I'm not sure which is a better company when it comes to prices or customer satisfaction or environmental consciousness or work atmosphere, but I prefer CVS to Walgreens ... mostly, I'm sure, because I've been getting prescriptions -- for the occasional illness or to address the abundance of uric acid coursing through my system -- at the Liberty Plaza location for years (and at the Rix that was there previously). Today I had to pick up medication at that CVS and also at the Walgreens on Meridian Street -- and now I really hate the latter.
My mother was ill this morning, so I took a sick day and accompanied her to the health center, where we spent a wonderful three hours watching a saline drip address her apparent dehydration. Actually, there's nothing to complain about there: my mom was called rather quickly (it was 7:15 a.m. and just one person was sitting in the Urgent Care waiting area) and the nurse we dealt with was quite nice. In fact, she took care of my request to call in a prescription for my mom, who just turned 72 and uses Walgreens because it's a shorter walk from her Chelsea Street apartment.
After dropping my mother off, I ran an errand and then went to pick up her meds. There were already five people waiting at the Walgreens pick up window, but I was waited on fairly quickly. I had the prescription in my hand, but the employee (an assistant, not a pharmacist) said to me these exact words: "Wait just a second." I understood, of course, that "a second" in this instance is a metaphor that may mean one minute or even five minutes.
As other people came to the window and those waiting received their orders I backed up from the window until I was standing near the seats. I watched as the half-dozen employees raced around behind the counter, answering the phone, keying into the computer, grabbing pill bottles off the shelves and riffling through bins to find orders. Clearly, they are understaffed. After a while I decided that I was going to say something, but I continued to wait to find an opportune time. I am not a rude person; in fact, I generally go out of my way to be extremely civil.
Finally, after more than a half hour, the same young man said to me that there was no record of the call from the clinic nurse. I said, in an agitated tone, that I had the prescription in my hand and that he should have told me that sooner. "If you had said, 'Come back in an hour,' I would have, but you said, 'Wait a second.'" I handed him the prescription and he said, amazingly, "Wait a second." About 15 minutes later he called me to the register. When he asked the usual rushed, "Do you have any questions," I decided to vent a little. "Yes," I said, "why did you say, 'Just a second,' and let me stand here for 45 minutes?" I was not nasty, but a little belligerent. He argued back a little and then walked away. I might have made him cry.
It just so happens that I had called into CVS to refill my prescription this morning and so I went across Central Square to pick it up. The whole transaction took about 45 seconds. Granted, the circumstances were different and CVS wasn't as busy, but I won't set foot in Walgreens for myself. Of course, that's where my mom's prescriptions are filled, so if she needs me to get them I will get them.