Showdown At CVS

I’ve been looking for an excuse to use my favorite Ethics Alarms movie clip again [FYI: The library has been updated!]…

Against my usual proclivities, I am engaged in a war with the CVS that I am not going to back down from, stranding my family members there and leaving my my weapons behind to be used by terrorists. I found it odd that every time I made a purchase at the store, about twice a week, I was asked to “re-enroll” in a savings program that I had participated in for over a year. This required me to click “yes”(rather than “later”) at the end of my transaction. I finally asked a clerk what was up, an he said he would check. The result: checking “yes” did nothing. My membership could not be reinstated at that time. He could not tell me why.

So I asked to see the manager, a nice middle-age woman whom I have known there for years. She couldn’t explain why either. Finally she said, “It’s the machines,” and wrote down a phone number for me to call at CVS’s website. “Excuse me, but why to I have to call because your store’s machine’s don’t work?,” I responded. “I’m the customer, I’m misinformed for weeks, I don’t get discounts I’m supposed to get, and I have to fix your problem? I have to sit through automated phone systems and wait times? You are CVS’s agent. You work here. You’re paid for it. You fix the problem. Don’t foist it off on me. I’m the one being inconvenienced.” At this point, by some sadistic twist of fate, a large, aggressive, loud and belligerent young woman had entered the store near the front counter, and she started addressing me stridently.”Why are you harassing them?” she boomed out. “They aren’t CVS. They just work here.”

I admit, the “I’m not responsible for the organization/ establishment I represent while I am your sole contact with my employer” claim sets me off every time. It’s not just a dodges. it’s a factually false dodge. “They work here, they work for CVS, and therefore they are CVS,” I responded. “This is none of your business. Back off.”

“This is my business,” she said. “I work here.” “You’re not on duty, obviously, so it’s still not your business now,” I said. “As for them, this is agency, pure and simple. They are the store’s agents, and as such they are responsible here when the store’s systems malfunction.”

“Do you know the difference between a machine and a person?” she said, loudly, as she said everything. “You obviously don’t,” I responded. “People run the store, and machines are tools. It’s the employees who are responsible if the machines don’t work. Obviously the staff you say you belong to chose to ignore a malfunctioning system to the detriment of customers like me, and now want to fob off the responsibility of addressing their store’s poor functioning “the machines” and on me. That’s ridiculous, and I’m not accepting it.”

During all of this, the store manager stood absolutely mute as a I was being insulted and spoken to rudely by the staffer, if that’s what she was.”

“You don’t have to shop here, you know,” the obnoxious interloper said. “There’s Rite-Aid and Walgreen’s.” I’ve gotten my prescriptions here for 30 years,” I said, “And I’ll shop here if I choose.”

“I think think you should leave,” she said. Still not a twitch from the store manager. “I think you can bite me,” I said. “I’ll leave when I decide to.” “I’m going to call the police,” was her retort. “Oh, good,” I said. “Do it. Please do it. That will be fun.”

She didn’t call the police. She left. I turned to the store manager and she evaded my gaze.

I almost never do this, but I took the time to wait on the phone for 30 minutes to file a complaint, which took another 30 minutes. The agent said all the pre-programmed things, said my account was recorded, and that I would be called by an official who would resolve the situation withing 48 hours. Nobody called. Yesterday, I called again, complaining about that, and repeated my account about how an alleged off-duty employee 1) accosted me with a series of absurd excuses for the store’s poor performance, 2) insulted me in public 3) told me not to shop there 4) demanded that I leave the store, and 5) threatened to call the police, all while the store manager did nothing to support a regular customer of 30 years loyalty.

I was told this time that I would be called by the named “group leader” in “24-48 hours.” There are less than 24 hours remaining.

Meanwhile, I’ll be transferring my prescriptions and my business elsewhere. But I will not let this go.

Stay tuned…

17 thoughts on “Showdown At CVS

  1. I’ll stay tuned because I definitely want to know the outcome; so, don’t forget to give the final update.

    Seems customer service is a thing of the past for most stores and companies now. I worked as a grocery clerk just before going to college and you never treated a customer with any disrespect or you would be, at a minimum, reprimanded. I think the form was an ER-100 (Employee Relations 100) and it went into your record.

    It seems now that many businesses have so many customers (at least in densly populated areas) that they just don’t care if you patronize them or not. Even businesses like the cable company no longer seem to care as I complained to them recently about the reception and after a brief rant they just asked me if I wanted to cancel my cable and return the box.

    And those phone menus and chatbots they have now are intolerable for me. Sometimes I just keep giving unintelligible replys to the chatbot or punching random numbers for the menu selections until a human comes on.

    Anyway, I very interested in the final outcome; I’m glad you have the patience to follow through on this issue. I’d probablly just give up and move on. But, I don’t seem to encounter this same behavior in this rural area I live in.

    • One trait I picked up from my father was a not-so-secret enjoyment of standing up to that kind of crap. I loved it when the officious woman said she was calling the police, and she could tell I meant it when I said, “Oh, good. Call the police. I want you to call the police. This will be fun.” That’s when she left the store.

      • My brother experienced something similar regarding his vehicle.
        At the time he was recently retired and had the time to mount a one man picketing campaign in front of the business that was flipping him off. He carried a big sign that was informative and embarrassing for the a-holes running the business. It became a battle of wills but time was on my bro’s side and he ultimately prevailed. Never underestimate the power of picketing.

      • I’m surprised you didn’t get physical. That was ridiculously rude and disrespectful, and it sounds like this woman needed her ears pinned back. I bet she was black, this sounds like something you’d hear from one of those overweight black women with voices that go right through you.

  2. CVS stores are grimy and understaffed. Their prices are significantly higher than anywhere else. I avoid them like the plague.

    Did you know CVS is in large part the successor to the Thom McAn shoe stores? Boy, those were crappy shoes.

    Later this morning, Mrs. OB and I will be attending the funeral of a friend who was murdered trying to intervene in a hold up or confrontation at a convenience store. The duty to confront has its limitations.

    • I once spent close to an hour with one of their photo kiosks making this and that photo just so. When I went to check out, it went down, and all my work was lost with it. I asked if there was any way it could be brought back, and was told by the none-too-bright manager “it’s like your car, eventually it conks out.” I walked out, because if I had replied to this idiot manager I would have done something I would have regretted. When I was no longer ready to explode, I filed a complaint via email, because I found the comparison of their system to MY car to be preposterous. I got my photos for free, so I decided to accept that and move on.

  3. While I completely agree with how you handled the rude busybody (as long as you weren’t shouting), I wonder if you could’ve been a little more patient with the manager who seems to have served you for years without incident. I admit it would be more logical for HER to call the number she gave you, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some stupid policy saying the customer has to address this particular issue. I’ve been the human shield for stupid policies in my customer service days, and it’s no fun being yelled at for a situation that is utterly beyond your control, or even that of the people upstairs (or so they’d like us to think).

    • I wasn’t shouting, just being emphatic. As for the manager, I expect my long association with the store to be acknowledged by her, not the other way around. Obviously she is untrained and unqualified to be a supervisor.

    • Also, I want to take a stab at writing one of your popular, “Here’s what should have been said.”

      In my formative years, I was a Kmart employee and a Movie Theater Manager. While not a direct parallel, especially given the “technology difference”, I would like to think my response would have been:

      “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. If you are not comfortable or have the time to resolve this directly with that number, give me two days to run this down on your behalf. Obviously, I’m a store manager and my expertise with these corporate & remote systems is virtually nil, however, I’m happy to get it fixed for you or find a direct number for someone (a live person) that you can speak to directly to resolve the issue with minimal further inconvenience. If I run into the same walls and prove completely ineffective, then we’re going to set up the store phone number as a default to ensure you get all of the discounts. If you have any receipts that show you haven’t received past discounts, bring those back to me and let’s see what we owe you.”

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