Ouch

It was that time of year last week, time to get a flu shot. When the California sun is smiling brightly it is hard to think about such matters, but when you are sniffling under a blanket in January, you wish you had paid attention.

Having obtained a prescription refill a week earlier it came to my attention via a poster on the freezer door next to the pharmacy counter that recipients of a flu shot would be entitled to a free scoop of ice cream. Now that is an incentive! Thus, almost giddy when it was time, I filled out my paperwork and waited in line to get poked. There was one person ahead of me who got his flu shot and he yelled out ouch before he got poked – apparently an attempt at humor – which was warily acknowledged by the pharmacist. My turn. “right or left arm”? “The left please”. It was an ouch moment, but I kept silent. “would you like a band-air”? “Yes please, and where and what kind of scoop of ice cream may I get”? “Sorry – no ice cream, but you can take a bottle of free hand sanitizer from the counter”. Imagine my shock and disappointment. Hand sanitizer? Practical perhaps, but certainly not the same. False advertising came to mind, “bait and switch” tactics, things, one does not expect at a pharmacy. Sigh – hand sanitizer it is then, as I reach down and grab a small bottle, sadly slinking towards the exit door.

Is there a happy ending to this preposterous misrepresentation luring unsuspecting ice cream aficionados into a pharmacy only to get poked and sanitized you ask? There is – a self-service pint of ice cream from the freezer that night, including whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top in order to recover from the afternoon shock.

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