At the local pharmacy, I asked for cheap generic hayfever tablets. The lab-coated pharmacist (a white middle-aged English lady) opened a drawer behind the counter & showed me a packet.
“10 tablets for £3.50”
“Too expensive!” Looking a little embarrassed, but keeping a straight face; the pharmacist showed me a different packet with identical tablets from the same drawer.
“Seven tablets for £1.50” I knew immediately what I must do.
“I might come back later. Thank you!”
Or then again, I might not… 14 medically identical cetirizine dihydrochloride tablets from Tesco Express: £1.00 GBP; just one fifth of the price the local pharmacist first tried to charge!
The local pharmacy usually gives good service, but on this occasion they clearly tried to deceive me for their own profit. Is dishonesty really so widespread that one cannot even trust the local pharmacist, despite the high duty-of-care of their profession, and despite them wearing a uniform that signifies that sacred trust?
I was willing to pay slightly more to the local pharmacy, to support local businesses employing well-qualified staff; than I was willing to pay Tesco, a multinational monster employing pliable teenagers on minimum wage with an erratic work schedule. But when I saw how the pharmacist tried to trick me, and how big the price differential was; I decided I’d better go to Tesco. Antihistamines might be a loss-leader at Tesco, but if I’m not getting the integrity and quality of service that I’m trying to pay extra for, then Tesco it is.