Yeah Dude, Walgreens Blows

PikaPikaChick concurs, Walgreen’s is the suck. She even wrote a letter to them, expressing the degree of their suck, which is manifest.

She writes, “What I don’t want is the blank stares, the curt answers, the reluctance to answer simple pharmaceutical questions about side effects and such, and I certainly don’t want to be kept waiting as my prescription languishes on a shelf because two pharmacy staff members can’t decide which brand of mayonnaise is better in a bowl of potato salad.”

She just wants to walk in, get her scrip, pay for it and walk out. Is that so hard? Apparently, yes. Since sending the letter in January and receiving no reply, she now drives “many miles” out of her way to CVS.

Her letter, inside.

January 20, 2006

David Bernauer
200 Wilmot Road
Deerfield, IL 60015

Dear Mr. Bemauer:

I am writing to express my deep dissatisfaction with the customer service I have received at multiple Walgreens locations in both northern Minnesota and around the Twin Cities area. I have been getting my prescriptions filled exclusively at Walgreens for over ten years. At this point I’m not sure if the convenience of a nationwide pharmacy network is worth the problems that I’ve had, which I will now enlighten you with.

Without fail, Walgreens has some of the worst customer service on a regular basis that I’ve ever experienced. It doesn’t seem to make any difference which store I visit, I’m always greeted with the same rudeness, ignorance, and unapologetic apathy from both pharmacy staff and the regular retail employees and managers. The retail employees’ attitude I can understand. I’ve been there. I worked in retail for many years. I remember being an underpaid teenage retail worker and I have reached a point where I fully expect to be treated poorly from these people. The pharmacy staff, on the other hand, surprises me. For a bunch of diplomaed professionals, they sure are a cranky lot.

I don’t know if they’re underpaid, overworked, or if this attitude has trickled down from the corporate level. Frankly, I don’t care. All I want to do is walk in, get my prescription refill (which I have already submitted via, pay for it, and walk out. What I don’t want is the blank stares, the curt answers, the reluctance to answer simple pharmaceutical questions about side effects and such, and I certainly don’t want to be kept waiting as my prescription languishes on a shelf because two pharmacy staff members can’t decide which brand of mayonnaise is better in a bowl of potato salad.

I can honestly say that to this day I have not once had a good customer experience at a Walgreens store. Why do I keep going? Laziness, I suppose. Perhaps it’s a sort of self-flagellation. Maybe somehow I’ve been conditioned to accept this behavior over time.


C.C.: Jeff Rein, President and COO

Note that this letter was sent in January. Haven’t heard a peep out of anyone at Walgreens since then. I, like JPac, have been happily driving many miles out of my way to get to a CVS and their almost ludicrously good customer service.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. any such name says:

    In addition, Walgreens “doesn’t take internet coupons”, as I found out one day trying to buy some facewash.
    Then what is the point of internet coupons? Who does take them? I’ve discovered Jewel-Osco does not either. WTF?

  2. RandomHookup says:

    any such name

    The internet coupon deal varies from store to store, even within the same chain. I’ve used plenty of them at Walgreens and CVS, but it’s usually a local manager’s decision (or the little old lady cashier who thinks she heard something about a policy once so she doesn’t want to get in trouble). There’s probably an “official” Walgreens coupon policy at one of the coupon boards.

  3. AcilletaM says:

    She got the prescription thing to work? I haven’t been that lucky. I quit trying because they were never getting the script.

  4. WMeredith says:

    I, too, swear by CVS. Walgreens is a disaster.

  5. Smoking Pope says:

    Just last night I got into it with a Walgreen’s pharmacy drone. I had about 4 or 5 people in front of me, all of whom left the store and planned on returning later. I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait.

    So when I was told it would be a 30 minute wait, I asked if they couldn’t just take care of me first, as my medication comes in prepackaged boxes and the whole thing would take maybe 1 minute, tops.

    “Sir, other people are waiting.”

    “Show them to me. They’re not here. All you need to do for me is grab a box, and it’s taking you longer to talk about it with me than it would to just grab the box.”

    “Sir, other people are in front of you.”

    And on and on and on…

    Luckily, the pharmacist heard the heated discussion and interrupted the conversation to inform me I was all set.

    Also, my ex-wife was once accused of being drunk because she wanted to know if her prescription would react badly to some other medication and wouldn’t accept “I don’t know” for an answer.

  6. Ishmael says:

    Walgreen’s is the suck! I use a local pharmacy – not a big chain. My scripts are filled in 10-15 minutes, and they’re always available to answer questions and concerns. They’ll even stay a few minutes if they know I’m on the way (which has been a blessing the time or two I’ve been on my way home from the doctor’s office or the hospital.)

    Local pharmacies FTW!

  7. Demingite says:

    I’ve had consistently good experiences with my local Walgreen’s pharmacy department. Maybe, for some reason, the climate in that store is good — like, the person who runs that particular store has a good attitude.

  8. Sir Winston Thriller says:

    Gee, PikaPika–stop being passive aggressive. Just be aggressive. Two drones chattering at nothing while you wait? A sharp “OY! SHOPGIRL!” should get them at your service. A nice, soft “Drop the attitude, you work beind a formica counter!” also works.

  9. Nifle says:

    I use Target pharmacy for most of prescriptions. I have to give up the 24-hour convenience but they are always nice and the pharmacist even called to ask if my medicine was working and if I was getting better. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy all over. (Insert Ben-esque comment here).

  10. d0x says:

    I went to Walgreens a couple weeks ago and had issues as well. I had just gotten out of a Route Canal and was in incredible pain. I brought my script to the pharmacist for Vicodin and antibiotics. I asked how long the wait was and the Women told me 15 min. I said I would wait…

    I was waiting for 45 min for them to fill it, most of the time the 3 Women were talking about their fav Coffee at Dunkin Donuts or some other horse **** all the while I was sitting in agony at totally at their mercy.

    They finally called me up to the counter at the 45 min mark to inform me for whatever reason my insurance wouldnt cover my Vicodin and for that very reason they hadnt put it in the bottle yet…which would cause me to wait another 10 min. The difference in price was a whopping $5 so instead of $10 i had to pay $15, they made me wait all that time for $5 instead of just asking right away if I was ok with paying.

    About a week later I was still having problems with the tooth and got more Vicodin. I went to CVS, was told the wait would be 30 min, after about 10 they called me up and I got my meds and Insurance covered it just fine.

  11. d0x says:

    Sorry for the double post but I have to agree about the Target Pharmacy. The guys who work at my local one are great and they do infact call you to make sure everything is working, and will put in refils without you having to do a thing. They are also very friendly and will answer any questions you have at any time, either at the store or on the phone.

  12. Roadgeek says:

    In reply to the above posts, I have to say that I almost always get great service at the Walgreen’s my wife and I use on a consistent basis. We patronize the two located at S. 1st/Stassney and William Cannon/S. Congress in Austin TX and have always found the staff to be helpful and mostly courteous. Of course, it helps to treat the staff with courtesy and respect as well.

  13. Jon Parker says:

    Given that Target, Walmart, your local grocery store and who knows who else have pharmacies, I can’t see the need for a dedicated store like Walgreens, CVS or Rite-Aid.

    We only have a couple of Walgreens, but we have CVS all over, and everything said in Pika’s letter can be said about them — surly, slow and uncaring.

    I generally avoid pharmacies altogether.

  14. misskaz says:

    The two Walgreens that I frequent in the Chicago area – one near my home on the north side and one in my downtown office building – both have very helpful and friendly pharmacy staff. I’ve never had any problems with them, and usually my prescriptions are ready in about 5-10 minutes.

  15. bambino says:

    roadgeek, you are truly brave to venture into the william cannon / south congress walgreens.

  16. Plasmafire says:

    I just love the fact that my perscriptions cost $20-40 less at CVS than they cost at Walgreens.

  17. trixare4kids says:

    I use Walgreen’s in the San Francisco area and have had no problems. I’ve found them incredibly convenient, to wit: They are less than a mile from my house, I use their online service to order refills, they email or call when it’s ready, I drive through to pick it up, and it’s paid for with auto pay so I don’t even have to hand over cash or a credit card.

    I’ve never really had any customer service issues, but then again, aside from an employee standing behind thick glass and handing me the prescription though a teller-like drawer at the drive-thru, I’ve never dealt with a human being there.

    I am very sorry yours sucks but am counting my blessings also.

  18. missdona says:

    Target, while having spiffy bottles, do not have a nationwide network of your Rxs. This is a nightmare if you ever need a refill in another city.

    Anyone who complains about Walgreens should meet it’s demon-spawn drugstore bastard-cousin. NYC’s own…Duane Reade.

    I’ve never been to a Duane Reade where I didn’t have a service issue.

  19. Nifle says:

    In regards to Target not having a nationwide system, that’s not true. I’ve been able to get a prescription refilled in Houston, when my residence is in Memphis. I never saw the pharmacist make a phone call while filling my order.

  20. missdona says:

    As of last spring, I couldn’t have a Rx filled in upstate NY calling the pharmacy in NYC. I didn’t have the bottle and they could not access it through the computer.

  21. ddsmoma says:

    even if med’s are pre-packaged it takes time for the information input,the reviewing of the prescripton,the labels to be generated,not to mention the insurance.the ins.companies change their rules every day without patient or pharmacy notice.there are staff that should keep their comments to theirselves but as in any other customer service industries people talk without thinking,it doesn’t make it right only a i see both sides.staff should be more professional and custmers could be more understanding and patient.there are hundreds of people that come to our pharm.everyday and it is next to impossible to make everyone happy and have everyones med’s done instantly.because of reasons that we do not know customers will walk up ready to argue about anything,prehaps they had a bad day or a bad experince in the pharm.before,but that doesn’t mean it will happen every time.i really hope that everyone that reads this will know that not everyone working in the pharmacy is not uncareing and hatefull,because i really enjoy my job and 95% of my customers.even in a perfect world nothing is 100% perfect.thanks for listening to me go on and on.oh the is not that great.i like helping people and it helps pay the bills.good luck on ya’ll next visit.ddsmoma tennessee

  22. lydialewis says:

    I agree with dssmama…I too am a pharmacy tech. infact my store is right next door to the hospital.What some patients/customers need to remember is that it may be a pharmacy but its a RETAIL Pharmacy. If we did nothing but get call ins and didn’t have to deal with customers all day then yes things may run a bit smoother. but we all have to stop what we are doing and deal with phone calls and insurence problems that the customer blames on us.not to mention the “coworkers” that call have to out or just don’t come in and put added stress/work on the ones who are there…honestly folks…there is more to you handing us a slip us grabbing the med and handing it back…if it were that easy more people would work in pharmacy…and Pharmasists wouldn’t be short supply. My store is 24 hours and because there is no pharmasists that can help us we’ve had to close…which in this town makes people even more mad. So I know we are gonna hear about it the next week or more. Please we know you don’t feel well if you come back there, but try to walk in our shoes and please remember YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY CUSTOMER. If ya were I really would like my job…dealing with one person I can do hudreds makes me want to scream….