Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A tale of two pharmacies

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.


Anonymous said...

Rite Aid is another horror show,located on Bennington St, they share a parking lot with Great Chef.It is a terrible spot to put a pharmacy.Whenever I have gone in to pick up a prescription,mornings or afternoons,it is always at least 20 to 30 minutes before I get out of there.

James said...

Sorry about your experience, but I have actually found the Walgreens to be pretty good to me when I pick up my monthly prescription there. They always seem to have it ready very quickly and take it upon themselves to call my doctor for refills when needed. I have seen it very busy there, but never had a problem in the 2 years I have been going there.

Anonymous said...

Is out of control,and I think they sk for what they did today,and as a result,tomorrow I am moving my prescriptions to C.V.S.(aka Consumer Value Stores)

I dropped off a script,and waited until the girl checked it in the machine,and she said "Its fine your insurance will cover this ,but it will not be ready for an hour.

So we went shopping ,came back,and a different person (after waiting 15 minutes in line) ,says I am sorry we couldn't fill it,your insurance does not cover it.

That was it for me!
Then at the register buying a few things,I noticed that the prices were not matching.

So I went back to the scanner they have in the aisle,and 8 out of 10 items were scanning any where from .40 cents,to as much as 1.39 over the actual advertised price.

The cashier said it happens every day,and we are always getting fined for it.

So I called to check,and she was right they have got over ten thousand dollars in fines.

My Meds are going to CVS.