Ever run to the drug store for a tube of toothpaste and find that your meager purchase results in a receipt the length of War and Peace? Two-foot long receipts are increasingly common these days, as retailers embrace technologies allowing them to microtarget customers. The colossal waste of paper comes at a cost, not only in felled trees but on man hours spent on changing tape and fixing broken printers.
CVS pharmacies apparently don’t need consent to enroll customers in ReadyFill, a program that signs customers up for the maximum allowable number of prescription refills and then robocalls them when their drugs are ready. According to a veteran pharmacist, the automatic enrollments began after CVS’ corporate office set specific performance targets that would affect bonuses for managers and pharmacists. Inside, the pharmacist tells us what ReadyFill is, how it works, and how to escape those annoying robocalls…
CVS asks: How about some dead trees and a bunch of ads with that purchase? Not in so many words, of course: that would actually give shoppers a choice.
Walgreens Cancels EasySaver Program, But That Doesn't Mean You Can't Still Play "The Drugstore Game"
Mitchell wrote to us complaining about Walgreen’s decision to cancel its EasySaver Rebate program, where customers could submit multiple rebate requests at once and get the money back along with a 10% bonus applied to a gift card. Although the program is no longer with us, it’s still very possible to game the reward/discount systems at Walgreens and other chain drugstores to accumulate huge savings. Sometimes you can even make money back.
It took three calls from CVS’ automated reminder service for me to realize what was going on: CVS Pharmacy was refilling our prescriptions without our asking for them to be refilled, and then their automated dialer was calling us to notify us that we had a prescription waiting. Nobody in my family requested to have a prescription refilled, yet three times CVS called us to tell us to come and pick up our prescription.
The number of overcharging violations – defined as charging more at the register than the price in an advertisement, on a shelf sign, or on the item itself – soared to 711, from 425.
Any readers here who work for CVS? Maya wants to know what’s going on with the Extra Care coupons that are printed at the bottom of each receipt. Lately the clerks at her local CVS stores have been tearing something off the bottom of the receipt before giving it to her, and the coupons are no longer there. Coincidence?
Whether it’s rational or not, there’s something very satisfying when your pharmacist acknowledges you personally—it makes you feel like this expert you’re placing such trust in takes the job, and you, seriously. In our experience it’s a rare thing to see from pharmacists at chain drugstores, but Mike just had a great encounter with his Walgreens pharmacist when he moved to a new town.
Walgreen has announced that if you’re willing to provide proof of unemployment and sign a form that says you lost your health benefits along with your job, you and your uninsured family members can receive free treatment at any of their 300+ in-store health clinics. What’s covered: “respiratory problems, allergies, infections and skin conditions, among other ailments.” What’s not: checkups, vaccinations or other injections, and prescriptions.
Walgreens charges a hefty $7.99 for passport photos. Is it because they’re super fancy, or technically challenging to create, or the paper is strawberry scented? The answer to all of these questions is no. It’s because it’s an easy way to make a quick buck. That’s why they hate it when you find a cheaper online solution and try to print out your own 4×6 layout of passport photos via their stores.
If you transfer a prescription to RiteAid, you’ll receive a $25 gift card. Emily, who tipped us to this, says the cashier told her you could do this for up to four meds, but their website says just two. Also, you can’t use the gift card to pay for prescriptions. Still, hey, free money if you don’t mind where you get your prescription filled. [Rite Aid]
Walgreens has a printable online coupon for $5 off a purchase of $20 or more, good for tomorrow only. (Thanks to Mike!)
If you have a computer and a digital camera, there’s no reason to ever pay a drugstore $8 for a couple of crummy passport photos and lousy customer service. This blogger discovered that he couldn’t even get an in-focus photo from a local CVS: “When we pointed that out, he was like ‘Oh really? don’t worry all photos printed here look like that and no one ever came back because a photo was not accepted.’” If you’re not Photoshop-savvy, just use the free epassportphoto.com website.
For the next three years beginning this February, California Walgreens shoppers will enjoy a “Scanner Price Guarantee” that rewards customers who are overcharged at the register and bring it immediately to a cashier’s attention.