Reader Rachael’s description of what its like to shop at her local CVS is a good example maddening, yet typical “customer service” that you find at chain drug stores. Why is buying razor blades and photo prints so insanely difficult? Why?
I recently went to CVS to buy razor blades and they were completely locked up. Apparently a new procedure since they never were in the past. I try to get the attention of no fewer than 3 CVS employees milling about doing nothing. One actually stops and tells me I have to go to the counter.
So I get in line and wait and wait and wait. 10 minutes later, I’m at the counter and I tell them I want to buy razor blades. They tell me I need to go to aisle 2. I told them I know where they are but they are locked up so can I get some help. They tell me I need to go back to the pharmacy because they have the key. I go to the pharmacy and wait another 10 minutes in a painfully slow line. Pharmacy cashier tells me they’re located in aisle 2. I confirm this and tell them I need help since they are locked up. They tell me I have to go to the front counter.
I inform them the front counter told me I needed to go to the pharmacy counter. They tell me to hold on and they walk to the front. I’ve been in the store a good half hour now.
The cashier comes back and told me that only the manager had the key and he must be on break or something because they don’t know where he is and can I come back tomorrow? I ask what they do when the manager is out – who has the key then and they told me that the cashiers have them. I ask why none of the cashiers present have a key then to assist me. They told me they cannot leave their counters because they are busy and I have to wait for the manager to get assistance.
I should have known better to try and order photos there…..
I wanted prints of my wedding photos. You know, all 315 of them.
So I go in to order them. They have 15 cent prints 24 hours and one-hour prints for 19 cents. It’s 10am on a Sunday.
I tell the guy I want the 15 cent ones. (I’m in no hurry). He tells me they don’t offer that option. Despite the 3 – 6 foot long banners all over the pharmacy advertising that. So I tell him I want them in an hour then. He asks how many prints I need. I tell him 315. He looks at me funny and tells me I can’t have them in an hour. Despite those same banners advertising one-hour prints for 19 cents a print for orders up to 500 prints. So I tell him then I will pick them up Monday then and can I have the 15 cent price. He tells me “I already told you, we don’t offer that service”. So I say “So I have to pay the one-hour processing price of 19 cents a print?” He says I’m correct. So then I ask “So I can come back in an hour or two to pick them up?” He tells me I have to come back Monday.
Clearly a losing battle.
So I went in on Monday (at 8PM for the record). About 34 hours after dropping them off for “one-hour” processing. I didn’t actually even drop anything off. I had the pics on a cd and I had to do all the processing on their automated system myself…. Anyway…
I go in and of course they have one cashier working. There are like 30 people in the line.
I go to the photo department. There is somebody sitting behind the counter but she ignores me and talks on her cell phone for about 5 minutes. I guess she realized I wasn’t leaving so she comes up and asks how she can help me. I tell her I’m only picking up prints. She says well nobody is working in photos today (um, then why is she manning the photo counter? Furthermore, how friggin hard is it to turn around and grab the huge and bulging envelope with my name on it so I can pay?????)
I look at her and say “So how do I pick up my photos so I can pay for them?”
She points to the line that HAS NOT MOVED since I walked in (apparently there was nobody manning the cashier counter – just like how this chick was not manning the photo center – despite doing just that).
Anyway, she points to the line and tells me I have to wait in the line and when I get to the counter, I have to ask the cashier if she can go to the photo department to pick up my pics so I can pay for them. You know, the ones behind the chick manning the photo department (or not).
I point to the envelope about 1 foot behind her and ask her if I can pick it up so when I go to the line, I can pay and leave (I mean, it’s a good $50 of photos here….) Let’s not forget they also decided to charge me for one hour processing that I was not allowed to have…..
She tells me no, I have to wait in the line and maybe that cashier will help me.
I told her that she could keep the fucking pictures then.
I walked out.
CVS can keep all 315 photos.
They only have my last name and telephone number on file. Let’s see how long it takes them to decide it’s time to call me.
Then, maybe for the fun of it, I will have the 19 cents vs 15 cents discussion.
I’ll probably end up ordering online now. Fuck CVS.