Walgreens Computers Won't Let Me Buy Allergy Meds

Jason wanted to stock up on allergy meds by buying two packages rather than one in order to take advantage of a low price. Walgreens denied him then proceeded to accuse him of shady activity.

He writes:

The pharmacist was obviously new to the store and was very inexperienced using their systems. I got my phone out and proceeded to waste a good 5-10 minutes while he kept struggling with the computer. Finally he gave up and called over the other pharmacist for help. She took my ID and after one swipe told me “Our system won’t let you buy this.”

***uncomfortable pause while I give her an opportunity to provide good customer service and something other than the rudely delivered line she just gave me***

As this had never happened to me before I had no idea what she was referring to at first, and when I asked what specifically was saying I couldn’t buy it she said it was their computer which keeps tabs on how much each individual buys over time and essentially rate limits you to a certain amount. Their computer was telling her I had gone over the limit and could not buy any more. At no point during her end of this conversation did she ever offer any kind of website, phone number, or any other piece of information that I could use to check this out in greater detail. At no point did she ever treat me like anything other than a potential criminal who was wasting her time.

At this point she started giving me nothing other than one line statements that were designed to end the conversation. She was obviously more concerned with anything and everything other than my confusion/concerns. Essentially I felt like I was being treated like a criminal and all it took was one swipe of my driver’s license. I tried to explain to her that my purchasing habits do not vary in regards to this medication but all I got in return was a series of interruptions and hand dismissive hand waving. “We can’t help you.” “We can’t access the information that is denying your purchase.” “There is no one you can talk to who can tell you anything more.” I asked for an 800 number or something similar that I could call and inquire about these supposed purchase dates in order to match it up to my own receipts and was told there was none. I asked where this information was stored and she said it was in a Walgreens database that they cannot access directly.

This is the point where I decided my identity may have been stolen. I told the pharmacist that I understood she couldn’t do anything more for me, but that I was not ok with letting it drop there and I wanted to speak to someone above her. If nothing else I just wanted to get the ball rolling on finding out how this had happened. If I had somehow triggered this limit for the first time ever then so be it, but if someone is out there manufacturing meth using MY NAME I damn sure want to know about it and get it resolved.

Quick summary up to this point: A computer says I have bought too many allergy meds in a daily or 30 day period but I am given no recourse to dispute or even look at these dates/times/quantities, and I also have no way of knowing WHEN THE TIME PERIOD IN QUESTION WILL RESET, allowing me to buy my daily allergy meds again.

After waiting for a while one of the store managers finally arrives at the pharmacy. I proceed to explain the whole story to her, and she proceeds to waste my time with hypothetical scenarios. “Well… if you bought some at a different store, or if you bought some for somebody else…” I explained to her that my routine in regards to buying these meds is beyond predictable, and that none of her hypotheticals applied to me in any way. For whatever reason she felt the need to keep pounding into my head that there were all of these extraneous possibilities that could have led to this situation while ignoring the fact that all of them would have involved ME doing these things. Then she told me the information was stored in a State of Michigan database, completely contradicting what the pharmacist had told me.

Finally I’d had it. I told her “Look, at this point I just want to get a phone number so I can find out when these purchases supposedly happened so I can at least confirm that my identity has not been stolen, and all you and your employees seem to want to do is convince me of how this isn’t your problem and there is nothing you can do for me.”

She said she would get me a number and went into her office. After waiting for ten more minutes she came out, hands me a piece of paper with “1-800-WALGREENS” written on it, and said that this is what she came up after talking to her manager and calling another store.

Let me say that again so it sinks in completely: A Walgreens manager talked to another store’s manager and her boss, and it took them over ten minutes to come up with their company’s 800 number. I seriously considered telling her that Google would have been a better use of my time as far as getting this number but held my tongue.

Before I left the store I made my position clear:

“I am a loyal customer of yours who comes here several times per month in order to get a medication my doctor tells me I need to take daily. This is the first time in years this has ever happened, and all you and your staff seem interested in is explaining how you have no responsibility whatsoever in this matter. You flatly denied my request for any kind of information that help me straighten this out and I have no way of knowing when this time limit that I have supposedly violated will expire. Basically you are treating my like a criminal with no rights. I cannot look at or review the information that has led you to deny my purchase, you immediately denied me any and all assistance from your company (even for something so simple as a phone number), and I’ve been placed in a penalty box with an indefinite time limit.

Most customers in this situation would be angry about the fact that they are being denied their medication, but I have told you several times now that I am concerned about identity theft and you do not care, and neither does your pharmacist who tried to help me. I am completely willing to the pay the premium for the regular form of Claritin-D just so I don’t have to come back to your store ever again.”

Jason says he’s through with Walgreens. Have you ever been treated this way?

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