Top of Mind Thursday – November 4, 2022: Two Sides of the Same Pill

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Yesterday, when I walked into my local CVS to pick up a prescription, I found 7 people in line in front of me.

Immediately, my blood pressure went up. How long would this process take? How much time would I waste waiting, while the people behind the counter berated the customers about something or another related to their order? How many times would I hear excuses and arguments about why refills weren’t completed when promised?

Then I remembered I was at CVS and not Walgreens, where we’d had our prescriptions filled for years. It was at Walgreens that we’d suffered horrible customer experiences that bordered on the absurd. At one point, a clerk glared at us, pointed to a huge stack of paper and told us, “Your refill is somewhere in that stack. We’re not sure when we’ll ever get to it.”

We stuck with Walgreens much longer than we should have. Because they had all of our medical records. The store was open 24 hours. It just seemed easier to stick with the status quo. Until it wasn’t. Hours were cut. Other stores were closed–forcing more people into the queue at our local store. The pharmacy was understaffed and overworked. The staff was miserable and they took it out on the customers.

The other reason we stuck it out was in the back of my mind I thought, this must be the way pharmacies run in 2022, post-pandemic, Great Resignation and all that. Will anyone else be any better? But the “lost in the stack” incident, was the final straw.

I asked our doctors to start sending prescriptions to CVS and something strange happened. We went in the store and had a friendly experience. The lines were shorter–and they moved more quickly. The staff was friendly. If something was out of stock, they apologized–they didn’t argue.

The products we purchased were exactly the same. The experience could not have been more different. I no longer dread a trip to the drug store (some of my daughter’s meds need to be picked up in person, and can’t be handled through mail order).

Time in that line yesterday? Five minutes. Seven customers served in five minutes–all with courtesy and efficiency. Not only did the staff have smiles on their faces, when I left there was a smile on mine, too.


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