salm wrote: Broomstick wrote:
As far as anything even remotely medically related, even the basic over the counter stuff, it is probably illegal for her to give an opinion or recommendation.
It would be practicing medicine without a license and opens up both my employer and myself to all sorts of liability.
Do you expect the average customer to know that? It doesn´t seem very surprising to me that somebody would ask a salesperson about a specific product.
I mean, do they demand information even after you tell them that there are legal issues? That would be annoying but a customer asking a salesperson for help seems rather... normal.
There's asking for help and then there is asking for medical advice.
If you come in, point a rash on your arm and say "the doctor told me it's poison ivy, what should I put on it?" I can direct you to the remedies specifically intended for poison ivy. If, however, you simply point to a rash and say "can you tell me what caused this?" no, I can't. I can still steer them towards various rash medicines, but I can't say "that's poison ivy" or "that's caused by your laundry soap". If they have a rash in their armpit I can mention that some people are sensitive to aluminum in antiperspirants and if they want to they can try a deodorant that doesn't contain aluminum, but I can't definitively say "that's caused by aluminum". If you want an unscented hand lotion, or a shampoo containing a particular ingredient, I can help you find it. I can help you find what you're already looking for, or help you find what your range of choices are, but I can't tell you to buy X for Y condition.
Yes, some people remain demanding even after I say there are restrictions on how much advice I can give. I think in one instance there was a problem with a new-to-the-US gentleman from a country where the rules are different. In other cases, you have people with a deep and almost psychotic distrust of doctors. Some people are just crazy (we had one lady who was pestering the produce staff - she wanted assurance that the root vegetables she was buying had never been exposed to dirt. You know, the stuff plants grow in? Not sure if that was crazy, ignorant, or both.)
However, MOST people who come in seem to understand I'm not a doctor and if I say "I'm not qualified to give that sort of advice" usually go "oh, right - should I ask the pharmacist?" or "yes, I should ask the doctor that."
There is a subset of people who come in after their doctor has told them to get something VERY specific and it turns out we don't have exactly
that - which is when I call in the pharmacist because those folks have the training to know when you can make substitutions and when you can't. Or, in the case where the folks had a premature baby the pharmacist could discuss how they could properly dilute a remedy for a normal, full-term infant.
As for the hair dye. Is it illegal for that kind of stuff as well or is it only illegal for drugs?
Nope, but the way some women are about their hair it's a emotional/social minefield. I usually tell them I have no experience with dying my hair so I don't feel I can advise them much on the subject. Oddly enough, that seems better received than "I'm not a doctor so I can't diagnose your [whatever]".
The other thing about hair stuff is race, gender, and ethnicity issues. I've had women who came in asking for Mane N' Tail shampoo who get upset because it's in the "ethnic hair aisle" meaning it's in the stuff marketed to black women. Sorry, that's where it is. Honestly, though, the shampoo does not know or care about your ancestry or skin color. That's also where the "fade cream" is. Some 80 year old white biddy comes in asking for something to even out her skin tone and age spots other than cosmetics to cover it and pitches a fit because it's next to the Afro-Sheen. Some don't care. I've recently had an elderly white man come in asking for a specific olive-oil based hair and scalp treatment (for what's left of his) which is normally marketed to black women. He didn't care about that, bought it, and left happy. I had a white guy come in with the problem of in-grown beard stubble, had suffered from it all his adult life. There is stuff for that (basically, a facial depilatory) but it's in the "black people section" (black men are more prone to the problem). Again, he didn't care. You have other men who wouldn't be caught dead using "girl's stuff" although I suspect some of the stuff they buy for their "wife/girlfriend" is really for them.
Honestly, it's usually not an issue whether a man or woman uses and item regardless of what's on the box... but there are exceptions:
- Minoxidil formulations for hair loss are different for men and women
- Grecian formula hair coloring contains a lead compound and should not be used by women of childbearing age. Actually, I'm not convinced it's really OK for men, but it's been in use so long and no one has dropped dead it's been grandfathered in. I haven't found any other men's hair dye with that ingredient, but it's possible, so women should probably avoid men's hair dyes, though men can used women's hair dyes (which aren't proven 100% safe, either, to be honest)
- Facial depilatories are different for men and women. Women have finer hair and thinner skin, men have that thick beard hair and thicker skin so they need and can tolerate a stronger formulation than a woman can. Men would most likely find women's depilatories ineffective, and women would find men's to be irritating or even painful.
And finally, since we're on the topic of skin and color, in the US you can't get hydroquinone in concentrations greater than 2% over the counter. That's a skin bleach, and it has legitimate uses in moderating skin color that, for whatever reason, decides to be darker than the rest of your hide (pregnancy hormones are one of the more common causes), or reducing the appearance of age spots, and so forth. There are issues surrounding it's use, from possible long-term side effects to social and ethnic disputes. Regardless, if you want something stronger you have to see a dermatologist and convince him/her to write you a prescription for it. For some immigrants, much stronger versions were available back home and they are not always happy about the US rules.