I agree that it’s totally inappropriate for Walgreens to put derogatory comments about customers on their records, but at first I wondered whether it was something to sue over. After all, in my life, I’ve been two of the most hated things there are: a newspaper reporter and a lawyer. Being called names is just part of the show. Then I thought, wait a minute, this is a person’s medical record, not a blog. You need to have facts, not subjective opinion.
I also thought back to a story I read a few years ago about a man who had a run-in at a car dealership. The staff substituted a popular yet derogatory nickname for his real first name on the dealership’s records. The dealership then sold its customer list to marketers, and he began to receive tons of mail with this derogatory name on it. (No, I am not going to say what the nickname was, this is not that kind of blog). It is quite possible that, at least on that one occasion, the man lived up to his nickname, but he had a legitimate gripe. For this kind of thing, my test is not how I’d feel if it happened to me, but how I’d feel if it happened to my wife or my mother. I’d be pretty upset.