I am going to explain the workings of one of the pharmacies that we occasionally have to go to when the pharmacy we normally go to is closed. I am not sure if this is how many of the pharmacies in Italy work or not.

On entering the pharmacy you must figure which of the four places you need to go. If you need baby items, creams and lotions, beauty products, etc. you go to the first section. If you need medicine you go to another. There is yet another section on the far end but I have no idea what you get there because I have never had to go to that section. Then there is a fourth section with the cash register.

After deciding which section to go to, you proceed not to get in a line but a mass of people and figure out who you might be behind. When it is finally your turn you tell the pharmacist what you need. They proceed to find that product and hand you a receipt. You must take that receipt and go stand in line (this is an actual line) at the cash register. You pay him, he stamps your receipts as paid, and you go back to whatever section you just came from. Again you wait your turn or sometimes if the pharmacist sees you, you can bust right up to the front. You hand him/her your stamped receipt, and he/she in turn gives you your product(s). While this is taking place you are “fighting” the other people who are trying to tell the pharmacist what they need.

Needless to say I am not too happy when the pharmacy I normally go to, where you get something and then pay for it, is closed.

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