A RESIDENT of Cagayan de Oro, Gloria A. de Pedro, wrote a letter to the Inquirer complaining about the snail-paced special service for senior citizens in Mercury Drug Store, Divisoria branch in the city. De Pedro's letter was published last Dec. 21, 2009, and I happened to read it. For the benefit of the readers of my column in Sun.Star I am publishing this letter here in full, in the hope that it may catch the attention also of the management of Mercury Drug.

This refers to the attitude of some pharmacies toward the elderly. They seem to be biased against those who claim the 20-percent senior citizens' discount on their medicine purchases. I am a senior citizen and I have been buying medicines at Mercury Drug, Divisoria branch in Cagayan de Oro City.

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Almost always, senior citizens are made to get a "priority number" in order to be attended to by only one sales clerk, while those who are not senior citizens are being serviced by all the rest of the establishment's sales staff. Almost always, we senior citizens, have to wait at least two to three hours before we can be attended to.

Recently, I went to this pharmacy and as usual I had to get a priority number. There was already a long queue of senior citizens when I arrived. They were all waiting for their turn to be attended to by only one sales clerk. Since I was not feeling well, I approached another sales clerk who was not servicing a customer. But when I identified myself as a senior citizen, he stopped processing my prescription; instead he referred me to the sales clerk handling senior citizens. Feeling that we senior citizens were being discriminated against, I asked why sales clerks were not attending to us even though they were not doing anything.

I requested to see the manager, but a certain Necita Lendio told me that the manager, Corvena Boloron, was out. She said she will refer my complaint to management. I hope something is being done to stop this discrimination.

Personally, I wholeheartedly subscribe to the very valid complaint of my fellow Kagay-anaon. In fact, some time ago I myself went to Mercury Drug to buy some medicines, what I seldom do, and I was surprised to be referred to a special counter for senior citizens where I had to get a priority number and join a queue of waiting senior citizens.

Since it was the first time that I experienced such an extraordinary procedure I did not complain but I must say, it did surprise me that time, and until I came across the letter to the editor in Inquirer I realized that this is a big anomaly of the company. Senior citizens should be given the highest priority to be served, instead of letting them wait impatiently for the snail-paced special service for senior citizens.

That is a serious kind of discrimination against a very precious but vulnerable part of our population. It certainly is not to the credit of Cagayan de Oro being the City of Golden Friendship, to have a drugstore in the city that treats its customers with discrimination. If the company cannot change its policy I would recommend that its business permit be suspended.

(For your comments email: arnvv@yahoo.com or call: 0926-3123366)