prescription, verify the medicine is in stock, learn what the wait time is, wait. And wait. Then wait some more. Check time already spent waiting. Watch other customers come in. Watch them wait. You wait some more. You hear your name called. Oh sorry, they were talking amongst themselves.

Some places use the deli ticket system, where you pull a number off the roll. If you miss your number being called, you should get stuck pulling a new number. The majority of stores will try to fit you in, though, to the consternation of the customers you cut off.

I even accept the valid excuse of a crowd surge. X number of customers versus Y number of staff. (Minus one now, she just walked out for lunch apparently) Leaving two clerks, one pharmacist, and somebody else that is doing something back there. Ah, that other person must be the nurse, because she just stepped into the spare room for a pair of customers.

Where am I going with this rant? Obviously nowhere.

But, wait! I decide to wade into the queue (because their clock is now an hour later than when I dropped off the prescription). I ask the clerk for the medicine, she collects it (it was in the ‘awaiting pickup bin’), enters it into the computer – my insurance information isn’t in there. She tells me it’ll be a little over $300!

I make the instant assumption that, even though this is a national corporation, and my primary store (25 miles away) has the info computerized, their computers are not linked! Another few minutes passes as the insurance is validated by phone call.

Pockets of technical resistance, coupled with questionably indifferent human interaction, produce a failure to complete what should be a simple task. And medicines that have been developed at great cost – and have a proven track record at treating an illness – don’t get to patients that need it.

But the Affordable Care Act is going to fix all that (sarcasm).